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How do I deal with pain whilst meditating?

When you sit to meditate it's actually very common to experience a bit of pain. It might be an imbalance in the body, muscular tension, or even the release of emotional tension from the ups and downs of everyday life. These feelings obviously become a bit clearer when you sit down quietly and are free from distractions. So strange as it sounds, you experience them because you have more clarity.

Sometimes the physical pain or emotional tension can feel a bit more ingrained. Maybe it's an old injury you've had for many years, or discomfort associated with a situation from a very long time ago. This can be more difficult to deal with as you will probably have already built up a lot of resistance to the pain.

But whatever the type of pain, it's useful to remember that as a general rule the more aware you are of pain, and the more welcoming you are towards it, the easier it is to manage and the more likely you are to understand it. It sounds counter-intuitive to welcome pain in this way, but you'll find it much easier to work with if you do.

So to begin with, try if you can to get comfortable just sitting with it - essentially making friends with the pain. Pay more attention to your reaction to the pain, rather than the pain itself - that's where the real insight is.

If the pain's very stubborn and you're finding it difficult to sit with, then you can also be a bit more proactive and investigate the pain. Where is it? Is it a general area or a vey precise spot? Don't be too quick to make a judgement or assumption, but rather take the time to really investigate. Does it have a particular shape? Is it a dull pain or a sharp pain? Is there movement around the pain or does it feel very static? If this investigative approach is done in the right way and with a natural curiosity, then it can really transform the way pain is experienced.

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