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A Meditation Practice For Chronic Pain

Hello Friends,

I am still recovering from surgery and things are going well. As physical therapy puts my muscles and tissues back in place and creates a physical base for going forward, I am getting glimpses of my new normal. I still have Fibromyalgia pain, but I expected that. What is amazing is how much taller and how stable I feel. And I’m getting stronger every day. It’s a great feeling!

As I still have chronic pain, meditation is still one of my go-to remedies. No, it doesn’t remove pain, but it keeps my relationship with pain in check and provides some relief. One way meditation provides relief is by reducing the stress and unnecessary emotional feelings that make pain worse. Meditation does this in two ways, first by helping us be aware we are stressed, and second, by relieving the stress itself. So let’s do a short and simple meditation practice.

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Don’t try to sit like this! It’s not necessary!

Before we start, let’s have a little talk about sitting, also known as your meditation posture. It doesn’t matter at all whether you sit in lotus pose or even on the floor. The only thing that really matters is that you are comfortable and that your spine is straight. Sitting up with a straight spine makes it easier to be alert, and allows your body’s energy to move through  your spine with ease. You can sit in a chair, if possible sitting on the front edge so you hold your spine straight. If that isn’t possible for you, that’s perfectly fine. You may try holding your spine off and on the chair as it feels good. One day, you may not need to lean on the chair because your spine will be strong enough to hold your spine, and the rest of your body, erect.  Put your feet flat on the floor, if you are in a chair, and your hands in your lap or on your knees. If you are sitting on the floor, make yourself comfortable. Relax the shoulders, and keep the back of your neck long, tipping your chin down slightly. Your chest is relaxed and open.

You will get distracted. It’s your brain’s job to think. It’s your job to tell your brain what to think, to master your brain so it doesn’t master  you. So don’t worry when this happens, just start over. I have been meditating since 1976 and it still happens to me, just less often. It isn’t a big deal, begin again.

Let’s start by closing your eyes. You will breathe through the nose. Take several deep breaths, feeling the belly expand on inhale; gently pull your belly toward the spine on exhale. Fill your lungs completely on inhale. Try to make your inhale and exhale equal length. For example, if you inhale to a count of four, exhale to a count of four. This is one way to control  your breath. You are directing the intensity and timing of your inhales and exhales.

After taking the deep breaths, let go of the control of your breath. Let your body breathe the way it wants to. Follow your breath as it moves in and out your nose. Investigate it. Is your breath a different temperature on inhale than it is on exhale? Does it feel different moving in your body? Where do you feel your breath the most? The nose, chest, back, belly? Be curious about your breath. Do this for about five minutes.

When you are ready, release your breath concentration and open your eyes. How did that feel?

Do this once or twice a day. When you feel you can increase the time, try ten minutes for a few weeks. If you would like to get to twenty or thirty minutes a day, increase the time little by little over a few weeks. Remember, it is better to meditate for a few minutes a day, every day, than it is to meditate a half hour once a week. The regularity of practice is what matters, do it every day. Give meditation a chance to help you.

If you have any questions or comments, please comment below. I love to hear from you and am happy to help wherever I can!

Blessings to all of you!

Julie

About Julie Hodges, RYT

I am a happily-married, 53-year-old woman living in a beautiful place with my husband and our three dogs/babies. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (FMS) in 2004. While FMS affects every moment of my life, I have learned to live with it and be happy, not allowing it to destroy me. While I have FMS, it does NOT have ME! As a yoga and meditation teacher, and as a Reiki Master/Teacher, it is my passion to help people have a good, strong and healthy life and relationships. Fibromyalgia Lifeline will help me serve that passion. It is an honor to lead by example, as well as to continue to be a student on this path to freedom from the hold of FMS. Other than that, I like to knit, read, write, be outside, play with my dogs, be with family and friends, movies, some TV shows, ghosthunting, go places in our RV, travel, music, and so many other things, but mainly laugh and have a great time.

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