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Thread: Pain as a motivator

  1. #1

    Pain as a motivator

    I apologise that this post is so long.

    Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything. I thought I’d share my experiences of this year, in case anyone else has had similar things themselves. I have had quite a bit of pain (suffering) so far this year. I expect my situation may strike a chord with others here.

    Despite having long-term medical issues that give me chronic pain and compromise my immune response, I have been managing pretty well. Pride comes before a fall. Just as we are getting comfortable, the universe seems to find us a greater challenge.

    I remember saying to people here that I wouldn’t be joining the group that discusses practicing whilst sick, because I was managing OK! Ha!

    Dec 24, 2020 – I fell down stairs and ruptured a muscle in my lower back. It was interesting. A new pain to notice, but not to focus on too much. In eight weeks it had healed, and taking care of my precious human body, I strengthened my back with exercise, yoga, weights... So far so good.

    Mar 11, 2021 – I fell down stairs again. This time breaking ribs and requiring morphine for pain that just wouldn’t allow me to think. The morphine made me very itchy and terribly constipated (sorry to be so graphic). As is so often the case with modern Western medicine, the side effects can make you feel worse rather than better. Well, zazen came along but you wouldn’t recognise it from my body positions. A kind of itchy, fidgety zazen. But that was the best I could muster for 12 weeks.

    Mar 12 – The long awaited brain scan (CT scan). It turned out OK.

    May 20 – My sister’s funeral. None of us walk this earth for long.

    May 22 – Having to set aside the lingering rib pain and my grief, to embark on my second eye surgery. Even after two weeks my vision is disturbed by a snowstorm of floaters. I can’t see much, the world is bleary. On the bright side, I can sit in a more conventional zazen position.

    So I feel like I have been unwell most of this year. It does underline the fragility of human existence and motivates me to go to my zafu more often. Training as if my head is on fire, whilst hoping that it doesn’t actually catch fire. I feel more like a contributing cog in the world than an individual - in a good way. I have become more decisive. Not yet ready to join live zoom because I can’t see what is going on, but I’m still here, even though it may look/feel like I am rather a hermit.

    Pain is an interesting sensation. Doctors are quick to offer pain meds, but I don’t think it is realistic to think I can live a pain-free life.

    Is anyone else here in a similar position?
    I am always happy to hear advice – is there a better way to handle this? Or lessons that I missed?

    In Gassho,
    Seiko
    stlah
    Last edited by Seiko; 06-07-2021 at 01:30 PM.
    清 Sei (Pure)
    光 Ko (Light)

    Al Garrod, Lincoln, UK.

    Chanting & Zazen Circle.
    All welcome.
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...g-Zazen-Circle

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiko View Post

    Is anyone else here in a similar position?
    Yes. I am alive just like you.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Yes. I am alive just like you.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Hello Jishin. Thank you for replying. I am glad that we are both alive.
    Bows.
    Seiko
    清 Sei (Pure)
    光 Ko (Light)

    Al Garrod, Lincoln, UK.

    Chanting & Zazen Circle.
    All welcome.
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...g-Zazen-Circle

  4. #4

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiko View Post
    I apologise that this post is so long.

    Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything. I thought I’d share my experiences of this year, in case anyone else has had similar things themselves. I have had quite a bit of pain (suffering) so far this year. I expect my situation may strike a chord with others here.

    Despite having long-term medical issues that give me chronic pain and compromise my immune response, I have been managing pretty well. Pride comes before a fall. Just as we are getting comfortable, the universe seems to find us a greater challenge.

    I remember saying to people here that I wouldn’t be joining the group that discusses practicing whilst sick, because I was managing OK! Ha!

    Dec 24, 2020 – I fell down stairs and ruptured a muscle in my lower back. It was interesting. A new pain to notice, but not to focus on too much. In eight weeks it had healed, and taking care of my precious human body, I strengthened my back with exercise, yoga, weights... So far so good.

    Mar 11, 2021 – I fell down stairs again. This time breaking ribs and requiring morphine for pain that just wouldn’t allow me to think. The morphine made me very itchy and terribly constipated (sorry to be so graphic). As is so often the case with modern Western medicine, the side effects can make you feel worse rather than better. Well, zazen came along but you wouldn’t recognise it from my body positions. A kind of itchy, fidgety zazen. But that was the best I could muster for 12 weeks.

    Mar 12 – The long awaited brain scan (CT scan). It turned out OK.

    May 20 – My sister’s funeral. None of us walk this earth for long.

    May 22 – Having to set aside the lingering rib pain and my grief, to embark on my second eye surgery. Even after two weeks my vision is disturbed by a snowstorm of floaters. I can’t see much, the world is bleary. On the bright side, I can sit in a more conventional zazen position.

