Today's speaker on the Mindfulness Summit was a woman called Vidyamala Burch - a kiwi who has been living in the UK for many years, she has had major back problems for much of her life because of accidents I think.. and has for many years been embracing mindfulness and meditation as a way to deal with her chronic pain.
Now she has turned her personal endeavours into a business helping others, has written two books and runs a company called 'Breathworks' and it is growing massive! Courses - online and in person - resources etc etc. She was lovely, grey haired and softly spoken and it really seems fantastic what she is teaching people about how mindfulness and breathing into (not resisting) pain can help alieviate suffering. Brilliant and much needed helpful advice given chronic pain is such a massive issue for our modern world.
She says; Mindfulness is a self-management technique for dealing with pain. It helps us to turn off auto-pilot, develop awareness and intelligence, pay attention to our experiences in the present moment, remain steady through the ups and downs.
I love this; remain steady through the ups and downs.
I have to be really honest, I am feeling very steady and calm right now and I absolutely know that it is because of all of this focus I am putting towards mindfulness. Yesterday I took lots of mindful moments. I feel calm. Not sure if my family can tell but I can.. I am feeling really calm and present.
Holy Shit! Inner calm! That's what I'm trying to find - it says so at the top of this blog!
Anyway - Vidyamala says when we've got any tension or discomfort in the body we breath-hold/tense and that adds to the pain. What we need to do is guide the breath into the holding (sore) part of the body. I think this would work for emotional pain as well - often felt by me in the heart - guide the breath intentionally into the painful area. Instead of having an 'I don't like this' reaction to the pain, turn towards the experience. Investigate it with tenderness, care, acceptance and compassion.
Breaks are also so important - 'take a break before you break' - 20 mins of work at the computer at the time (this would be good for me at home when working).
Other messages from her; pain is not solid or fixed, it's fluid. Mindfulness is not purely for the self, it impacts on those around us (another speaker talked about this), and - We are all a mixutre of pain and pleasure .. we are all just flowing along .. mindfulness helps us not get fixed on our own experience of pain.
There were three videos today, one a presentation Vidyamala did for us on her computer (split screen between her on Skype and her powerpoint slides that she was moving through on the other side while she spoke, worked well), another video an interview with Melli (summit organiser) that was a guided meditation to show how she leads people into the body and helps them turn towards areas that are commonly tensed when pain is being experienced, and a short video on her company (I didn't listen to that one).
Another amazingly interesting and useful day of material from this incredible summit that I am LOVING!
Love, Mrs D xxx