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Increased pain during meditation

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by veronica73, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I teach meditation and Reiki (energy healing) and sometimes students ask why they get pain during meditation. It seems to be fairly common--in fact I found an old journal from when I first started meditating at age 16 and would get headaches during meditation.

    I had always assumed that I wasn't breathing right during meditation or that my muscles were too tense or that the pain had been present before and I was just noticing it when I sat quietly.

    Since learning about TMS, I no longer believe that.

    In a class I was teaching this morning, a woman mentioned that she often gets headaches and other pains only when she meditates. I told her, "well I'm not a doctor, but there is the theory that some kinds of pain are just there to distract us from painful emotions. When you're going about your day, you're probably otherwise occupied and the feelings are kept at bay, but when you sit in meditation, they begin to come to the surface, the mind doesn't want that and starts to produce pain to distract you from the feelings." This student really embraced the idea and everyone else in the class thought it made sense too. Now that I think of it, it really makes so much more sense than the postural idea I had about this pain before, and it's even more in line I think with a lot of spiritual ideas about meditation--that the ego will do just about anything to keep you from seeing the truth about yourself.
    Forest and JanAtheCPA like this.
  2. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    I would consider you as someone who is more in touch with meditation than me. I don't do it as often as I should, because I have the problem with others "popping in". (Long story) Anyway - I don't sit in the meditation position, back straight, legs crossed - I sit in my tilt back easy chair that has two large quilts on it. It can lean back, but it works and I never have pain. Is it this comfy position- too comfy?

    I do a weekly 10 minute group meditation in my home by myself. Every week is different and I love it. It's called a rejuvenation chamber. If I were to do this sitting with a straight back in the "meditation position" - I know my back would hurt.

    While with a group one time, we were sitting on a hard surface, cross legged on the floor. I was in a lot of pain before we even started. But when we were instructed to "ground" I felt THE worst pain I've felt in a long time. I actually saw white, and had to excuse myself from the group. Once I was in a different room, I was dizzy, my eyesight was wonky, and it scared me to death. This happened before I learned about TMS. Whereas I flipped out over this experience, I think I've come far enough now that I would know it had something to do with TMS and would relax until the weird symptoms passed.

    So - is meditating for me in the most comfortable way possible OK? Since you teach it, I'm wondering if I miss something by not sitting "properly".

  3. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I would say definitely sit or lie down in whatever posture works for you. I usually teach people sitting up in regular chairs, not on the floor. Occasionally students have said they want to sit or lay on the floor which is fine with me.

    Why I think a lot of pain during meditation is TMS-like is that students will be sitting in the same chair, same position, and feel fine, but once we start meditating pain comes on. That was my experience too.
  4. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Well I hope I don't take this one on - so far I haven't had it happen, but then I don't meditate as often as I should. I think it was you that mentioned that "Unlearn Your Pain" has great meditations on the CD. I do listen to those - but I need to do this on a more regular basis!

  5. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    BeachGirl, I don't this will happen to you--you know about the mindbody connection...I think for a lot of people pain comes on during quiet times like meditation as a way to distract us (like I usually feel worse on vacation).

    Let go of "should"...you are doing a lot already!
  6. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Thanks Veronica - you're right.

  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Veronica, you are going to be awesome at both of these practices with your TMS awareness and empathy!

    Reiki is pretty interesting stuff. I thought, before I knew anything about TMS, that it is probably most successful when the practitioner is emotionally connected and able to guide the client to emotional awareness or experience. This was based on having it done on me by someone who seemed uncomfortable with emotional intimacy. I felt there was potential, but not with her. Similar to cranio-sacral work, which is also energy-based, and also connected to emotions. I've heard of people having strong physical reactions to C-S, sometimes very negative ones - and now I think it's got to be TMS. It all comes back to the emotions...
    Forest likes this.
  8. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Thanks, Jan. Though I would rather not have gone through TMS, I feel that it is helping me learn things about myself and hopefully also some things about the mind in general that will be helpful in my practice.

    I don't know much about craniosacral...with Reiki, the practitioner brings in more life force energy for the client, who draws in what she or he needs to come into balance. The client is really the healer so the less the practitioner does, the better. I find usually when people have had negative experiences with Reiki, it's that their practitioner was doing something else besides Reiki--like giving advice or trying to over-help. I don't know if that makes sense.

    I actually feel like I don't do a lot in Reiki, I try to just get out of the way and let the person have their own experience. I think the most important thing the Reiki practitioner does is create a safe "space" for the person to have that experience.

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