Do you know the story of the two arrows?
It describes the experience most of us have with pain.
And while we’d all like to avoid pain, it’s simply a part of life.
And when it occurs, it’s like getting shot by two arrows.
The first arrow is the physical pain we experience. An injury or illness perhaps.
But the second arrow is the mental pain.
It’s the anguish and sorrow we feel because of the physical pain.
This mental pain is one that we inflict on ourselves. It’s a choice of our own making.
Something happens and the first arrow strikes. There’s that physical pain.
And despite taking a dose of painkillers, the aching soon returns.
And now you start to wonder…
“Will this get worse? What if I never recover? I can’t deal with this.”
It’s a natural reaction to try and find a way of escaping pain.
But this struggle can actually make it worse.
It might sound a little crazy, but it’s actually more effective to explore your feelings of pain than to run and try to forget them.
Clinic studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can reduce chronic pain by 57 percent!
And some hospital pain clinics have started prescribing mindfulness meditation to help patients cope with a wide range of diseases.
So, let’s take a look at a body scan technique you can use on your own.
Find a quiet and comfortable place to lie down where you won’t be disturbed.
Turn your attention to your body and the position you’re in. Relax any spots of tension you may have.
Decide to let go of the past and the future, and be engaged in the present moment.
Decide that whatever you encounter with your body will be met with acceptance and without judgement.
Using your mind, turn your attention to each part of your body, one at a time.
Start at your feet and work your way to the top of your head.
This isn’t a thinking exercise, you’re only noticing and being aware of ‘what is’.
The last step is to be aware of your body as a complete and connected whole.
Stay present, feel into your body, and feel it from within.
I really hope this can help you avoid the sting of that second arrow.
Because it’s the mental anguish that makes matters worse.
And have a look at this blog for some tips to help you strengthen your mindfulness practice.