I once experienced a back injury, which brought many parts of my life to a screeching halt. Sometimes I would struggle to do the simplest things because of the pain. For months, negative feelings were ruminating in me each day I could not do the physical activities that define me. But there is always a silver lining, and on the broader perspective, this experience has gave me an opportunity to understand mindfulness on a deeper level.
I had challenges around separating physical pain from fear and anxiety. When the pain would get worse, so would my stress and the increased cortisol levels would make my muscles tighten up even more. I wasn’t able to control my reaction to the pain, which made me suffer more.
The Art of Facing Difficulties
Sometimes the pain comes back, and when in meditation for the pain, I pay attention to each moment as if it’s the only moment that exists. Somehow, this lets my thoughts surface in a different way. My thoughts are re-directed from my back pain to the present moment. Each moment unfolds, and I feel completely enveloped in the “now.”
Each moment consists of recognizing my breath, body, and mind. The realization of my inner-capacity floats up, and the broader concept is clear. I feel relaxed and in more control.
Now, when I have increased musculoskeletal pain, it’s a tip-off to have a relaxation response. I move away from the pain by focusing on something else. It’s an integrative medicine I prescribe myself by living moment to moment with breath, body, and mind. Mindfulness won’t fix a bad back, but it does nurture calmness in my well-being.