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Thread: Sitting when sick

  1. #1

    Sitting when sick

    I have this thing where my sinuses back up into my ears which throws my balance off. I never noticed this before I started doing Zazen, and really only notice it when I do Zazen. It feels like I'm on a boat that is anchored. I try to sit with it as much as I can but end up stopping well before my previously set time due to motion sickness.

    Anyone else get this? Anyone have tips for sitting with it?

    Gassho
    _/_

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Re: Sitting when sick

    I managed to get a sinus infection at the first of the year and I know when it was at it's peak and my eustation tubes were plugged, I would get dizzy during Zazen. Dizzyness could be explained because you are pivoting while on your zafu, looking for balance and since your equilibrium is off, it's making you uneasy. Have you tried using a neti pot to clear your sinuses?

    Gassho,
    Chris

  3. #3

    Re: Sitting when sick

    Quote Originally Posted by threethirty
    I have this thing where my sinuses back up into my ears which throws my balance off. I never noticed this before I started doing Zazen, and really only notice it when I do Zazen. It feels like I'm on a boat that is anchored. I try to sit with it as much as I can but end up stopping well before my previously set time due to motion sickness.

    Anyone else get this? Anyone have tips for sitting with it?

    Gassho
    _/_
    Hi,

    First, see a doctor and get yourself checked, see if there is some medical treatment.

    Next, see if you are holding your head too rigidly, or too far back or forward. Do not have tension in your neck, and keep your head nicely balanced on your neck. Keep you eyes half open too.

    Next, have a listen to these, on sitting with illness and chronic conditions ... If truly necessary, stand, walk or recline even if mid-sitting ...

    viewtopic.php?f=20&t=2909&p=41789&hilit=sick+pain# p41789

    viewtopic.php?p=64281#p64281

    Pretty much the message is the same in each of those.

    When sick, just be sick. When dizzy, just be dizzy ... even as we try not to be sick and dizzy. Find the Stillness at the center both in being still and spinning!

    My family and I all had the flu this week (we are all nearly back to health). When you cough, just cough. Cough as the only cough in that moment, a perfect cough ... cough cough cough. Vomit vomit vomit. It is the whole universe vomiting in that instant.

    If you cannot get up out of bed, then just sit in bed. If you cannot sit in the Lotus Posture because your head is swimming and feverish, then just curl up like a ball under the sheets. If you fade in and out of sleep ... snore snore snore. Moan moan moan.

    It is all Zazen, all perfectly what it is.

    Just Sit ... (or when sick, recline) ... dropping all demands, likes and dislikes, resistance, judgments (all the demands of the "self" on the world). Just Sit ... putting the "self" out of a job for a time.

    That is our Practice.

    Gassho, J

    PS - That being said, perhaps some other folks will have some practical tips. My mother had an inner ear syndrome, and suffered with vertigo for many years.

  4. #4

    Re: Sitting when sick

    By the way, I am about to add a good book to our suggested book list ...

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=889

    TURNING SUFFERING INSIDE OUT, a Zen Approach to Living with Physical and Emotional Pain by Darlene Cohen

    http://www.shambhala.com/html/catalog/i ... -817-7.cfm

    Darlene Cohen discovered the secret to finding happiness in the midst of debilitating pain. She shares her knowledge in her popular workshops and now in this book. Cohen, who has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for eighteen years, was hobbling painfully to her local Zen center one day, when she made a discovery that changed her life: if she focused on the foot that was in the air rather than the one that was hitting the pavement, her stamina increased enormously. It was the beginning of a completely different approach to the crippling pain that had beset her for so long. As she demonstrates here, this approach can be expanded to all types of pain: physical, psychological, and spiritual.

    Cohen—a certified massage and movement therapist and Zen teacher—proposes a radically liberating alternative to the usual desperate search for pain relief: paradoxically, she says, release from suffering lies in paying closer attention to it. When we keep pain at bay, we keep pleasure at bay, too. The two are interdependent, and our ability to experience each is totally dependent on our understanding of the other.

    "Enrich your life exponentially," Cohen advises. If your pain is one of the ten things you are aware of, then it constitutes a tenth of your total awareness. Expand your awareness to a hundred things, however, and your pain is only a hundredth of your awareness. With stories, strategies, exercises, and an awareness born of long Zen practice, Cohen shows us how to tap into that enrichment—and how we can lead a satisfying and even joyful life in the very midst of pain.

    This book was published in hardcover under the title Finding a Joyful Life in the Heart of Pain.

