Learn/ Guided Meditations 5: Working With Pain & Anger
Mindfulness is a potent tool for dealing with pain. The first track is specifically designed for coping with painful sensations. Our relationship to pain is an important one, and this practice guides you in using awareness and the intention of breathing to manage the pain experience. To deal with pain we must negotiate the four levels of the mind. At the first level, there are sensations in the body. The brain’s job is to make sense of these sensations, so it immediately asks “what is this.” In this case, the answer is “pain.” This is the second level. Instantaneous with this, the brain also evaluates the experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, and so forth. In this case, it’s bad news. “Ouch.” This is the third level. All of this is what we are adapted for and what the brain is excellent at doing. The recognition and evaluation of pain can contain crucial information, such as the stove is hot and we should remove our hand immediately! The first three levels of awareness happen in a fraction of a second. However, we tend to spend most of our time at the fourth level – the storytelling mind. Here, the pain becomes my pain and connects to all the history and future projections. Here we say “I don’t want this pain” or “why is this happening to me.” When we can bring the mind to focus on level one, the experience of pain transforms. The second track is a guided imagery meditation that focuses on the physical properties of the pain and systematically transforms them, using the power of imagination, from something that is vexing and overwhelming to something that is manageable and controllable. This CD also includes a discussion of anger, which can also be understood from the four levels of mind.
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“When you say something really unkind, when you do something in retaliation your anger increases. You make the other person suffer, and he will try hard to say or to do something back to get relief from his suffering. That is how conflict escalates.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, Anger