October 18, 2007
This morning I spoke with a man who called from London (UK) to express his gratitude for my guided meditations. Our local meditation group had just left and I was already feeling quite mellow, but the phone call brought me to a deep state of love and gratitude that has remained with me all day. I was so deeply touched as he related how much our podcast and CDs have helped him. As he spoke, I felt such gratitude that this is happening in my life, that in some mysterious way people receive the same grace from me that I have received from so many teachers and others through the years. It could just as easily have been me thanking him for how much he has enriched my life.
When I sit with my meditation group or to record a meditation, I enter into a meditative state and speak from that place. It seems that those who resonate with my meditations are somehow brought into that state with me. Today on the phone, it felt as if the gratitude my caller was expressing was my own. What a gift to be brought into that state of gratitude! Gratitude is said to be the “highest” possible emotion we can experience. To me, it is an experience of love — not the emotion of love but of the very essence of life itself. There’s no way to describe or understand intellectually what gratitude is, but when we have the good fortune to feel it, it’s good to dwell in it and allow it to nourish our spirits.
October 12, 2007
We’ve just published our latest podcast episode, Beyond Pain. It was hard to come up with the right title for this one. The experience of pain is so complex. If we are speaking of physical pain, the pain itself is just a sensation in the body. Unless you are someone who enjoys pain, and there are some people who do, pain is much more than “just a sensation in the body”. It can create enormous suffering.
What makes the sensation of pain so difficult? Besides the fact that it can be so strong that it grabs our attention totally, making it difficult to focus on anything else, there are many ways that we suffer with pain. Much of the suffering comes from the thoughts and emotional reactions that we have along with the pain. It may trigger fear, sadness, anger, or frustration depending on our past experiences and beliefs. We may start to wonder how long it will go on, what it means, where it will go, and whether or not we’ll be able to endure it.
There may be some underlying feelings about the pain that are very subtle and not so obvious, like the sense that it is a punishment or due to our failings. It can bring up a sense of abandonment or betrayal. Pain can bring up all sorts of feelings. Next time you are experiencing pain, you can investigate what comes along with it and also whether the suffering you are experiencing with the pain is from the pain itself or everything else that it brings up.
The purpose of the Beyond Pain meditation is to bring about a greater sense of ease with the presence of pain. We may tend to tighten up and resist pain which in fact makes it worse. The meditation encourages you to relax into the pain, and to let go of the involvement with all the mind’s stories about the pain and the emotional reactions to it. It can help you come to a place of peace in spite of pain. Whether or not the feeling of pain becomes less, the suffering that comes with pain can be released.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with this meditation and invite you to comment!