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When it hurts too much to meditate

Meditation is wonderful.  But sometimes, when the pain is too much, just doing ordinary things might be all that you can manage.  When that happens, it's important to be able to let go of your meditation practice, to not feel guilty about it, and to find out what helps you to relax and brings you joy. 

There was a period in my life when meditation practice was just too difficult for me to do.  I was full of despair.  My body was weak with nausea and lack of sleep.  My mind only went round and round, scratching the sore point, and I found sitting practice excruciating.  I knew that I needed to take my mind off of the pain, because there was no way to think my way out of it.

What helped me was to focus on something else entirely - something that was simple. In my case, that was typing. I had a lot of material that interested me, and I thought it would be nice if it was retyped on my computer and made into MS Word documents. Just keeping my mind on each word as I typed them was very helpful.

I also found that taking walks and doing simple household chores was a relief.  By keeping my body moving, I was able to take my mind off of the pain.

The other thing that helped me was reading children’s books that I really connected with.  The beauty and simplicity of the stories gave me a warm and loving "home" to come back to. Slowly, my mind was able to leave the cramped space it had been occupying and I eventually was able to start to meditate again.
I hope you find this helpful.

- Irene Vliegenthart