A Meditator’s Personal Experience:
I realized, after several years of practice, that I was constantly moving my focus around the body, trying to be aware. Sometimes I used to be with the inner silence, and sometimes I used to watch my thoughts. I started with watching the breath, and then eventually I began to watch anything and everything that was happening within me; body sensations, pain and disturbance, temperature changes, emotional changes, and anything else I could observe became my focal point.
At one point during my meditation, I realized that the stress of the spine is very easy to watch, because it’s always there. Your spine is the most stressed part of your body. Even now, your spine is in more stress than any other part of your body. It takes a little bit of awareness to observe this. Your spine is screaming in pain, but you don’t realize it because you’re totally used to being in this constant pain.
Throughout the day, there is a lot of pain and pressure on your spine, but you don’t pay any attention to it. You don’t notice it, because you don’t know what it means to not be in this state of constant physical stress of the spine. When your spine is fully relaxed, you are usually asleep. The only time you are not experiencing any stress on the spine is when you are asleep.
Throughout the day, you have a choice to use and rest your various body parts. You don’t have to use your hands or legs continuously throughout the day – you use them when you need to. But, with the spine, you simply don’t have this choice. As long as you are awake, you are using your spine, and it is in constant stress. The day I realized this, I began to pay full attention to my spine. My spine became a perfect anchor for my meditation.
Now, when I sit in meditation, I directly go to the pain of the spine, and intensely focus on it. There is something magical that happens when you continuously watch pain. When you don’t escape pain and watch it intensely, there comes a moment when the pain simply disappears. You will have some trouble believing this, because you have never tried this method of going beyond pain. Usually, when you are in pain, you try to divert your attention away from it. In meditation, you do the exact opposite.
When you watch the pain intensely, the energy of watching completely transforms the way you experience pain. Although the source of pain is in the body, it is the mind that makes it real. Mind controls everything, including the sensations of physical pain. When you gain control over your mind, you gain control over physical pain as well.