Pain as an opportunity

Now I understand why this was called a meditation challenge. This morning I awoke with a migraine. The last one was six months ago, thank goodness. My parents suffered from them, and my brother is debilitated by them. Everything is a challenge with a migraine. I only take medication if the headache is really severe, and this one was a 6. I had an afternoon of teaching ahead of me, and did not want to feel altered from medication.

Stephen Levine once said that “suffering is resistance to what is”. When I sat absolutely still, relaxing every nook and cranny of my being, even the space between the scalp and the skull, then the pain hovered, it did not settle. Even a thought was movement. If I resisted in any way from the reality of the sensation, then I was overtaken by the pain. A migraine is a formidable teacher of mindfulness. I stayed open, present, quiet, and waited. An hour later the monster released my neck and bid me farewell. A whole new level of lovingkindness set in as I gently prepared for my day.

Learning opportunities are now, and now, and now again. Each one a celebration both of what is, when I am fully present, and of what I am becoming, aware, awake, and available to the miracles around me.

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3 Responses to Pain as an opportunity

  1. Jackie Field says:

    what an inspitation! i too suffer from migrains. my crushed foot was my meditation teacher. i feel silly admitting this, but i never tried it for my headaches. i guess i associated it being to close to the source (i.e. mind) to give it a go. guess what i’m doing next time i get a headache….?

  2. lisa says:

    Jackie, it sometimes helps to take supported Adho Mukha Sukhasana, but with a lot of support in front of you. Sit almost upright, and rest your head on a pile of bolsters. Relax your arms at your sides, or rest then on the bolster. The mild pressure on the forehead stimulates the 7th cranial nerve, which effects the parasympathetic nervous system and should help relax the temples and any nausea you may suffer. Sometimes I just have to sit upright and stretch silence through passive awareness.

  3. Hayleigh Zachary says:

    Thank you for writing this! I sometimes to grind my teeth while I am sleeping and can wake up with awful headaches. I have also found that sitting and meditating and finding that source of tension is a Huge help. Often I am able to release and let go enough so that I don’t have to take medicine. (which I also try not to do unless it’s really bad.)

    Thanks for your posts and insights!

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