Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cutting Through the Layers of Back Pain while Meditating

I've been using my sitting support for about 6 weeks now and it has made a huge difference in my meditation practice. With the support I was able to relieve the acute pain and I discovered the next level of pain that sat right below the acute level. What became clear was this next level of pain came from my good friend - my body - trying to do its thing and adjust to the circumstances it was dealt.

I finally realize the extent to which the right side of my body has been tortured:  my neck has had 4 surgeries on the right side; my right collarbone was broken and never aligned so it "set itself" at an angle that left my right shoulder about 2 inches lower than my left; I had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder for a racquetball injury; and, I have a broken wingtip on the right side of a vertebra in my mid back.

These had seemed like mostly disconnected events until now.  With the acute pain gone I could feel them each speaking with their own voice.  The more I listened to what they were trying to say the more I realized that my "neutral position" needed to adjust.  I discovered that by rotating my shoulders a few degrees in favor of my right side almost all of the pain dropped away.

The shift is quite subtle. I'm not sure it would be obvious to anyone else; but from inside me it feels like I've rotated a lot.

The funny thing is now that I can get comfortable during zazen I find it easy to fall into a more blissful state when sitting.  My new practice is to focus on concentration.

If you struggle with pain during mediation I strongly encourage you investigate the source.  Finding your neutral position can make dramatic change in the quality of your practice.  Of course, sitting in one position for an extended time will inevitably create its own stress on your body.  You just don't have to add additional pressure from injuries, or the other issues that make your body unique.

Namaste and Friendly Bows _/|\_

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