Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Another Top 10 List


I am working on a few chapters about pain. I should be posting one tomorrow. In the meantime, these are
My Top 10 Coping Mechanisms for Dealing with Pain (besides pain meds or alternative therapies).
I'd love any other suggestions...

1. Sleep, sleep, sleep
2. Slow, even breaths
3. Talking about my frustrations
4. A distraction like TV, a movie or a video game
5. A good laugh with a funny friend
6. Tonglen Meditation (see below)
7. Getting a nice foot rub from someone I love
8. Crying
9. Music
10. Snuggling with my dog (see picture)

Tonglen is a meditation that I use often when I am in pain. There are many ways to visualize a Tonglen meditation but I will share how I do it:
Close your eyes and get as comfortable as you can.
Take 3 slow breaths.
With each breath, relax more and more.
Look within yourself and discover the place where you feel the most pain.
Picture yourself standing next to your pain. The pain may be a specific object or a blob of energy.
Pick up your pain and hold it in your hands.
Now imagine walking to a bank. Enter the bank and go up to a teller.
Hand the pain to the teller and inform him/her that you would like to make a deposit into the account where pain is kept.
Let the teller take the pain out of your hands.
Say to her and yourself; "I offer this pain to all who are suffering with the same kind of pain, now or anytime in the future. May they suffer less because I suffered consciously today."
Now picture a person, it's probably not a person you know, suffering with the same kind of pain you are experiencing.
Picture them coming to that bank and making a withdrawal from that account.
Picture them being soothed and their pain lessening.
They suffered less because you suffered consciously today.
Repeat: "I offer this pain to all who are suffering with the same kind of pain, now or anytime in the future. May they suffer less because I suffered consciously today."

For some people, this meditation may seem strange. For me, it was incredibly empowering to feel that, despite the fact that I could do nothing more than lay on the couch in pain, my suffering was serving a purpose. Every time I have done this meditation, my suffering has decreased.