I do not like suffering. I do not want to suffer. If a symptom keeps coming back or seems to be getting worse, it is easy to start feeling anxious about it. Sometimes not knowing what to do about a physical symptom can cause anxiety and stress. It is best to seek medical help if you are worried about a physical symptom. Sometimes we may not want to go see a doctor about every symptom. Sometimes we can get all kinds of medical tests done, and there seems to be nothing wrong ie there is no underlying medical condition that can be treated but our suffering persists.

I have to confess that my natural tendency is to ignore the discomfort in my body if I can get away with it. Like most other people I want to be able to carry on with life as usual and continue to do all that I have to do.

What I have learnt is that our body has a lot of innate wisdom. Through physical suffering, it is trying to communicate with us. It is helping us to learn something about ourselves and change something in our life. I have realised that if I do not pay attention to what my body is trying to tell me, it can start shouting at me. Yes the body can shout through severe illness, through a chronic condition, or through some physical symptom that may not allow us to function.

I have also realised that it is not easy to figure out what the body is trying to tell me. I find the mindfulness breathing meditation technique that Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Master, teaches, very helpful to improve communication with my body.

The technique is very simple. On an in breath, I talk to my body and say ‘Breathing in, I am aware of your suffering’. On the out breath, I say ‘Breathing out, I send you love’.

What I really like about this meditation technique is its simplicity. I can do it anytime, anywhere. I do not have to make space for it by putting aside time or work etc. I do not have to remember to do it, my pain or suffering acts as the reminder. Each time my awareness goes to my suffering, I do it for as long as I can stay focussed. Usually it is only for a couple of breaths. When I first started with this meditation I used to feel bad about not being able to stay focussed for longer than a few breaths. Then I realised that if my attention is wandering, it is because I am no longer focussed on the suffering.  So it seems like a win-win technique to me. If I can stay focussed on my breath I meditate. If I am not able to stay focussed on my breath it means that the intensity of my suffering has reduced and I can carry on with life.

This meditation technique helps me to acknowledge what is happening in my body. By repeatedly talking to my body and paying attention to it, helps deepen the intuitive connection with it. With time, I find myself making better choices to enhance my wellbeing.

Focussing on the breath also helps me to stay in the present moment and not be carried away by my thoughts to regrets about the past or worries about the future. Apparently sending love to our body helps it to calm down; just like holding a crying baby with love can help to calm the baby. I find that practising this meditation technique often helps alleviate the intensity of the physical symptom.

This technique works really well with emotions also. Especially the seemingly negative emotions that I just did not know how to be with like fear, guilt, shame, anger or jealousy. Before I learnt this technique, I feel that a lot of emotions were getting suppressed because I did not know how to be with them. For example, I know that it is not good to get angry so I would try and be good, and not allow myself to feel or show anger. Gradually I realised that actually what was happening was that I was becoming increasingly disconnected with my emotions and they were getting suppressed in my body. Anger would then either surface at the most inopportune moments or cause physical suffering. Using this technique helps me to acknowledge and accept the emotion. Acceptance allows it to flow through me rather than getting suppressed and blocked. Sending it love helps the emotion to calm down rather than overwhelm me with its intensity. Through repetition I develop a deeper connection with the emotion and with time I am able to receive the gift, the learning that may be hiding underneath.

This technique also helps deepen my relationship with the first two Reiki Principles – Just for today, do not worry. Just for today, do not anger.

I have found this technique to be very helpful for myself and people in my life. When I found myself sharing it repeatedly with several people I thought it would be better to write about it and refer people here. If you are suffering, please do try it. It does not cost anything. You have got nothing to lose by trying it out except your suffering.

If you find this technique helpful please do leave a comment to share your experience. Your sharing may resonate with and inspire someone else. If you find this post helpful please do feel free to share it with people you love and care about.