Meditation, an antidote to pain

Who hasn’t dreamed of a pain-free existence? Alas, that is impossible. In particular for a number of people with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Luckily, meditation can relieve their suffering.

“Be wise oh my pain, and keep quiet” This verse by Baudelaire, taken from the collection Les Fleurs du mal (1877) perfectly describes what those who cannot escape their pain can feel.
A priori, experiencing pain is a rather good sign. This acts as an alarm signal that is triggered when the integrity of the body is threatened. For example following a physical trauma such as a burn, a cut or an infection. Normally, this so-called acute pain disappears as soon as the damage is repaired.
This is not the case when it comes to persistent inflammatory lesions such as arthritis, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, or conditions such as cancer. For this type of chronic pain, analgesics are ineffective. This plunges those who suffer from it into great distress.
The secret of meditation is that it doesn’t make pain go away either: it helps us live with it.

Living in harmony with pain

When we are in pain, we tend to focus on our pain. It is omnipresent in the mind, we keep thinking about it even when it vanishes for a while. Result: we anticipate it and the feeling we have is increased tenfold. In these conditions, the pain becomes unbearable, exacerbated by negative emotions and attitude.
However, thanks to meditation, it is possible to regulate your emotions. Intuitively, we would like to ignore or chase away our pain. Impossible, since it is part of oneself and of one’s body. So instead of doing violence to yourself by wanting to evacuate your pain, meditation suggests on the other hand to tame it by evacuating the anxiety and the fear that it can generate. In this way, one reconciles with one’s body and restores harmony within oneself. Now less frightening, the pain immediately becomes less intense. Now familiar, it is also more manageable. In short, it is a question of no longer undergoing it but of regaining control. Pain is no longer an enemy but a companion on the road. Perhaps this is what Baudelaire meant when he himself wrote: “My Pain, give me your hand; come over here”… In his book Playdoyer pour le bonheur (Ed. Pocket, 2004), the French Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard suggests taming pain and not fighting it in order to eradicate it, give it a color or a scent, learn to live with, in a less binary and more oriental approach.

In practice: Ayurvedic meditation exercise

To manage to tame your pain, several psychocorporal approaches to meditation are possible: prayer, an artistic activity or an immersive walk in the middle of nature… The one that we prioritize nevertheless is that of yoga and, more generally, of Ayurveda. Meditation according to this age-old wisdom is part of a routine. It is necessary, as demonstrated by numerous scientific studies, to devote at least 5 to 10 minutes to it a day because this constancy increases the benefit. The ideal would even be to anchor meditation in your daily life, at every moment. How ? By revisiting the slightest gesture, even the most banal, in a new form of consciousness, effortlessly and with pleasure. It is about learning to better inhabit and live the present.
Here is an exercise to get you started. Enjoy some quiet time, in a pleasant place, and make yourself comfortable – sitting, standing or lying down, it doesn’t matter as long as you are comfortable. Close your eyes and focus on your feelings. Visualize three bands of colors superimposed. For example, purple for the top one which symbolizes the vitality, the well-being to which you aspire; the lower one, gray, represents your pain at its maximum; the middle one, orange, is an intermediate zone where the perception of this pain is less but where the anxiety and distress it arouses are still there. Now ask yourself, “What zone am I in right now?” »: welcome your feelings without judgement, the answer will seem obvious to you. If you are not in the purple mood, focus on your breath and, with each exhalation, imagine yourself moving towards this color in stages. Feel the appeasement that gradually invades you. The effects are likely not to show immediately, but with practice you will see the change.

And moringa in all this?

This approach to pain can be extended to pain in general, and to illness in particular. Medicines fight diseases when they appear. On the other hand, Ayurvedic medicine is preventive: it identifies upstream the imbalances at the origin of the diseases and makes it possible to correct them. As well as meditation, food is essential in this work of maintaining health. It is in this perspective that ME® offers the most complete plant in Ayurvedic medicine, as a powerful support for this maintenance dynamic.
Moringa olifeira, the miracle tree as it is nicknamed, is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. In Ayurveda it is documented as an effective agent against digestive pain (ulcers, stomach cramps, diarrhea) and joint pain (osteoarthritis, osteoporosis).
Virtues confirmed by modern science. There is evidence that moringa is a natural inhibitor of nitric oxide, a neurochemical pain mediator that is often involved in neuropathy (nerve damage) and idiopathic pain (pain with no apparent real cause).
A study conducted in 2011 on moringa seeds also made it possible to identify, isolate and biochemically characterize a protein close to chitin with antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects.
Meditation and moringa can therefore work together to relieve chronic pain.

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