Whether you like it or not, being human comes standard with feelings, thoughts, and emotions. And while many of them can be quite pleasant, the truth is that a majority of us tend to focus on the seemingly bad ones. The question is, how can a person navigate through life while not being consumed by the inevitable physical and emotional pain and suffering that comes with being human?
Checkout this recent Elephant Journal post from Toni Bernhard on physical suffering and how using a mindfulness meditation practice can help a person to disengage from the accompanying thoughts that keep a person attached to their discomfort. According to Bernhard, the benefit of this is that by practicing mindfulness a person can calm and steady the mind so as to not add mental suffering to it, thereby making things worse.
How can mindfulness help ease physical suffering?
With practice, mindfulness calms and steadies the mind. This is beneficial because when we’re experiencing physical discomfort, our minds often churn with stressful emotions and thoughts, but they’re a muddy blur—we can’t sort them out. With mindfulness, the “mud” settles so we can see more clearly which allows us to identify what emotions and thoughts are present in our minds at the moment. “Ah, this is anger.” “This is fear.” “This is a worry-filled thought about the future.” With this clearer view, we can make skillful choices about how to respond to these emotions and thoughts—choices that will lessen our overall suffering.
Read more from Bernhard on using mindfulness meditation to deal with physical pain here.