In my last podcast I mentioned I would follow with my process I use for alleviating pain using the meditation (you can listen on DementiaTalks.net or you listen on your favorite podcast player under Dementia Talks (currently not iTunes) if you like.
Leading projects Like the rescue of the Hubble Space Telescope and fixing Ford Europe or the New York State Tax System and other high-pressure jobs the stress was becoming too much for me
I learned how to meditate years ago as a necessity to keep doing my job. The projects I lead were stress filled and I found myself bringing the stress home to my family on the weekends.
So, I searched for ways to deal with it. I did paintings in the evenings; I took walks and listen to music… all the great things but the real thing that help me was learning meditation.
Zen Mind, a Beginner’s Mind” – by Shunryu Suzuki and narrated by Peter Coyote.
“Breath Sweeps the Mind” by Jausko Kowong-roshiBoth
These books are listed in my Good Reads section on the site.
The second book was the most important one for me. The first book set up the idea and the process the second one really took me deep into how to meditate and how to step away and just be present. I have listened to both of them many, many times.
Basics of Meditation
Meditation in the beginning focuses first on breathing and letting things go, known as being present. As thoughts come into your mind, you just let them go and then go back to focusing on your breathing. But as you advance in meditation, which can take some time to advance you can start to work on mantras and eventually work on moving to an out-of-body state.
It is that later state that I use to deal with pain.
But let me quickly explain my process. With my disease I have lots of pain, all the time. My pain is not only constant, but I also get these extreme attacks of deep or sharp pain.
When I am asked to explain the level of the pain, my best explanation for my doctors is that the pain is greater than when I broke my wrist couple years ago. Just to level set the amount of pain I endure.
It’s important to note, I refused to take painkillers or opioids. I do take Lyrica which is a nerve suppressant and I think that helps a lot. But obviously, it doesn’t remove all the pain it just suppresses the nerve transmission and level of constant pain.
I use this form of meditation to get through the pain in those peak moments. The shots of pain that cause my seizures I haven’t mastered yet, that is what we want Patsy to sense before they happen. Maybe then I can master the seizures as well.
First, I do not try to avoid the extreme of pain by avoiding doing the things I like to do. I have learned that they are going to happen no matter what. Doing as much in my life as I can is important to me.
When it happens, I let it happen; I don’t pretend to like the pain or tolerate it, but I don’t let it overwhelm me either. I just let the pain happen, I recognize it. Just as I learned in meditation, when trying to silence your mind and focusing on your breathing and thoughts come into your head.
The trick with meditation is not to get upset with yourself because of those thoughts that come into your mind while you’re meditating just don’t let them overtake you or change your counting and breathing.
Simply accept that the thought is coming from your subconscious and let it go. It will pass, it can wait. Let it pass, focus on your breath, breathe in(1,2,3,4)…hold for 3….breathe out(1,2,3,4). Don’t acknowledge it, just recognize it, and let it go. Move on.
So, when that pain for me peaks, I recognize it for what it is… my body is sending me a signal. A signal I can receive and then let it go. I know that my body’s trying to tell me something. I got the message loud and clear, but if I tense up, then I make more of my body part of the response. My other muscles will tense… and well, you know the rest… it’s a cycle.
So again, when I let it go that way, I acknowledge it, breathe in let it wain and subside as I breathe out (I’m in control of the process). This process usually takes 30 seconds to a minute. Yes, it stops me from doing what I am doing, but I get the pain back under control so it’s not stopping me from what I’m doing at the time.
I have trained at doing this for quite some time, I also had the meditation training before this all started, and I know it takes time for you to develop this skill. But my advice is to read or listen to these two books (I prefer audible, it is easy to listen to, easy to learn, and apply to daily meditation basics).
Learn meditation, it will help you with the pain of stress and you can apply it to severe pain like; back pain, (which after three back surgeries I know that pain well) arthritis, MS and others. It has great benefits for people with dementia.
I pray this helps.