  5. #5
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Sitting when sick

    I have dizziness because of a neurological problem. There are days that I simply can't sit, not because things are spinning, but simply because my mind is unable to function. Interestingly, when I got up this morning, I wanted to sit a bit, but I've been too dizzy today to do so yet (I've been up for an hour or so).

    As for the book, I'll check that out. Any relation Jundo? Or is Cohen the Smith of Jewish names? :-)

    Note: there's also this book:

    How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers

    http://www.amazon.com/How-Sick-Buddhist ... 0861716264

    I haven't read it...

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: Sitting when sick

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    By the way, I am about to add a good book to our suggested book list ...
    Thanks, Jundo. I looks really interesting. Just added to my list.

  7. #7

    Re: Sitting when sick

    Hi there all dizzy treeleafers.

    I also have a neurological condition that affects my balance. I've mentioned in a few posts that I sit Zazen mainly lying down.

    The book by Toni Bernard 'How to be Sick' is really helpful. I have the same condition as Bernard and after reading her book all
    worries about how to 'sit' just dropped away.


    Gassho


    Willow

  8. #8
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Sitting when sick

    Maybe we should create a dizzy meditators group. :-)

  9. #9

    Re: Sitting when sick

    Kirkmc - now there's a thought. (Smilie - still can't get my smilies to work!)

    Justin - was thinking, might be an idea to keep eyes fully open - if you have an inner ear problem the brain relies on the signals from the eyes to
    help you orientate spatially -find your balance - because the ears can't manage on their own as signals faulty.

    Hope this helps,


    Willow

  10. #10

    Re: Sitting when sick

    thanks for all the advice, and books to add to my list

  11. #11
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Sitting when sick

    Cohen advises. If your pain is one of the ten things you are aware of, then it constitutes a tenth of your total awareness. Expand your awareness to a hundred things, however, and your pain is only a hundredth of your awareness
    I have found this to be true, but I was not smart enough to write a book about it, and now I am sick about that!

    Seriously, I have "sat" zazen while sick buried under the covers on occasion. Also, when sick and able to sit up and do zazen I generally either shorten the length of the sit to something I can manage or I do it untimed for as long as I can before going back to bed or the couch or wherever I am reclining.

    Get well soon.

  12. #12

    Re: Sitting when sick

    I also agree with Cohen's strategy.

    Not long ago - at a pain clinic - I refused offers of morphine based pain relief.

    The doctor asked me how I was going to get through the rest of my life in such a high level of constant pain.

    I tried to explain that a clear mind was more important to me than pain relief - that has lots of side affects - including
    dulling my mind.

    I'm not suggesting that pain relief is bad - and at times it is surely essential - but for long-term chronic pain I try to think of the
    pain as a 'volume dial' and turn the dial down to 'backgroud noise'. This releases energy to focus my mind on more rewarding goals
    - no matter how small - like painting, sewing, planning my garden and enjoying the lovely smiles on my grandchildren's faces.

    And of course - zazen!

    Gassho

    Willow

  13. #13

    Re: Sitting when sick

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    I also agree with Cohen's strategy.

    Not long ago - at a pain clinic - I refused offers of morphine based pain relief.

    The doctor asked me how I was going to get through the rest of my life in such a high level of constant pain.

    I tried to explain that a clear mind was more important to me than pain relief - that has lots of side affects - including
    dulling my mind.

    I'm not suggesting that pain relief is bad - and at times it is surely essential - but for long-term chronic pain I try to think of the
    pain as a 'volume dial' and turn the dial down to 'backgroud noise'. This releases energy to focus my mind on more rewarding goals
    - no matter how small - like painting, sewing, planning my garden and enjoying the lovely smiles on my grandchildren's faces.

    And of course - zazen!

    Gassho

    Willow
    You are a stronger person than I!!! I really admire your commitment to practice. I've been following your posts and you've given me a lot to think about. Thank you.

    _/_

  14. #14

    Re: Sitting when sick

    thankyou Matt - but if you scroll thru my earlier posts today you will see I am well confused just
    now - and would welcome some support. Unfortunately I can't find the volume control on my overthinking mind
    which is turned up way too high just now!

    Gassho

    Willow

  15. #15

    Re: Sitting when sick

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    thankyou Matt - but if you scroll thru my earlier posts today you will see I am well confused just
    now - and would welcome some support. Unfortunately I can't find the volume control on my overthinking mind
    which is turned up way too high just now!

    Gassho

    Willow
    Confused, maybe--but persistent nonetheless! I wish I had more advice to offer.

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