Meditation Or Medication?

Posted in Women's Wisdom | 0 comments

 

 

 

 

Meditation or Medication?

 

How Meditation Can Help Relieve Your Pain

 

 

Do you take painkillers or anti-inflammatories for headaches, PMS, back pain, joint pain?

 

Have you considered there may be a less harmful way, one that might actually relieve the problem rather than just numb it?

 

Meditation did exactly that for me and maybe it can help you too.

 

I have suffered from Osteo Arthritis since I was a teenager. Born with dislocated hips I underwent six operations before the age of ten.

 

By the time I was twenty-one I was unable to walk without limping and was facing inevitable hip replacements in both my hips. However still too young for this joint replacement surgery, I was given a prescription for painkillers and encouraged to wait as long as possible.

 

I never took the painkillers and I didn’t wait for the surgery, instead I begun a journey to discover how I could relieve the pain naturally. I didn’t know how or even if it was possible.

 

This search took me all over the world, with the same hope and desperation of any spiritual seeker, seeking for a possibility of a new life. For me I was looking for a life where I could walk without pain.

 

It was 1994 and during my travels through the East I heard about a ten-day silent meditation retreat on a small southeast island off Thailand called Koh Phangan. Wat Khao Tam opened its doors to foreign students in 1988, when the resident nun at the temple invited an Australian couple – Rosemary and Steve Weisman, to stay and assist with teaching meditation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t need to be a Buddhist, or a vegetarian. I didn’t even need to know how to meditate, do yoga, chant, or pray. All I needed was a willingness to stay silent for ten days and turn up to every meditation session, yoga class and evening discourse. How hard could that be, I thought. I was in.

 

Little did I know that sitting, walking and standing meditation for one hour, nine times a day for ten days in 30 degree heat, on a tropical island surrounded by snakes, scorpians and spiders, sleeping on a grass mat on a concrete floor and only eating 2 meals a day was going to take me into the depths of my very own hell.

 

By day five or six the combination of all these elements, a tight structured discipline, a crazy mind and a ceaselessly pain filled body caused something in me to finally give, a crack opened up and I couldn’t stop myself falling through.

 

On the other side I found myself in a place I somehow knew in my heart of hearts already existed but yet I had never experienced. All my pain disappeared, my thoughts completely ceased and my emotions were non-existent. I thought I was enlightened and I truly thought this was it, no more pain, no more suffering, I am forever free.

 

I stayed in this euphoric place for days, enjoying a quiet mind, walking effortlessly with no pain, practicing compassionate understanding and loving kindness. Life was peaceful and everything flowed as if I was finally truly one, in complete union with all that is.

 

Until, it dawned on me that it was now time to leave the retreat and go back out into the world. And with this one idea, action followed and before long so too did the pain, the thoughts and the emotions.

 

But here is what I learnt all those years ago on that little island off the East coast of Thailand:

I learnt the mind and the body are inextricably linked and they cannot be separated.
What affects the mind affects the body and vice versa.
Stresses in the mind causes stresses in the body
To meditate and ease thoughts in the mind eases pain in the body.
To do yoga and make the body flexible makes the mind flexible.
Compassionate understanding and loving kindness help heal the mind and the body

 

I also learnt we do have choices when it comes to wellness. Meditation is a gentle path that exists along side the traditional mainstream medical highway. The highway that many of us get on and speed along, not realising it is a one-way road directly to the operating theatre, medication and possibly months of rehabilitation.

 

I found a different path to health and wellness on this meditation retreat and I have never looked back. It showed me healing is possible with the right environment and the willingness to change.

 

Meditation is an ancient healing path that has existed for thousands of years in the East. Throughout most of history, meditation was considered a spiritual practice that was the realm of monks, priests, other religious figures and a few intellectuals, and was largely unknown among the general population. Today however, meditation is gaining ground, both as a performance enhancer among athletes and top executives (due to the individual’s development of intense focus and self-discipline), as a stress-reduction technique, and as a medical intervention that accelerates and promotes healing.

 

 

 

 

I have had many more healing adventures since then and have attended eight more silent meditation retreats in different places all over the world.

 

Meditation continues to be a part of my daily life along with other nurturing mind, body, soul practices. Twenty years later and I am still with out painkillers and have had no more surgery. 

 

Links:

12 Scientific Benefits of Meditation

Vipassana 10 Day Silent Meditation Retreat

 


If you are interested in exploring an exciting journey to wellness and learning more about Self Healing – naturally, talk to Carla about her 1:1 Coaching Program or personalised healing retreats to help you understand experientially the causes of your problems and ways to heal them.

 

email Carla at byronwomensretreat@gmail.com

 

 

Byron Womens Retreat Byron Bay

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