Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mindfulness Can Be a Pain

Pain, physical pain, is in a category all of its own. Last night, during evening sitting at IMC, and earlier today, as I tried to go about my business, I couldn't help but notice, the dull, persistent ache in my back, real time. This is the beautiful thing about suffering in the body. Forced mindfulness. Of part in the flesh that hurts, and of reactive, unhappy feelings, and thoughts. I don't like this. I want pain-free body. Why now? I should have been more careful. Why did I insist on lifting suitcase? . . . . Craving no pain, resisting impermanence.

Remembering Ines Freedman's speech on renunciation, and her wise words about mindfulness and physical pain. To befriend achy spot repeatedly, using breath, and gentle acceptance. That works, up to a point. Pain not budging much, and neither is frustration. Thinking mind comes to the rescue, several times, taking body out of present, into another time, another place, where pain does not exist. Avoidance of what is.

Physical pain as teacher.


  1. I've heard it said that sometimes, the reason that our body hurts is because the world aches and hurts. Out pain can be a reflection of what is happening in the world. It's an interesting point to consider.



  2. Yes, I do believe, feeling physical pain is a great vehicle for more empathy. It is certainly preparing me for being present with the dying, for whom the body is often cause of great suffering.