Local Awareness Is the Key to Pain Relief

Experiencing Attention

The key to being able to do this effortless mindfulness pain relief method is to distinguish local awareness from attention. Let’s review the difference with these experiential glimpses so that we get a feel of local awareness. Look at one of your hands. Now move that hand out of your vision and bring your attention to that hand. Try to continue applying your attention there for a short while.

What was your experience of attention like? when you use attention to focus, you may feel that your head (where your brain and eyes are located) is your central place of perception. When you bring your attention to your hand, does it feel like you are in your head, looking down at your hand? Or does it seem as if “you” are shining a flashlight from your head to your hand? Or do you feel connected, as if a telephone cable is running from your head to your hand and sending signals back and forth? Do you feel how attention can wander? Are you able to feel that maintaining attention is a continuous process of remembering and forgetting?

Knowing the Local Environment

Now that we’ve experienced attention, let’s see how local awareness differs. In order to experience local awareness, you need to unhook local awareness from thought and know your hand directly from within. Try this for yourself now Unhook local awareness from thought and let local awareness begin to move down through your neck and know your shoulder from within. Slowly move local awareness like a knowing, invisible bubble down your arm into your elbow. Feel the awareness of space and sensation directly from within.

Continue to let local awareness move down your forearm until it feels your hand from within. Experience this new type of knowledge that is happening directly, from within your hand. Notice that when awareness knows your hand from within, it does not refer to a mental image of your hand.

It feels the space and aliveness of the sensations, so there is not a clear boundary between inside and out. Notice the way in which local awareness knows your body directly from within. Once local awareness has been unhooked, thought is no longer the primary mode of knowing, yet thought is available as needed.

If you do not reference memory or image of your hand, your experience of your hand shifts into direct knowing. Direct knowing is spacious, alive, and much more fluid in feeling than attention. You’ve just experienced how local awareness moves from thinking in your head to being able to directly know from within your hand.

Now you can begin to get a sense of the feeling of local awareness by unhooking and moving to any area where you are experiencing a pain signal. The important thing here is feeling how local awareness moves and knows directly from within.

Effortless Mindfulness Pain-Relief Method

Here is a mindful glimpse to work with physical pain. Many people have found, with this approach, that their experience of pain and discomfort can change so that suffering is dramatically reduced. Before you begin, make sure that a medical professional has evaluated your condition. As you practice, don’t try to make a heroic effort. the key is simply this instead of trying to move away from the pain or finding that you’ve automatically done so, learn to shift your local awareness to discover the awake awareness that’s already within and within the pain. A good metaphor is that the pain is continuously calling the operator in your brain.

You can make it so that the operator can actually go down to meet the caller and see what is going on. Since the pain has been directly met, it no longer needs to try to get the operator’s attention, and the phone can stop ringing. Through practicing this exercise, see what you can discover and what might change in your relationship with your pain.

Begin by becoming aware of your body, and then notice the area where you feel pain. Notice the qualities of the specific area and its borders—where the pain begins and ends. Notice the area just outside the borders of the pain. Now, notice the space between this area of pain and the location in your head where you’re focusing from.

Notice the feeling of the pain signal sent from the painful area to your head. Bring your awareness to your head, and instead of looking at the pain from above, as a mindful observer, unhook local awareness from your thinking. Feel local awareness begin to travel internally down to feel your jaw directly from within your jaw.

How to Improve Your Relationship with Your Self Through Body Awareness

Feel local awareness move to be aware of your throat, knowing your throat directly from within. Now feel local awareness, like a bubble of intelligence, as it continues to move within your body toward the area of your pain. As you do this, feel that you are knowing directly from the local awake awareness that is sensing from within your body.

As local awareness moves into the area of pain, allow local awareness to feel gently within the area of pain without referring to thought. Local awake awareness can sense the aliveness, space, and awareness within the atoms of the place of pain signals. Local awareness has traveled to the source of the signal, so there is no distance between the origin of the pain signal and the place where the call is received.

Local awareness enters the pain and the space

It gets subtler and subtler. Local awareness joins with the area that’s sending the pain signal, and it assesses: Is there really a threat here now? Local awareness sees that pain is made of awareness and knows directly that there is no dangerous threat that needs to be constantly monitored.

No action, response, or ongoing pain signal is needed to be sent to the brain, as the situation is now clearly seen by the intelligence of awake awareness. Local awareness reaches the pain, meets it, and becomes intimate with it, recognizing that it is not other. Let the pain sensations be rerouted to the spacious awake awareness all around your body. Continually responding to the pain signal is no longer necessary.

Local awareness has already responded and is currently within the area of pain. The pain signal can now go into the background, to the field of the intelligence of awake awareness, rather than the small self or small mind. There is a connection to the source of intelligence, a larger field of openhearted awareness that is embodied and compassionately comforting.

In the first part of this book, we’ve learned how effortless mindfulness is different and complementary to deliberate mindfulness. In part 2, we will go through how to practice effortless mindfulness, step by step, in a variety of new ways, so that you can find your favorite way of accessing this in your daily life to reduce suffering and discover your optimal mind and your natural joy of being.

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