One week in, and today I have let go of meditation. Anyone who knows me knows what a huge statement that is. I don’t just skip that part of the day though — I still sit down as if I were to meditate. But rather than traditional shamatha-vipashyana, instead I’m reallocating the time for dedicated visualisation. The pain is bound to interrupt a meditation practice of any decent length anyway. I mustn’t let meditation distract me from the technique. I must be more relentless than the pain.
Focused visualisation for a good thirty minutes helps prime the pump. I’ve been unable to sit quietly today at times, despite feeling a pain spike, but I’ve found that I can bring to mind the visualisations even when e.g. in a conversation. It’s a good sign if I can do both at once. To me it seems as if the practice is maybe — just maybe — starting to get a subconscious foothold. Why? Well, I don’t think I can discount the simple fact I’ve been doing it for a week now. But I also attribute it to the focused practice that I began the day with.
The pain relief is also noticeable today, which is welcome, and even better is a sense (whether a sign of neuroplastic change or other side effect) that the relief is lasting longer. Today, whenever I run through the full practice, I get a good few minutes pain-free.
Having said that, I’m still very unsure if I’m doing enough to make permanent change in my neural anatomy. For this reason, I dug deep into my wellbeing fund and ordered a copy of Moskowitz’s Neuroplastic Transformation Workbook (see http://zigzagyogi.com/2016/07/visualization-for-chronic-pain/ for some links to that book and other resources I am using).
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Frank Herbert, Dune