    So I feel like I have been unwell most of this year. It does underline the fragility of human existence and motivates me to go to my zafu more often. Training as if my head is on fire, whilst hoping that it doesn’t actually catch fire. I feel more like a contributing cog in the world than an individual - in a good way. I have become more decisive. Not yet ready to join live zoom because I can’t see what is going on, but I’m still here, even though it may look/feel like I am rather a hermit.

    Pain is an interesting sensation. Doctors are quick to offer pain meds, but I don’t think it is realistic to think I can live a pain-free life.

    Is anyone else here in a similar position?
    I am always happy to hear advice – is there a better way to handle this? Or lessons that I missed?

    In Gassho,
    Seiko
    stlah
    All I can say is that I feel greatly inspired by the way you handle it. I have a long history with pain as well. I was beaten up as a kid which brought physical pain as well as emotional instability for a long time. Now, when I look back, things are just the way they are and I have made peace with the past.

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Lah,
    Guish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Guish View Post
    All I can say is that I feel greatly inspired by the way you handle it. I have a long history with pain as well. I was beaten up as a kid which brought physical pain as well as emotional instability for a long time. Now, when I look back, things are just the way they are and I have made peace with the past.

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Lah,
    Guish.
    Ah Guish, I felt a great sense of relief when I made the decision to stop trying lots of different pain meds (for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia). Deciding to just go with the flow and live with the pain actually provided a new sense of freedom.

    Of course, some medical conditions are so severe that pain meds are very necessary - and each of us must decide the best course to take in our individual circumstances.

    In Gassho
    Seiko
    stlah
    清 Sei (Pure)
    光 Ko (Light)

    Al Garrod, Lincoln, UK.

    Chanting & Zazen Circle.
    All welcome.
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...g-Zazen-Circle

  7. #7
    When "sitting" while flat on one's back, rolling in the bed, itchy, fidgety, half-blind constipated zazen ... just roll around screaming itchy, fidgety, half-blind constipated zazen. It is perfect zazen. Zazen is not only about sitting upright, feeling balanced and peaceful with perfect digestion!

    As to the floaters, Dogen celebrated this ... I am sure that you know this piece by Dogen. Flowers in the Sky, which is actually about floaters and cataracts. Usually, those are taken in Buddhism as symbols of ignorance, but not in Dogen's clear eyed way of seeing ...

    [W]hen the common dullard hears of the Thus Come One's words "clouded eyes see flowers in space" they imagine that these are the "clouded eyes" of usual people. They understand that diseased eyes can perceive nonexistent flowers in empty air. Through becoming attached to this perspective, they think it means that the three worlds, the six realms, Buddha-nature, and Buddhas have no existence but are seen as existent by the deluded. They think that by eliminating the delusions of clouded eyes we will not see flowers in space because space is originally without flowers. I am sorry, but these people do not know the time of, the beginning and ending of, the "flowers of space" that the Thus Come speaks of. What Buddhas speak of when they say "clouded eyes" or "flowers in space" is a truth that cannot be understood by usual people or those that are not within the Way.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...aracts+flowers
    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8

    Pain as a motivator

    Gassho, Seiko. The last couple of months have been challenging for me as well. In addition to moving once again east to west, in the midst of which I went through a couple unpleasant dental “experiences”, my recurring back pain recurred and has required constant attention. My zazen has taken some interesting forms as well, but it’s still zazen. It reads to me that yours has been as well. You sit with me and I sit with you, however we sit.

    Apologies for going longer than three sentences.

    sat today
    東西 - Tōsei - East West
    there is only what is, and it is all miraculous

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    When "sitting" while flat on one's back, rolling in the bed, itchy, fidgety, half-blind constipated zazen ... just roll around screaming itchy, fidgety, half-blind constipated zazen. It is perfect zazen. Zazen is not only about sitting upright, feeling balanced and peaceful with perfect digestion!

    As to the floaters, Dogen celebrated this ... I am sure that you know this piece by Dogen. Flowers in the Sky, which is actually about floaters and cataracts. Usually, those are taken in Buddhism as symbols of ignorance, but not in Dogen's clear eyed way of seeing ...



    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Jundo,
    Thank you.
    Bows.
    Seiko
    清 Sei (Pure)
    光 Ko (Light)

    Al Garrod, Lincoln, UK.

    Chanting & Zazen Circle.
    All welcome.
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...g-Zazen-Circle

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=Tosei;286016]Gassho, Seiko. The last couple of months have been challenging for me as well. In addition to moving once again east to west, in the midst of which I went through a couple unpleasant dental “experiences”, my recurring back pain recurred and has required constant attention. My zazen has taken some interesting forms as well, but it’s still zazen. It reads to me that yours has been as well. You sit with me and I sit with you, however we sit.

    Apologies for going longer than three sentences.

    sat today[/QUOTE

    Hello Tōsei.
    It is good to know that I am not the only one doing zazen through these troubles.
    Yes.
    We sit together.
    Thank you.

    In Gassho
    Seiko
    清 Sei (Pure)
    光 Ko (Light)

    Al Garrod, Lincoln, UK.

