Coping With Pain


Since the surgery a few weeks ago, I’ve been managing the pain with prescription pain killer. (Yes, that can be controversial in 12-step rooms, but I’m taking as prescribed, administered by my husband.)

Anyway, when he came in earlier tonight to give me a pill, we got distracted by something else and we both forgot about me getting the meds. I was reminded about an hour later when the stabbing pain in my ankle started.

He gave me the pill, and I tried to relax to wait until it took effect. My son was acting out, swearing, yelling, etc, so I was having a hard time relaxing. I finally asked my husband to shut the door to our bedroom so I could have some peace.

That’s when I remembered to follow my breath, get lost in my breath. I identified with the breath coming in and out, and not the body. By focusing on this simple act, I achieved a relative state of calm.

It reminded me how I use that tool to handle all sorts of pain: mental, emotional, and physical. When I start getting wound up, I have to take a quiet moment, preferably by myself, and just breathe. Follow my breath.

What I have learned is that, when I practice meditation regularly, I more quickly remember to use this technique to ease pain. Now, I’m not saying that by meditating regularly you will never feel pain, because that is not true. But for me, slipping into that meditative state helps me endure the pain.

I remembered when I was at the hospital, in the trauma room. They had to get the bone back inside the skin and set all the pieces in the relative right place. The pain was the worst I had ever felt, a hundred thousand times more painful than giving birth.

When I felt like I could not stand another second, I remembered to breath. To the best of my ability, I forced my attention off the pain and onto my breath. I was still screaming, but at least I felt like I would survive the pain, and I did.

I know that pain is a part of life. I also believe that suffering is optional. Suffering comes from the resistance to pain. By relaxing and allowing the pain to just be, I surrender and allow the pain to pass.

If you’re struggling with any kind of pain today, I pray that you can find that still, small place in you and be granted at least a moment of comfort and relief.


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