Posts Tagged ‘MEDITATION’

Navigating pain and suffering, does it Fluctuate



Whether we experience chronic pain or strong emotions, their intensity and duration fluctuate.

How long does a strong emotion last, ten minutes, an hour, a day, or longer?

How about chronic pain, it can last a lifetime, but it fluctuates, intensity spikes, then recede with stimulus.

I have found the biggest influences are attitude and thoughts. Being sedentary, acting like a victim, increases suffering.

For me, being part of a 15 person chronic pain group highlighted this importance.

For instance, if I fear my pain, it gains power.

Pain lasts longer and becomes more intense, more problematic.

My thoughts are the big influencer, for good or more suffering.

Let’s take my chronic pain: I do not fear my pain, I know it fluctuates and does no damage until it reaches an intolerable pain level.

This lets me ignore my pain 95% of the time.

The less I entertain thoughts about my chronic pain or PTSD, the more enjoyable my life becomes.

How about you, ever think of how your thoughts increase suffering?

Ptsd pain reacts the same way.

Our tightly held thoughts and emotions have a great impact on suffering or lack of suffering.

Updated: THE PAIN PARADOX from “Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness”.


There is one more idea in Buddhism and MBSR that shapes our orientation to mindfulness: the notion that our avoidance of suffering can exacerbate it.



Mindfulness experts John Briere and Catherine Scott referred to this as the pain paradox—the observation that our natural tendency to escape, deny, or withdraw from pain only intensifies and prolongs the distress.

What we resist, the saying goes, persists.

This paradox was key to Kabat-Zinn’s introduction of MBSR to the medical community. (

When he originally approached doctors with the idea of having patients meditate, Kabat-Zinn was advocating for a fundamentally different approach to suffering—one that lay at the heart of the Buddhist tradition he’d trained in.

“From the perspective of mindfulness,” he wrote, “
nothing needs fixing.

Nothing needs to be forced to stop, or change, or go away.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, this idea raised eyebrows.

Western medicine was built largely on helping alleviate people’s pain, offering interventions such as medication or surgery.

Mindfulness ran completely counter to this paradigm. How could paying closer attention to one’s pain alleviate it?

Yet doctors were also open to the idea.
Each of them had patients they couldn’t cure and who were resistant to conventional treatment approaches. Doctors and their patients had little to lose.

The first MBSR studies thus began with those who were suffering from chronic pain.

Kabat-Zinn wanted to see whether they could mobilize their own internal responses to the suffering they were experiencing. “We invited them, paradoxically,” he said, “to put the welcome mat out for whatever sensations they were experiencing, just to see if they could attend to them moment by moment and ‘befriend’ the actuality of their experience, even briefly.”

The results were successful. Patients found that their relationship to pain shifted positively when they practiced mindfulness.

At times, their pain even disappeared. Patients also reported discovering that the vexing sensations that lived inside them were transient and shifting.

Rather than being constant throughout their day, the pain was shifting over time—a huge realization for those who felt perpetually burdened by their bodies.

Mindfulness was helping people relate to their pain differently.

For some, it was even opening a door to a freedom they had forgotten or had previously not known.

Use the creative side of the brain to heal

The cognitive side of the brain wants to handle complex things, accelerate to hyper speed, even multi-task at times.


Ptsd and depression power up using thoughts, thinking, ruminating, and anxiety.

Meditation/Mindfulness slows the mind down, focuses on the breath, allows the body to go at warp speed as the mind empties of thought.

Thought drives the cognitive side, always running, always creating more and more thoughts.

Solving the world’s most complex problem, like Einstein inventing E= mc2 does not necessarily lead to a happy life.

Thoughts and happiness can be estranged concepts.

I am happiest when thought has ceased and simple clarity reigns, the sight of a flower, the special fragrance brings a smile.

Our thoughts and memories are the problems for PTSD sufferers.

Ptsd memories trap us in our past, thoughts are the vehicle of remembrance, triggers are the physiological consequence.

I am happiest while existing in this present moment, free of thought, worry, doubt and fear.

Thinking can change this instantly.

It’s a razor’s edge when our Ptsd is active.

Thinking is a small part of our mind’s capability.

The creative right hemisphere is expansive, thought is feeble compared to this almost infinite space.

The cognitive side of the brain is a beach ball, the right creative hemisphere is the pacific ocean.

Remember trauma is stored in the amygdala on the right side of the brain.

We can not access the right hemisphere consciously, herein lies the rub.


Our PTSD fear is invisible to others


Others see our fear (triggers) like this, they see no danger while our fight or flight mechanism explodes.

Ptsd fear: When a past event elicits fear, a deep, deep fear, a special memory is stored in a special place, beyond our cognitive reach.

We will have to learn skills enabling us to stay focused, calm and aware when the fight or flight erupts to access these memories

When fully activated by a current visual, a certain smell, maybe a confined space, or the backfiring of a car can fire our adrenal stress response, better known as the fight or flight mechanism.

It’s that sudden, paralyzing jolt in the solar plexus, we humans experience this as fear.

The fight or flight mechanism: Physiological Effects; Tunnel vision, hearing loss, fine motor skills disappear, time is distorted along with blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse spike, finally the stimulants cortisol and adrenaline are secreted.

Thinking can be many things from, unable to think at all, confusion and numbness, frozen unable to move or think, the proverbial deer in the headlights scenario.

I won this battle with Ptsd, the calming of my fight or flight mechanism. The emotional and cognitive healing still eludes me.

