An invaluable compilation of resources to be with one of the most challenging aspects of illness.

Meditations in illness and pain

When we are sick – especially when we are seriously sick or dying – we become dependent on others. From being respected as an independent and responsible individual you become a patient, or worse, are referred to simply as your disease or a bed number.

So much of our autonomy is taken from us and the implicit expectation is that we will be good patients – that is, that we will fall in line with what the medical and nursing staff require of us. (Jean Shinoba’s-Bowen’s book, Close to the Bone, about the process of being ill is an illuminating read.)

The beauty of the meditative techniques provided here is that, in a world where you may feel stripped of your dignity and independence, they are empowering. You can practise them alone and whenever you need to. Through familiarising yourself with the various methods you have a collection of inner resources that you can tap into whenever you need – independent of anyone else and whatever is happening around you.

For example, it can be that the bright lights or harsh noises in the hospital are disturbing you. Or that you are in pain, are feeling overwhelmed or are lonely or anxious. You will find techniques that support you in a variety of ways; use them according to what feels right for you in each situation. They can enable you to:

* consciously and privately release your feelings

* be with what is happening

* connect with your sense of ‘centering,’ which brings together your disparate parts

* inwardly step back and dispassionately notice or ‘witness’ all that is happening as a passing spectacle in which you don’t need to be involved.

Any of the methods featured in the Meditation Toolkit are helpful; what you choose to do at any given time will, of course, be influenced by any limitations caused by your state of health. With two exceptions (Throwing out Negativity and Gibberish) all the techniques in this section are very passive. If you are in doubt about doing either of the slightly more active ones, do first consult your doctor.

There are various methods featured here for managing your pain: some may work more effectively than others, so do experiment. And some may work well in some situations and less well in others, so it is good to have several different options. Familiarise yourself with them all when pain is minimal, rather than waiting till you have reached the end of your tether. By trying a method out in less challenging situations and finding that it works, you will gain the confidence needed for when the pain is stronger.

If you are using strong pain relief you might want to time your meditations for when you are more alert.


Methods particularly appropriate when you are ill

Details of methods including those below are given here.

  • Breath watching
  • Affirmations
  • Gibberish
  • Face Off
  • Hara awareness through Breath
  • Imagine expanding
  • Throwing our negativity
  • Take Note x 3
  • Watching the movie


Methods particularly appropriate when you are in pain

Details of methods including those below are given here.

  • Being with pain
  • Pain as a pinpoint
  • Creating space around pain
  • Remember the host
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