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Any other meditators out there?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by whitewatersmetta, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. whitewatersmetta

    whitewatersmetta Peer Supporter

    So TMS-based treatment (A. Gordon, Schubiner, Schecter, and Sarno) and mindfulness meditation are two approaches that have helped me immensely. But I find them inherently incompatible at times. In so many versions of TMS treatment, you have to confront/talk back to/stand up to your pain (in one way or another) and in mindfulness meditation (the versions I practice) you simply notice all experience without judgement.

    Giving up either of these approaches is a no-go for me. I want to continue them both, but sometimes I feel caught in-between and I manage to create a lot of pressure for myself trying to figure out how to balance them.

    A. Gordon's somatic tracking is the one approach I've found that has really let me feel coherent in using both TMS-treatment and mindfulness. That's great. But the problem for me is that I'm on a longer road of recovery. I've had TMS for over 12 years, and I've already cured 17 distinct symptoms over the past 8 months. But I'm not done, and I find that I CAN'T just keep using the same resource over and over. It grows stale for me. I have to keep reading new authors and finding new perspectives and just refreshing my focus. So it's time to move forward to new authors and I picked up Schubiner's Unlearn Anxiety book, but I find myself back in the old challenge of reconciling between TMS approaches and mindfulness meditation. It's really upsetting for me because I feel like either way I go, I'm doing something wrong. A feeling that is very familiar to many of us TMS types.

    I do find that actively expressing love and compassion for myself works well as a TMS treatment (rather than talking back to the pain) and it relates to a specific type of meditation that has been around for thousands of years (metta). So that's a good alternate. But I'm wondering if any other meditators out there have found good approaches. Thanks!
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  2. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    I use meditation to quiet the mind (and the soul will speak...). Doesn't have anything to do with talking to the brain, when I'm not meditating. And giving it orders, keeping in on the leash so to speak.

    Love and compassion are nice, sure, it's a different approach. You can use more approaches, depending how you feel. You might try a different type of meditation, something to explore.

    All the best!
  3. HappyLittleClouds

    HappyLittleClouds Peer Supporter

    Meditation has been immensely helpful for me as well. I have done mindfulness meditation for years before coming across the TMS/mind-body approach. I never stopped the mindfulness meditation, just expanded my toolbox so to speak. I don't think it's important to do one over the other.

    If you check out the Curable app, which heavily incorporates TMS approaches, it offers many different kinds of meditations and brain training exercises, including both traditional mindfulness based practices, as well as the type where you dialogue with your brain. They specifically state that some people find it more helpful to take an aggressive approach ("stop it, cut it out, brain!") and others benefit more from a nurturing approach ("Hey brain, I know you're trying to protect me, but I'm safe and don't need you to do this right now").
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  4. whitewatersmetta

    whitewatersmetta Peer Supporter

    That's an interesting perspective...that your time in meditation and time not in meditation don't have to be consistent. I'll have to think about that, thank you!
    Sita likes this.
  5. whitewatersmetta

    whitewatersmetta Peer Supporter

    I was considering tak
  6. Benjiro

    Benjiro Peer Supporter

    The way I see it mindfulness is a kind of “standing up to the pain.” By choosing to stay grounded in the present moment, you are, in fact, communicating to yourself that something other than the pain is more important to you. It’s the same message when you’re confronting the pain using words or actions — I won’t let you consume my focus. In the latter case, the stakes may be higher because you are acting directly against the messages your body is sending you (by, for example, exercising anyway). Meditation, on the other hand, is a way to reprogram those danger signals when the stakes are relatively low.

    I meditate regularly and have for some time now. I never once sensed there was a contradiction between meditation and anything Dr. Sarno taught. Keep doing what works for you and try not to overthink.
  7. whitewatersmetta

    whitewatersmetta Peer Supporter

    Thanks Benjiro. I think that some of the contradictions for me came from the work of others, not so much Sarno, but I like your conceptualization of meditation reprogramming the danger signals. Cheers!
    Benjiro likes this.
  8. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    Hi whitewatersmetta,
    The only thing you are doing wrong is worrying that you are doing something wrong. Of the things you have mentioned, all are fine. They are not incompatible. Sometimes you will get mad at the pain and will have to yell at it and sometimes you will feel like you need to do mindfulness or meditate. Sometimes somatic tracking or somatic experiencing is what you will feel like doing. In worrying you are being the typical over thinking not feeling personality that holds on to TMS pain.
  9. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi whitewatersmetta,

    I love the responses so far, and the reflection that what you're doing is fine, despite what the Inner Critic is telling you.

    The first thing that your question brought to mind for me was that mindfulness, or any kind of allowing meditation, allowing things to arise and pass ---this is very supportive for emotional and symptoms events/exploration. You're building an awareness with regular practice that is less easily shaken. So when you're identified with stuff --pain or fear of symptoms, or Inner Critic attack, etc. it is easier to dis-identify, easier to observe and explore. Or, as they say in my town: "Don't believe everything you think."

    I also want to note that emotional exploration is not very effective as a distant witness. There has to be an intimacy with experience. This is where allowing and letting things pass --- if you get very good at it, you can use this to avoid emotional feelings/exploration. This would not be helpful for TMS work in my opinion, but may have its place during intense emotional experiences as a fall back.

  10. whitewatersmetta

    whitewatersmetta Peer Supporter

    All of you, this has been so very helpful to me. On the one hand, I'm still convinced that there is an inherent contradiction between several of the TMS approaches and the specific meditation practices I use, but what you have all helped me see is that the actual problem here is that my TMS personality is determined to do every single thing with rigid perfection, at the same time, all the time, while elucidating and reconciling erudite details of two different philosophical approaches all by myself. Argh. I've done this sort of thing before...it's a huge part of how I ended up with TMS. But it feels light and funny to me now, after getting all the support on this thread.

    Your responses have been exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you! Sending good vibes to each of you!
  11. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    This thread is interesting, still relevant today. Maybe more relevant with this virus circus and all.
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  12. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    I agree with others that meditation has been immensely helpful in my recovery from TMS.

    Mediation wasn't really a thing when Dr. Sarno was developing his program. He used the best tools available to him at the time, which he believed to be a Freudian psychoanalytic approach. There is a significant distinction between the "yelling at your brain/ignoring the pain" approach... and Alan Gordon's "somatic tracking". Both have their place. Both are teaching our primitive brain to stop the fearing the pain.

    But on a long-term basis, I think meditation (using some somatic tracking) is the best approach for regulating our nervous system, dealing with difficult emotions, and reinforcing to our brains that our pain and symptoms are not dangerous. In short, mediation used properly may be the best tool we have for healing and staying healed.

    (edit: didn't realize this was an older thread till Sitka said something)
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2021
  13. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I find meditating and “standing up to pain” and Somatic Tracking very similar. Confronting and talking to pain gently works best for me. Firm and gentle like a compassionate parent who hates seeing their kid constantly do the one thing that keeps them on a path that keeps them from moving forward.
    “Thanks, I do hear you - it’s ok, I got this” or “yeah, there you are -lets talk it out on paper” (ok, this works best for me when say not in a huge major conundrum like major muscle spasm or something - I still freak out with major stuff) - the idea of letting the pain signal pass through you like a thought you acknowledge but don’t singularly attend to. Just like meditation where you can know sounds is happening around you but you don’t place all your focus on them. That’s what
    I’ve been working on.
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  14. rickm

    rickm New Member

    What kind of meditation do you use?
  15. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    This one for example, guided meditation on peace:


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