    Chanting & Zazen Circle.
    All welcome.
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...g-Zazen-Circle

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiko View Post
    Ah Guish, I felt a great sense of relief when I made the decision to stop trying lots of different pain meds (for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia). Deciding to just go with the flow and live with the pain actually provided a new sense of freedom.

    Of course, some medical conditions are so severe that pain meds are very necessary - and each of us must decide the best course to take in our individual circumstances.

    In Gassho
    Seiko
    stlah
    Seiko,

    I feel that you've found the middle path even while dealing with the medication. Over reliance on meds doesn't always help. Much Metta to you, brother.

    Sat today,
    Lah,
    Guish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk

  12. #12

    Pain as a motivator

    Several ( Jundo please let me go on a bit) years ago I was on 57. Mg Oxycodone and 10 mg Valium every day. My insurance company forced my pain dr to lower Valium. I decided on my own to switch to my primary who is Licensed in pain medication he brought me to 20 mg a day and gave max non narcotics. Last year I entered a hospital where they watched me as I left Oxycodone and already there was no Valium. And I do still have a Fentanyl patch but by next year that will be at the lowest I can manage and I will continue my nonnarcotic meds and the strongest biological available for an advanced case of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Jundo lets me sit in a padded old Office chair to sit and I do Shikantaza with all of you.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi
    calm poetry


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 06-08-2021 at 09:52 PM.
    A monk asked Yun-men, "What are the teachings of a lifetime?" Yum-men said to him, "An appropriate statement." Zen Mondo

  13. #13

    Pain as a motivator

    Always always always consult with A Good Dr.!a Always
    Gassho
    sat / lah
    Tai Shi



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 06-08-2021 at 09:56 PM.
    A monk asked Yun-men, "What are the teachings of a lifetime?" Yum-men said to him, "An appropriate statement." Zen Mondo

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    Several ( Jundo please let me go on a bit) years ago I was on 57. Mg Oxycodone and 10 mg Valium every day. My insurance company forced my pain dr to lower Valium. I decided on my own to switch to my primary who is Licensed in pain medication he brought me to 20 mg a day and gave max non narcotics. Last year I entered a hospital where they watched me as I left Oxycodone and already there was no Valium. And I do still have a Fentanyl patch but by next year that will be at the lowest I can manage and I will continue my nonnarcotic meds and the strongest biological available for an advanced case of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Jundo lets me sit in a padded old Office chair to sit and I do Shikantaza with all of you.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi
    calm poetry


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Hello Tai Shi,

    I am speaking to you from a far off land in the East (England).

    Thank you for replying.
    And thank for your practice.
    I am glad we sit together.

    In Gassho
    Seiko
    stlah
    清 Sei (Pure)
    光 Ko (Light)

    Al Garrod, Lincoln, UK.

    Chanting & Zazen Circle.
    All welcome.
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...g-Zazen-Circle

  15. #15
    Hello Seiko, sending much metta your way, having all of this physical pain and losing a sister sounds rough. In my case, what helps is to really listen to my body. To respect what it needs. Sometimes I can deal with the pain and I am able to do "normal life", at other times when my body is really hurting and my emotions are all over the place, I am especially careful with myself, as if I were attending a baby that is crying, suffering. I have found that holding myself lightly, with loving-kindness and tenderness tends to mitigate some of the pain. And also speaking with others to know that I am not alone, to feel supported on this journey tends to help

    Sorry for going over 3 sentences,

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH

  16. #16
    Thank you for sharing your experiences with pain, Seiko. This is something that I'm working with now in my life, too, but perhaps not to the same extent as others.

    A couple weeks ago I injured one (or more) of my intercostal muscles (the muscles between your ribs) and was in the most intense pain of my life for two weeks. Sleeping for the first week was nearly impossible. I went to a massage therapist to try to get some relief and the massage session was even more painful, but it did bring relief a few hours later. This experience gave me an appreciation for those who live with chronic pain. After just one week, I found I was physically and emotionally exhausted and yet there was still the rest of life to attend to.

    I also took up walking again now that the weather is nice. Until this weekend I didn't have proper walking shoes, so my calves and shins and feet were in intense pain each day that I went walking. What kept ringing in my mind were the words of Ram Dass who once said, "I love my pain" and I tried to embrace the pain as a friend and in doing so, I found the resistance I had to the pain disappeared and there was a kind of appreciation in its place. Pain reminds me that I am still alive, I'm still here.

    When pain appears, there's no running away from it; there's nowhere to go. So I may as well learn to sit with it, learn to love it, learn to listen to it as best I can.

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    橋川
    kyō (bridge) | sen (river)

  17. #17

    Pain as a motivator

    Sitting with pain is not the worst feeling I have ever had. I have adjusted to some degree.
    I wish you well in all your troubles. May you find happiness .
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    A monk asked Yun-men, "What are the teachings of a lifetime?" Yum-men said to him, "An appropriate statement." Zen Mondo

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