Mindfulness for Pain Practice: Inner Support Group
Hello, my name is Dr. Christiane Wolf, and I will guide you through a 10-minute meditation working with physical pain by internally connecting with people who have a similar experience.
Let’s start by finding a comfortable—or as comfortable as possible—position. You can lie down for this meditation or sit in a chair. You can close your eyes or just soften your gaze. Whatever feels best to you in this moment. If you’re sitting, placing your feet on the ground, feeling the solid ground under your feet. Maybe having a sense of the floor, or the carpet, through your shoes or bare feet.
Letting the back be straight and upright, if that is possible. While leaning against the back of the chair and feeling the support of that.
Allowing the body to relax, if that is possible. Maybe the jaw and shoulders. The belly. Taking a few deep, slow breaths and feeling the sensations of the breath in the body. Like the chest, or maybe the belly. Maybe even releasing a little more tension with each exhalation.
Now noticing any amount of pain that you’re in right now, either physically or emotionally. No need to be specific here. Just getting a broad sense of what you’re carrying with this pain, with this condition.
And as a first step, seeing if it might be possible to acknowledge how hard and difficult it is to experience this pain, to have this pain, and to take care of the pain. If that feels right to you, you could say something to yourself like, “this is hard.” Or “it is so rough to feel this way.” Use words that you would find helpful to hear from a dear friend who really gets what you are going through.
If you like, repeat this a few times and see if you can really listen to yourself saying this and meaning these words. It might feel good to hear these words, or maybe you notice yourself moving a little away and having a hard time accepting this. Whatever your experience is, it’s OK. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
Having chronic pain often feels lonely. You might not know anybody else who has the same condition. And most people you’re close to, you know they might be well-intentioned, [they] might not understand what you’re going through. But the fact is that probably thousands and thousands of people all over the world know exactly what you’re feeling. Because they do too. And they might even suffer from the same condition as you do.
So in your mind’s eye, inviting all these people into your awareness. Maybe as a few people. Maybe as a big group. Standing with you, or being with you, in solidarity with this pain.
I personally like to imagine them at my shoulders reaching back and back. They get me. They know exactly how I feel. They’re feeling the same thing or have felt it before.
So, practicing in a way here that makes the most sense to you, that makes it easy or maybe just possible to connect with this idea that there are truly so many people out there who get you, who get this pain. You’re not alone with this. If you notice the mind wandering off, just gently keep bringing it back. Allowing this sense of your inner support group.
And then, when you’re ready, allowing the image to dissolve. Maybe taking another few deeper and longer breaths. Bringing the meditation to an end by starting to move and stretch the body in any way that feels good. And opening your eyes if you had them closed.