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  Monday, 17 June 2024
  2 Replies
  301 Visits
Greetings Glorian team. Peace and much love. Thank you so much for all your help.

My question today relates to meditation. I experience a pain in my upper back every time I meditate and of course this is distracting. I adjust my posture but it doesn't help much. Sitting in the lotus position is near impossible for me but thanks to your videos on YouTube I learned that this is not necessary. I can sit on a chair which is much more comfortable for me, however, the pain in my upper back is still present. I do ignore it and am able to meditate for up to 30 to minutes per session but I think my meditation could go much deeper if I didn't feel this pain in my back. The pain is not there or I do not perceive it during my day, mostly when I meditate.

One more question regarding meditation if I may. Teachers such as Echart Tolle whome I love teach that the point of meditation is to clear the mind of thoughts and to find the stillness of the present moment but in "authentic meditation" Glorian teaches that the purpose is to attain information that the intellect and the 5 senses cannot. These two ideas seem to contradict each other.

Please advise. Thank you kindly
1 month ago
·
#31275
Accepted Answer
You may need to check two aspects of your meditation practice: disengaging the senses and your posture.

As for the senses, we've had a similar issue. There was a damaged nerve in the upper back. It was fine during the day, but when going into a straight posture for meditation, it caused pain and a lot of uneasiness. Yet, with enough relaxation, focus and patience, the pain dissolved after a certain amount of time meditating. Even other instructors experienced severe back pain, yet when they waited long enough, it went away.

The key here was to consciously learn that the physical body and its sensations can be disengaged and that the physical body is a servant, a vehicle, that we can control. If we feel pain and it does not fade away, this could mean that that we stay identified with our physical body while meditating. It could mean that although we sit in our meditation pose, we keep bothering with the pain. But this just keeps the pain "alive" and in the center of our focus.

Practically, when we begin to meditate, we first need to thoroughly relax the physical body and to allow the body to enter a light slumber state. Become aware of you body, its mood and state and then relax it. During the first few minutes you might need to keep relaxing, because the body still keeps going back to tension in some muscles or areas. Just become aware of the tense parts and relax them, again and again, calmly and patiently. The are around your pain might need a few extra rounds of relaxations.

Even if the body is not perfectly relaxed, at some point the physical body will understand that you signal it to relax and will begin to feel softer or less resistant. This is where, despite the pain, you can begin to focus, i.e. on your breath. Put your awareness on your breath and if you are distracted, lead it back, again and again. So, while some physical tensions or the pain might still distract you, you will now distance yourself from it by staying focused. The goal of this stage is to stabilize your focus, until the time of your awareness is longer than the time where you are distracted. At this stage you could also feel that you become drowsy. This is good, use it to deepen the relaxation, but keep engaged with your awareness on the object of your focus.

If you practice this thoroughly, with the mindset that you are your consciousness and not you body or pain, then you may notice that the pain is suddenly gone. If not, you may examine your posture and find out whether you overstretch some muscles or your back. Remember that you want to have a naturally straight spine and the head resting on it effortlessly. Any other muscle tension is unnecessary.

We do not know the intentions of Herr Tolle. But it is often the case that certain meditation schools or traditions only practice meditation up to a certain point, which is exactly the described relaxation part from above, where you overcome your mind, your body, your pain, etc. The two "ideas" do not contradict, though. The point of clearing the mind and get consciously into the moment (without the distracting mind) is the foundation to then actually meditate and learn new information. The state that Tolle describes is what we need to allow meditation to happen.

But some schools stop there with their instructions. And what might happen is that a student may experience something special in this state, like a vision. But it is something "random" for them, because they do not understand what it is and how to recreate it, etc. Luckily there are other schools, which teach to use willpower and imagination, in order to take advantage of this meditative state and begin to investigate internally. This is where meditation actually starts, when you begin to learn consciously in meditation, not "randomly".

So don't look at the two perspectives as opposing, but rather as step one and step two.
1 month ago
·
#31275
Accepted Answer
You may need to check two aspects of your meditation practice: disengaging the senses and your posture.

As for the senses, we've had a similar issue. There was a damaged nerve in the upper back. It was fine during the day, but when going into a straight posture for meditation, it caused pain and a lot of uneasiness. Yet, with enough relaxation, focus and patience, the pain dissolved after a certain amount of time meditating. Even other instructors experienced severe back pain, yet when they waited long enough, it went away.

The key here was to consciously learn that the physical body and its sensations can be disengaged and that the physical body is a servant, a vehicle, that we can control. If we feel pain and it does not fade away, this could mean that that we stay identified with our physical body while meditating. It could mean that although we sit in our meditation pose, we keep bothering with the pain. But this just keeps the pain "alive" and in the center of our focus.

Practically, when we begin to meditate, we first need to thoroughly relax the physical body and to allow the body to enter a light slumber state. Become aware of you body, its mood and state and then relax it. During the first few minutes you might need to keep relaxing, because the body still keeps going back to tension in some muscles or areas. Just become aware of the tense parts and relax them, again and again, calmly and patiently. The are around your pain might need a few extra rounds of relaxations.

Even if the body is not perfectly relaxed, at some point the physical body will understand that you signal it to relax and will begin to feel softer or less resistant. This is where, despite the pain, you can begin to focus, i.e. on your breath. Put your awareness on your breath and if you are distracted, lead it back, again and again. So, while some physical tensions or the pain might still distract you, you will now distance yourself from it by staying focused. The goal of this stage is to stabilize your focus, until the time of your awareness is longer than the time where you are distracted. At this stage you could also feel that you become drowsy. This is good, use it to deepen the relaxation, but keep engaged with your awareness on the object of your focus.

If you practice this thoroughly, with the mindset that you are your consciousness and not you body or pain, then you may notice that the pain is suddenly gone. If not, you may examine your posture and find out whether you overstretch some muscles or your back. Remember that you want to have a naturally straight spine and the head resting on it effortlessly. Any other muscle tension is unnecessary.

We do not know the intentions of Herr Tolle. But it is often the case that certain meditation schools or traditions only practice meditation up to a certain point, which is exactly the described relaxation part from above, where you overcome your mind, your body, your pain, etc. The two "ideas" do not contradict, though. The point of clearing the mind and get consciously into the moment (without the distracting mind) is the foundation to then actually meditate and learn new information. The state that Tolle describes is what we need to allow meditation to happen.

But some schools stop there with their instructions. And what might happen is that a student may experience something special in this state, like a vision. But it is something "random" for them, because they do not understand what it is and how to recreate it, etc. Luckily there are other schools, which teach to use willpower and imagination, in order to take advantage of this meditative state and begin to investigate internally. This is where meditation actually starts, when you begin to learn consciously in meditation, not "randomly".

So don't look at the two perspectives as opposing, but rather as step one and step two.
1 month ago
·
#31276
Thank you so much Marius. That makes a lot of sense. I carry a lot of tension in my back and shoulders. I am now becoming more and more aware of it throughout my day. I think by just being mindful I will stop this bad habit.
Almustafa selected the reply #31275 as the answer for this post — 1 month ago
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