~ By Patricia Kay Youngson RN, MA ~
Schinzin Young has a book with an accompanying CD called “Break Through Pain” (2004). Young learned the pain-relieving power of mindfulness meditation when dealing with acute pain himself during long sessions of sitting meditation while studying Zen Buddhism in Japan.
His technique for relieving pain involves a dedicated practice of mindfulness meditation on the pain that not only has been found to relieve pain along with “purification” and many other benefits. What he calls purification results in an increased feeling
of connection to all things, a decrease in uncomfortable emotions and a feeling of happiness that doesn’t depend on outer conditions.
The mindfulness meditation involves opening to the pain and focusing on it in detail while dropping your resistance. This can make the pain “break up” into a flow of pure energy and reduce the amount of pain drugs needed. To be effective, you need regular practice involving “time, effort and determination”. Mindfulness meditation can also be used with any uncomfortable emotion such as fear, sadness, and guilt, etc.
Young also says “…meditation is not merely a way to manage pain, it actually allows you to experience pain as deeply meaningful in the sense of contributing to psychological and spiritual growth” (p. 19). He promises rapid personal growth, helping release psychological and spiritual blocks and a deep “soul cleansing”.
In addition to helping us experience emotional and physical pain with less discomfort, the benefits of this mindfulness meditation are:
- being more present with others,
- increased self-understanding,
- progress in our spiritual path,
- increased creativity and intelligence,
- increased emotional and physical pleasure, and
- increased ability to resist negative urges.
Incidentally, he says that everyone has experienced meditative states–when we are present and intently focused. And not only can we achieve purification by dealing with pain in this way but even by bringing deep acceptance to the “…ordinary aches and discomforts of daily life” (p. 47). That is encouraging. I imagine most of us do that, at least to some extent.
Patricia Kay Youngson RN, MA has a Masters in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University. She is a counselor specializing in chronic pain and sexuality. Her website is patriciak.com and her e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.