Riding the Wave of Pain

When you breathe, there is a beginning and crest and then an ending.  It is like that with everything:  Sound, sensation, thought, emotions and fatigue.

Everything has a wave and when you can track it, it will help to diffuse the experience.  Riding the wave is a foundational concept in many arenas, and my focus will be on the concept from Duke University Yoga of Awareness Program.  Let’s use pain as an example. 

We tend to talk about our sensation in absolutes, yet it changes.  Even if the sensation is chronic, it still has movement. 

When you begin to notice the pain and track the different sensations associated with it you will take the emotional charge out of it.

To begin to cultivate noticing the wave, try this:

  • Find a place in your body where you are feeling sensation or pain
  • First imaging a wave and think about how it begins, crests and then lessens.
  • Now, without using words to judge it, simply track it and say what you are experiencing.  For example:  It might be a burning sensation that shifts into a stinging or throbbing.  It might move down your leg and pulse or feel hot or cold. 
  • Notice the sensation from the onset, to the crest and the decline.  You might have many of these, but there each has movement when you really pay attention.

This will take practice but the research out of Duke Integrative Medicine, supports that when we are mindful of the entire wave of sensation we take our reaction out of the equation.  Pain and it is exacerbated by our judgments. 

Let me know in the comments below if you were able to work with the wave of sensation.  Was it challenging to name the experiences without any judging description?  Feel free to share your experience.

Posted in: Technique of the Week

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Vienna Finger Experience: Food for Thought

I have been having pain in my left teeth and jaw, so eating has been a challenge.  I was at a meeting and I noticed one of my old time favorite cookies:  Vienna Finger.  I wanted one but since they are a crunchy cookie, I hesitated to indulge myself but soon gave in to the temptation. 

I took one and began eating by taking the sandwich apart and spreading the cream around.  I proceeded to nibble away very slowly savoring every bite.  I hardly chewed and just let it melt in my mouth. 

I talk about this experience because I realized in my slow, mindful eating of the cookie I enjoyed each and every bite.  I was present in each moment, to be sure that I did not crunch at all.  I normally would have eaten at least two cookies in the time I took to eat just one.

The experience was totally satisfying because I really allowed myself to taste it and be with the sensation and flavor.

It makes me think about my relationship with food and how much more I enjoy it when I am present in the moment sensing and tasting bite by bite. 

Try this next time you eat something special and let me know in the comments below what your experience was.

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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