After years of having meditation stuffed down my throat, tonight I have decided to try a different approach – mindfulness.
When I went to see specialists, many (if not all) would give me a list of things I needed to do to get better, and almost always that list would include meditation. However, while they would heavily reccommend I try it, they didn't give much help with the actual how or why of it all.
When you think about what meditation involves it should be easy; just sitting there not thinking about anything. But it’s not. Our minds are almost always thinking of something, and it is hard to quieten a mind so used to being heavily involved in thought. Meditation is hard, especially when you’re in pain.
I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to meditate and I didn’t know why it was just so important that everyone kept mentioning it to me. Yet no one was able to give me instructions on how to do it, other than sit there and focus on your breath. I tried it many, many times but I didn’t like it and I felt I couldn’t do it.
When you’re in pain for a long time, you begin to loose body awareness – it’s a coping mechanism. You try to block out what your body is feeling in an attempt to block out some of the pain. Some of the becomes ‘background/white noise’ because you get used to it and notice it less. Sitting or lying there and focusing on what your body is feeling when you are in pain is actually really distressing. You don’t want to know what your body is feeling because for the life of you you can’t figure out a way to help it. Letting yourself feel exactly what your body is feeling lets you know where your body is at - where you’re at. And when you’re not in a good place you don’t want reminders of it.
While knowing exactly where your body is at in the short term is distressing, in the long term it is much more beneficial in you getting back to where you want to be. Because you need to know where you’re starting from in order to figure out how to get to where you want to finish.
So over the next few days/weeks I will be trialling ‘mindfulness’ by using these tracks (pictured) that my Occupational Therapist lent me. I have recently realised that I am not at the stage I thought I was, and therefore want to recognise where I am at in order to get to where I want to be. And I do think that being able to just recognise what I am feeling - not fight it, not be upset by it, just allow it to be there - will help me get there faster.