Meditation and MS

Tips for stress and pain meditation; for Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, chronic illness

Why meditation for MS?

Increasingly research is showing the benefits of meditation for managing stress, and improve chronic illness outcomes and pain management.

George Jelinek, Ian Gawler and Petrea King are all strong advocates for the integration of meditation into our lives on a daily basis, and I have found it to be an invaluable tool in my journey with MS.

SO, WHY?

MS (and any chronic illness), brings with it not just the physical symptoms, but also depression, worry, too many decisions and cognitive disturbance such as memory loss, concentration difficulties and easy overwhelm.

I have experienced all of these!

I have found that meditation has improved my clarity and ability to concentrate; given equanimity and confidence – I know I have a tool to deal with the uncertainty and depression when it arises; an effective tool for pain management; not to mention that priceless sense of peace – the reason I began this journey with yoga.

Here are two techniques to practice; one for improving concentration and one for pain relief.

Concentration

  • Sit comfortably (or lie if that works for you) and relax your body (see relaxation page).
  • Keeping your gaze soft and gentle, choose something to focus your gaze – it could be a candle flame, the second hand of a clock or a beautiful flower or even a shell.
  • Allow your whole concentration to become fascinated by the object of your concentration and when other thoughts come, simply return to the object.
  • Notice every feature of the object
  • Close your eyes and remember as much about the object as you can, appreciating each memory.
  • Open your eyes again and return your gaze to the object.
  • Repeat this sequence a few times until you are ready to rest in silence for a few moments.

If you repeat this every day, you may find you begin to remember more and be able to focus for longer periods of time.

Pain relief

Pain with MS comes in so many different ways and I have experienced many of them, in some degree. The most debilitating pain symptoms for me have been the migraine like headaches and the feeling my brain is being split in two by an axe. The only thing that works is this meditation. I hope it helps you.

  • Sit or lie comfortably.
  • Relax your body as much as you can (see relaxation page) – I know this may seem impossible but my experience has been that the more I relax my body and mind in the presence of pain, the less I am effected by the pain.
  • Try a relaxation CD
  • Become as still as you can.
  • Allow your focus to go to the centre of the pain; this may take a few moments but there is a centre.
  • Imagine that centre opening and the opening filling with a soothing light (whatever colour works for you, I use white).
  • Now with each out-breath, allow the opening to relax, this will make it bigger.
  • Continue with this process until the opening is as big as the pain and ‘pain’ is now light.
  • Rest in the light and the stillness until you are ready to come back.
  • Be very gentle with yourself as you return to your life. Take a few moments to appreciate your body, exactly as it is.

Om shanti

I would love to hear from you, so contact me if you would like to chat.