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How I meditated away my back pain

Last Sunday I mentioned I’d had two months of excruciating back pain due to
a few muscle spasms. Notice I used past tense?

That’s right, the pain is now gone!

Two months of aggravation, tension, holding on, re-spasming my back, then
one meditation… and it was gone.

I want to share with you the meditation I use for really tough stuff I find
myself dealing with.

I’ve been able to successfully lift a depression with this meditation.

And now I was able to stop my back pain with it.

It’s weird.

The meditation is called Feeding Your Demons, by Tsultrim Allione. It’s based on an ancient Tibetan practice called Chöd,
which is even weirder, I gather.

You can hear her explain a bit about it, and guide you through it in this hour-long video.
Or you can read the steps here.

I’ll describe what happened when I tried it on my back pain.

First, you sit with your eyes closed, relax, and locate the pain in your
body. You ask what it feels like, what color it is, try to get in touch
with it.

Then you imagine it taking on a physical form.

Usually, visualization doesn’t come easy for me. It takes me a while, and I
lose the picture often.

This time, with the acute, drastic pain I had, it was easy.

For me, grabbing the first image that comes to mind and going with it
usually works best.

At first, focusing on the pain in my lower back, I tried to give it a
color. It seemed to be flashing red and blue.

Then I thought about it having a form, a body.

In popped this image of a crocodile, flashing red and blue, its teeth
gnashing, whipping its head (or heads?) back and forth. It seemed to have
two or three heads — hard to tell, as they wouldn’t hold still.

You imagine yourself sitting across from this demon, and you have a
conversation.

First, I asked the crocodile demon what it wants.

Then, I traded places with the demon in my mind. I imagined myself, as best
I could, as the crocodile, flashing red and blue like some 90s computer
animation, head (or heads) whipping around, seeing myself sitting across
from … demon me.

And I thought to myself, as this creature, what is it that I want?

I want to bite you.

I traded places again and saw myself sitting across from the demon, being
told it wants to bite me.

Then I asked, when you bite me, how will you feel?

Again, I traded places, imagined myself as this demon, and the answer that
came up was the feeling you get when you bite into a big burrito or
cheeseburger — that satisfying, comforting, secure feeling of clamping your
jaws down into something and really savoring it.

So then, back in my own body, I imagined offering myself up as something
satisfying, comforting, and secure the demon can really sink its teeth into.

And then I visualized the demon taking me in its jaws, still wildly
whipping its head around. I pictured myself as relaxed, surrendering fully
to the crocodile teeth, and imagined that feeling in the crocodile’s jaws
of comfort and security as it clamped its jaws down into me and really
savored me.

There’s a bit more to the meditation, but I wasn’t able to get further than
that, and it seemed to be okay.

The next day I woke up and the pain that had been plaguing my lower back
was gone.

I got on a bumpy bus and the pain came back for a little while. When I got
home, I replayed the last part of the meditation again, offering myself up
to the crocodile, feeling the jaws clamp down, surrendering to the gnashing
teeth.

The pain hasn’t been back.

I believe pain has a real use — it lets you know when something is unwell
in your body. But sometimes I think our brains hold onto the pain too long.
My muscle spasm had healed, but my brain had gotten used to the pain being
there. I could tell it was time to let it go.

Remind me to tell you about my depression demon sometime.

Be well,

Love Sarah

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