Pain on the path to Stream Entry

George Melon, modified 1 Year ago at 11/17/22 3:02 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/17/22 2:51 AM

Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 27 Join Date: 6/20/22 Recent Posts
I've been struggling with pain most of my adult life, but particularly in meditation. Especially now as I spend this next year in and out of retreats (4 months in out of 12) in Asia, it is nearly a constant moderate aching to pain whether i'm in sitting or walking meditation. Even when I recline, the aching shows up in 10-20 minutes, guaranteed. 

The pain just bounces around based on the posture, it is clear to me it is mind made. I think I have TMS (The mind body syndrome - Dr. John Sarno coined the term) and consider myself an HSP (highly sensitive person). Anywho, I'm now on the path to SE and the pain can discourage and bring doubt sometimes. I have to switch postures every 20-40 minutes on average (depending on the nana), and recline after 1-1.5 hours of upright practice or else the dukkha/fatigue comes on strong. My reclining practice is solid though. I end up managing about 7 hours of sitting/walking and 3 hours of reclining meditation each day. It is not easy, the pain is with me 60-80 % of the time. 

It seems opening my eyes really helps reduce the internal pressure buildup on the mind and body - I usually do choiceless noting with an emphasis on the pain. I'm curious if any others have found things helpful in dealing with difficult and constant pains. And, perhaps personal experiences of attaining SE despite constant pain emoticon

In EQ, I can sit with the pain longer and it is less bothersome, but it is still there, and will usually become quite uncomfortable after 40 minutes, in which I then switch to more active, open eyed noting. I usually do 2nd-3rd gear (KF's 3 speed transmission) in EQ so it feels like a step back to return to open eye noting.

I'm tempted to just jump into a full schedule mahasi retreat, thinking I might pass through the pain entirely, or die...
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 11/17/22 5:33 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/17/22 5:33 AM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
No big deal, just listen to you body. I have spine/pelvis problems that often makes me want/need to switch positions after 25 minutes. I just do the switch slowly and mindfully. Sometimes I go for hours with no pain, sometimes I'm shifting every 15 minutes. No big deal.

Again, just make the "needing to move" thoughts and the "moving the body" sensations part of the meditation.

Yeah the Dr. Sarno stuff is interesting and there is some truth to it. Sometimes we obsess over pain and that obsession is what creates/maintains it, not a real body problem. If I'm remembering correctly, Sarno also mentions that sometimes body pain is a way that repressed anger/frustration can show up... sort of like we should be appropriately angry at someone, but instead we repress it and instead we have pains in our back. Of course, the trick with everything is it is never 100% that simple, but like everything else there is a part of the truth explained by Sarno's theory. So just use it if it helps, but also don't assume that every pain in the body is just mental or repressed anger.

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thor jackson, modified 1 Year ago at 11/17/22 1:18 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/17/22 1:18 PM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 42 Join Date: 11/17/22 Recent Posts
I don't belive you have this pain you speak of. I belive you are just writing to gain sympathy.
However, those who do have pain whilst sitting, STOP doing it.
Western people are not used to sitting on the floor. Certainly not used to sitting in a lotus postion. The WHOLE idea of meditaion is to RELAX and CONCENTRATE. If you are in a postion that is uncomfortable, you are NOT relaxing. Years of wasted practice happens because of this fact. 
The IDEAL postion to meditate is lying down like a baby does. Arms naturally falling by the side and the legs naturally spread open after forcing the buttocks downwards. Take a look at a baby lying down for the most natural shape. The legs fall sideways with the buttocks tucked inwards.
The ENTIRE point of mediation is to relax enough to focus on one pointed concentration. This can NOT happen if you are battling muscle pain.
The whole concept of overcoming pain in mediation is a false construct. Completely unnecessary. 
The idea is to bypass the five senses. One of those being the physical. You cannot bypass the physical if you are constantly stimulating it with pain!
So, everyone should lie down so they can completly relax and so gain better concentration.
I am aware of the BS that is spoken about lying down. That it should not be done because of the problem of falling asleep. This is a false concept. One of the worst lies spread in the meditation community.
If you are genuine about your mediation practice, which means a total commitment, then I presume you have enough hours in the day to do it. That means, whenever you lie down, you should of had enough sleep before hand to not fall asleep when meditating. If you have not had enough sleep, then so be it. Keep doing it regardless of you accidently falling asleep. Eventually, you will reach a point where your body no longer needs sleep and will stay awake. 
The point is, if your body is in the most relaxed state, then your mind can gain the most one pointed concentration. It will not be distracted by muscle pains from sitting in an uncomfortable postition.  
George Melon, modified 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 1:25 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 1:25 AM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 27 Join Date: 6/20/22 Recent Posts
I realize the mind is seeking empathy/sympathy as I struggle with the pain, thank you for pointing out. And I don't know if you are saying I am lying about the pain or that it is mind-made.. either way, appreciate your message.

i am breaking open the belief that laying down is not as good as upright practice, and I am doing it much more, trying to find that gentle relaxed easy-going balance in the body. I appreciate your counter-norm thoughts here and will be keeping them in mind as I continue my intensive practice. Too much upright practice and pain really brings some strong dukkha, so im excited to plunge into this in the coming days. 

