Saturday, July 26, 2008

Resistance to pain

Like change, pain is inevitable — but so, of course, is pleasure. In fact, you can’t have one without the other, though most of us would love to have it some other way. When you tighten your belly and hold your breath against the onslaught of pain, be it emotional or physical, you actually intensify the pain. And when you affix a story to the pain — for example, “This shouldn’t be happening to me,” or “I must have done something to deserve this” — you just Velcro an extra layer of suffering on top of the pain, which causes your body to tighten and resist even more and only serves to perpetuate the pain rather than relieve it.
Through meditation, you can learn to breathe deeply, soften your belly, cut through your story, and relax around your pain. Often, the pain will naturally let go and release —and even when it doesn’t, it generally becomes much easier to bear.

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