Rheumatoid arthritis can be a painful disease. Some days more so than others. Occasionally, I’ll wake up feeling so much sore that, even after taking a couple of extra ibuprofen, I don’t get relief. I describe those times as feeling like I’d ‟been French-kissed by a Mack truck.” A time when every movement, every touch, or every breath screams pain. Over the years, I’ve learned that the only way to ease the pain is through meditation. I find that relaxing my body and calming my mind reduces the tension of tight, achy muscles which helps me get past it..
When people think of meditation, they often picture someone sitting in the lotus position—legs crossed and arms folded across their chest—repeating an obscure sound or word in a chant-like way. Well, that isn’t how I do it. First, there is no way I can sit in that position. Second, I’d feel foolish repeating something over and over.
The technique is rather simple, but it takes practice for it to work quickly. I lie on the bed on my back (I have done this sitting up, but I want to be as comfortable as possible.) It’s also best if you can be somewhere quiet with no interruptions. After I close my eyes, I focus on the back of my eyelids. I call that area my ‟mind’s movie screen.” At first, all I see is black, but, as I start to bring up feelings of peace and strength, images begin to emerge. I allow myself to drift away from reality and visualize myself in the scenes I imagine. Usually, within ten to fifteen minutes my pain has subsided and I’m refreshed enough to go on with my day.
I know the ibuprofen would eventually relieve my pain, and the meditation probably isn’t necessary. However, I know that meditation allows the medicine to take effect more quickly. I know this because I didn’t try this technique until many years after the onset of my RA.
So, what is my purpose in telling you this technique (besides to write a blog post)? I believe that a person doesn’t have to have a chronic illness to benefit from doing meditation. Everyone has stress to deal with in their life. Meditation can be one way to control it. Of course, there are many ways to meditate; the way I described seems easiest to me. You may like the traditional practice, or maybe you practice several different ways depending on your mood or schedule.
Do you meditate? How do you relieve pain or stress? I love to read your comments, impressions, or feelings about this subject. Please leave them in the form below.