I still get aches and pain from lying down but they are much less. I was also lying on a hard yoga mat thinking that would keep me more alert because of the lack of comfort, but I am switching to my bed and I've already found that fruitful.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 5:24 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 5:24 AM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I remember a story told by one of the teachers at IMS: He believed he needed to do the perfect posture, completely upright, no movement sitting and that was the key to progress... well, his body fell apart over the course of a long retreat. Finally, nearly crying from the inflammation and pain his body was in, he relented and sat in a well padded chair --- and entered into the deepest, clearest, most concentrated state he had ever been in. emoticon 

Learning to appropriately deal with discomfort --- not ignore it, not indulge it --- is an important part of training.
Dragon Slayer of Mordor, modified 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 6:08 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 6:08 AM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

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shargrol:
I remember a story told by one of the teachers at IMS: He believed he needed to do the perfect posture, completely upright, no movement sitting and that was the key to progress... well, his body fell apart over the course of a long retreat. Finally, nearly crying from the inflammation and pain his body was in, he relented and sat in a well padded chair --- and entered into the deepest, clearest, most concentrated state he had ever been in. emoticon  Learning to appropriately deal with discomfort --- not ignore it, not indulge it --- is an important part of training.


In the later stages of samatha pain disappears completely- it's called physical pliancy. In that condition there is no pain sitting - actually the body feels blissful.  
Adi Vader, modified 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 6:32 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 6:32 AM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 295 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
The purpose of posture is to enable a relaxed, alert mind capable of doing meditation practice without being agitated and without being dull.
If  you can achieve this by lying down supine on a yoga mat with a very thin pillow under your head, please do so.

The image of the yogi sitting up straight in a cross legged position is simply a motif, a trope.
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Pepe ·, modified 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 7:03 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 7:03 AM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 730 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hey Gunnar, check Stephanie Nash's Posture-Pedia. In pages 3-4 there are tips and pics on how to stay alert while lying down. In my case, I sit up-right, but with many pillows (plenty!)  so as to have the pelvic zone well above the knees, and pillows also bellow the legs and in between. Yet, I still had some discomfort in the back, which ended when my practice transitioned from a more investigative approach to a more surrender like one.

Hope this helps!
Dragon Slayer of Mordor, modified 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 9:26 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 9:26 AM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 5 Join Date: 11/17/22 Recent Posts
IMS is a mushroom factory. Please stop spreading the fungus. It is actually not that advanced to be able to sit without any pain whatsoever. It is craving and aversion that makes you.shift positions. 
Matt Jon Rousseau, modified 1 Year ago at 1/8/23 4:54 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 6:46 PM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 153 Join Date: 5/1/22 Recent Posts
Your not looking for sympathy.  People do get pain when in one posture.    If you have to switch  postures be mindfull when switching . Then it's part of the meditation.  I guarantee you will get little blips while you realize the pain is suddenly gone. It happens.  Keep up the great work.  Fun fact.  Howard stern called Dr Sarno . A living Saint  . He helped cure his back pain
Matt Jon Rousseau, modified 1 Year ago at 1/8/23 4:54 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/18/22 6:47 PM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 153 Join Date: 5/1/22 Recent Posts
May  I ask what's so bad about that place
George Melon, modified 1 Year ago at 11/21/22 2:37 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/21/22 2:37 AM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 27 Join Date: 6/20/22 Recent Posts
Thanks Pepe, I'll check that out. 

and can u say more about your practice turning from more investigative to surrending? Broadly speaking, did u shift more from 1st gear to third gear type practice?
Matheus Ribeiro de Assis, modified 1 Year ago at 11/21/22 3:21 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/21/22 3:21 PM

RE: Pain on the path to Stream Entry

Posts: 22 Join Date: 1/23/22 Recent Posts
There is a possiblity that no one here said. Maybe you just need to develop physical strength and resistence. Have you ever seen those human statues on the streets? Ask them how they are able to stay still for so long, the answer always will be the gym or some kind of heavy duty exercise.

Also, I can speak for myself on this, I've always been a gym rat and physical disconfort has never been a problem for me since the beginning of my path on meditation, sometimes I can't even understand how people complain so much about physical pain during meditation.

So, try hitting the gym hard, if your health allows it, light exercises like just walking won't be enough, lift weights.