First, the title is tongue-in-cheek.
And, I wanted to say that I don’t blog everyday. I blog when I think I have something to say, and I hope that it will be read. I very much appreciate those who follow. Thank you.
So, back to ‘Instructive’. Yesterday, I had to go to the doctor to have a lesion removed from below my right shoulderblade. I had to laugh, even the healthcare provider winced. It was a bit more than what they expected. She kept asking me if I was ok, and was I doing ok. I laughed and said, “Oh gosh, you’re killing me, you’re killing me” with dramatic effect (she had a nursing student in with us – so that made it more fun!) but all went well.
Two things occurred to me, and I shared them with my healthcare provider: 1) When you have sciatic pain from your hip to your toes every single day and have had for the past 17 years, pain is relative. It has to hit higher on the scale than what I already have for me to consider or bother with it. 2) My meditation is paying off in many expected and unexpected ways. I truly did not feel any pain even after the local wore off completely, I had to remind myself that I had sutures and to stop activities that pulled on them.
I began experimenting with a pain meditation just for situations like this not long ago. I took an A&P II class to refresh my perspective on the human body structure and then proceeded with the classes in pain meditation. For me, they are excellent help and I recommend trying that before you reach for pills. Not saying there is never a time to take pain medication. I do take pain medication. My first effort though is meditation. Meditation has side effects, but they are good ones – they carry over into everyday situations and broaden your perspective. If you practice regularly, you’ll find you are much less reactive, your problem solving skills broaden and your ability to assess your environment/situations heightens. As well, I find I am much less reactive to pain. When I experience it, the first place my mind goes (now) is to the sensation’s relationship to my body. I get a visual and the sensation seems to fade. Pills, not so lucky with those side effects and often cumulative and long term effects are not known. The type of drugs used for chronic pain were never really intended for that use and they won’t help your emotional control or sensation interpretation at all.
The more I practice, the more I seem to experience happiness NOT dependent on circumstance; the more ease I feel in my own skin. It isn’t up and down mood shifting. It’s a very pleasant, persistent steadiness.
My approach (this is the instructive part) was to refresh my knowledge of the human body. I think this is good for everyone, whether you are in the healthcare field or not. Everyone should have a realistic idea of how his/her own body is put together. You would not believe how that information can change how you cope with the myriad conditions that body can present. For me, when something feels painful, because of practicing, I get an immediate visual of my body and the part or process currently experiencing pain. The pain doesn’t go away by magic, but I seem to be apart from it. I seem able to understand it and refrain from absorbing it emotionally and getting stuck in it. I do feel it. It’s not a pleasant feeling. I don’t resist, lie to myself, deny, I just know PERIOD. I just know the sensation and I don’t continue on it. I commit to the radical acceptance of it and go on.
If you try this and it doesn’t work for you, what does it mean? Not a thing. No, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing it wrong, you might want to ask someone who has experience to help you. But, it doesn’t mean that you are failing; that your pain isn’t real; or that you aren’t cooperating, as we can sometimes hear from the medical community and other maybe well-intentioned but ill-informed observers. One cure doesn’t fix everybody. And, meditation is not a cure. It’s a help, an assist that I have found works for me beyond my physical circumstances. My aim in sharing is always directed at telling the story of what has helped in my situation, not proselytizing. If we put our story out there and the things that have been positive and constructive for us, you never know who might be saved a few of the more painful/aggravating steps to making things better. Keep sharing. Thanks for reading. Peace to you, Lilie