I think that sounds a bit weird, doesn’t it? And it certainly led to a good discussion on Monday evening, much more than any discussion about pleasurable sensations, which I thought was interesting. Perhaps we’re more keen to hold on to pleasure than we are keen to get rid of pain. What do you think? Post a comment below.
Remember the definition of the meditation we are learning is: ‘the state of non-distraction’, and that we aim to take meditation into our daily lives in a very useful way. But we often have an idea that meditation is relaxation, de-stressing, feeling calm – and it can be all of these things – but it’s also a lot more than that. We’re learning about our mind, and how it works, so that it becomes more flexible and so that we can begin to use it, rather than it using us.
The subject of the current meditation course is using different objects for meditation, and after sight and sound, we’ve moved on to physical sensation. As we sit in meditation posture, usually when we find a slight discomfort, if we try to ignore and avoid it, it often makes it worse, whereas if we just look at the discomfort directly it becomes more acceptable. We’re not being masochistic or suggesting that we ignore painful injuries, not at all, it’s taken as fundamental that we all want to avoid suffering. But we can use sensations, both pleasurable and unpleasant as a support for shamatha practice, by simply observing them and not getting caught up in the stories that we add to the actual sensation. This is what we mean by meditating on pain. Now it doesn’t sound so weird, does it?