Meditation for Pain Relief
by Marcus Antebi
Article at a Glance:
Pain is a tremendous distraction. Nothing can take your mind off the present moment more so than some type of physical pain that you’re encountering.
Yet it’s also the case that pain has a strange and ironic way of making us hyper-focus on the present moment. It makes it difficult for us to divert our attention to something else. Each of us experiences pain differently although the concept is the same for all of us.
Pain can also be a meditation. Pain can direct us to emotional and psychological pain. We might be able to concentrate on the fear of pain while we are feeling pain. We may be able to close our eyes, take deep breaths, and feel the sensations without resisting bringing them into our consciousness. Maybe it’s possible that when we are feeling pain we take deep breaths and try to remember a time when we were in pain. We’d try to help our body to remember. In pain, maybe our mantra should be, “I will heal. I will be restored. I am OK.”
There are natural ways to help alleviate pain but their effectiveness depends on the person and it depends on the degree of pain. It might be too much to ask somebody to meditate when they’re in the thick of pain.
But it’s worth trying. It’s worth going into the body and feeling the pain. Taking deep breaths and getting through it. Crying like a child, letting the energy flow through us and express itself through tears. Maybe it’s helpful if someone sits with you and holds your hand and tells you, “You’re OK” and tells you that they love you.
And it’s OK to turn on some light and peaceful music that has positive messages in it during times of pain. It’s OK to light candles and incense to try to soothe the mind. It’s OK to try to find solace in a god of your understanding. It’s OK to pray. It’s OK to pray and ask your God to help liberate you. Ask God to help you muster up the strength to heal and move past the pain.
In pain and struggling you can learn to find acceptance, or you can learn more about how your body needs to heal. In pain you can have memories of your life. And you can think deeply about the areas in our life in which you felt hurt, remorse, regret, apologetic, abused, neglected, or unloved. Go into all of that if you have the physical and mental strength.
Pain can even be a vehicle for us to wake up our consciousness from the state of sleep that we might have fallen into because of all the difficulties of our lives. The more conscious we become, the more we realize that during certain points in our lives we were fast asleep and weren’t looking at certain things.
Pain is an opportunity to look inside deep. It’s not the only way of course, and no one should get used to it or attached to it. We can learn a great many lessons from joy and physical pleasure. And certainly most would agree that this is the better method. But pain will test your deepest, deepest character. Pain will help you to sink or swim. Pain will show you where you are deficient and where you need to continue to work on yourself.
Don’t be afraid. Struggle. Struggle a little bit in the beginning and tell yourself the following things:
“I will not be afraid. I will let go of my fear. I will use whatever tools are at my disposal to have courage and acceptance. I might choose prayer, I might choose mental stillness. I might turn my head and say, ‘God, please help me,’ or I might turn and say, ‘It’s my turn to feel pain right now; this is the reality.’
“The pain I’m feeling was caused by something, and that something was caused by something else. Everything is connected. Nothing is ever separate. I will use my breath, I will think about nothing, or I will think about something pleasant. I will keep trying to be victorious over my fears. I will let this pain teach me something.”