With daily practice and application, slowly I started becoming more familiar less afraid of the mechanism.

Over time I could sit in the middle of my triggers exploding.

This is only half the war, integrating the cognitive and emotional part are much easier with the fight or flight acting normal.

Use your strengths, adapt things to maximize healing.

Daily Practice has no Substitute


“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks 1 time, but I fear the man who has practiced 1 kick 10,000 times.”

My two cents: Healing follows Bruce Lee’s mantra, we take a simple skill, breathing..

Repetition strengthens focus and skill levels, so practicing the breath 10,000 times makes it bulletproof.

When triggers fire, the best defense is a skill that has no connection to thought, no weakness under high anxiety.

The breath has this potential.

Whether 10,000 or 100,000 focused breaths, practice is all that separates us from mastery.

What holds you back?


The Pauses are the doors


Meditation in words: A slow focused inhale, followed by a pause under pressure, next the slow exhale releases the pressure, ending with a calm pause.



Repeat 1,000 times. Now let’s dive into the minutia of the breath.

The pauses are similar to suspended animation, nothing is moving, silence is the deepest.

The first pause mixes with the energy we use to suspend the breath, holding back the pressure in the lungs.

The second pause happens with us at complete rest.

You can hear the inhales and exhales, however soft. Practice.

The lungs fill, expand, then empty, this all has movement and sound, the pauses are silent, nothing is moving.

Perfect time to feel the tiniest body sensations, time to observe gently and release.

Each breath brings two pauses, two chances to deepen our focus.

I love this focus on the breath and body when trauma stops responding to my efforts to heal.

When I sit (meditate), I am focused on the next 30 minutes, PTSD drops away.

I can own 30-minute intervals, that’s power in my battle.

We need power over PTSD, even if it is temporary.

Awareness, then adapt,

When my childhood trauma exploded a decade ago, I was already disabled physically from a highway triple rollover.



The one thing I had an abundance of was free time.

Trying to heal replaced my career, every day I would invest in reading, meditating, exercising, and applying the learned skills (A minimum of eight hours a day).

My daughter tells me it was way too much, I have identified with my trauma. It is hard for me to deny her allegations.

The books I read have all been about trauma, neuroscience, war, and the spiritual side.

Not a one for pleasure.

I lead a mindfulness group and write this blog.

My life revolves around my Complex Ptsd and depression.

My decade of effort has not separated me from my suffering but connected me to it more.

Now, what direction is the correct pivot?

I am back to my meditation practice, focusing on my breath, calming my being, and opening my heart.

Going back to basics

Over the last couple of months, the online Kundalini group has been processing grief.



Handling grief every day has riled my PTSD, I know this reaction means grief needs more work.

I have taken a break, reverting back to my well-established meditation practice.

No talking, chants, or hand positions, just me, eyes closed, totally focused on the breath, sounds, and opening my heart.

Simple, me alone with my mind, like old times.

The quiet has calmed my intrusive thoughts momentarily, I fully resist thinking anything is permanent.

As they say, back to basics when things fall apart.

If you follow this blog, PTSD and depression are kind of a rollercoaster ride.

One where we can have long, calm, slow, straightaways, flanked by the high crests and terrifying fast descents always lurking in the distance.

Go farther down the wormhole and there are giant loops of intolerable confusion and anxiety.



I have a momentary pause, a peaceful calm that only visits for short periods, lately.

As always, when the pain and suffering seem unbearable, that is when we never give in, never give up.

Some days my job is to endure ptsd and depression until it lifts a little.

We will always have issues, hopefully, we will take action appropriately.

Do we ever break free of childhood abuse and habits?

I find the isolation and lack of autonomy the most damaging scars from my childhood.



My father was a puppetmaster, he told me who I would be, what I would believe in, and who I could be or could not be friends with.

He controlled the depth of all friendships, and others he did not like.

All the stats say community, having support is excellent for healing.

I have no history of community except for team sports and I guess work.

My dad isolated me for greater control, whether it damaged me or not, a narcissist does not give a shit.

I could not function inside my house, how would I survive the outside world.

My dad assumed part of my being, autonomy was too risky for him.

No way he would even let a thought of going against his will survive.

His hair-trigger volatility and penchant for violence against me were always loaded.

To this day I struggle to know who I am or repair my damaged ego.

Abused kids are rarely trusting or open to others, many warm feelings are unknown to us.

What a dilemma!

As an old retired guy, reaching out has become much harder, my trauma erupting has brought suffering and fear.

I favor Ptsd over Depression

PTSD has energy, cortisol and adrenaline, fear and danger, it’s much more exciting and enjoyable than deep depression.

Depression sucks the life out of you, for abused kids it is devastating.

My legs have stopped moving while hiking from depressive thoughts and emotions.

PTSD, I can engage and battle, calm my fight or flight mechanism while observing my trauma.

Depression, I have no answer for the shame it carries.

It is an awful mental disorder, it drained the little peace of mind my life enjoyed.

Seriously abused kids get crushed by betrayal.

We fear the outside world, when we get betrayed from inside our circle, life collapses.

We will never understand how a mate betrays us, a permanent scar will make trusting another impossible.

It’s such a narrow and risky existence, death does not scare me, being ridiculed or betrayed scares me.

Death before dishonor rings true in my world, my father drilled that into me.

I have experienced a betrayal that bad, publicly shamed for a mate’s actions.

What is your worst betrayal since childhood?

Is depression or PTSD harder for you?

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