Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Dharma of Physiotherapy

Like me this painting has been around for a while. And it's been reinvented, which is perhaps what we do with ourselves. It's 11x14 and called "Behind The Veil". There is a lot we hide from behind our veils, in our comfy cocoons of controlled experiences, our stories of who we are, our invented selves, don't you think?

Last night I was doing some exercises for my mildly frozen shoulder, as the physio refers to it. The exercises he suggests consist of stretching my sore arm past what's comfortable, experiencing some pain and using the good arm to help move the sore arm past where it usually goes.

As I did the exercise I could see that I tensed up when things started to get painful. I was in effect bracing myself against the pain. And then I thought, why don't I just regard it as sensation, rather than pain (which of course has a negative connotation). Oh and if you don't mind, stop holding your breath and gritting your teeth!

As I just breathed and observed the sensation I felt my body relax. Not pain, simply sensation, the stretch the pull, the tightness, a little numbness, an ache in the bicep. A dose of awareness.

And low and behold, the stiff arm moved back past where it normally went. I just experienced the detail of the movement. I continued to do the exercise and as I did it I thought about how it applied to so much more in my life; how I hold myself against things I don't like, how I regard certain things as pain and stop there without really experiencing them, how I resist what I regard as unpleasant.

I could see how the picking and choosing of experiences, qualifying them and judging, weighing and measuring them sucked them of their true nature. To walk directly into what is without naming it, that offers true possibility. I could see how relaxing, changed the whole experience, allowed me to be with what was.

And so the Physio in his matter of fact way was in fact offering some Dharma. Experience some pain (if you want to call it that). Move past what you deem as comfortable. Stretch yourself. Use your strengths to help you with what hurts. And if you keep on doing this, consistently, it can bring healing. I am reminded again of how much teaching there is in the body.

10 comments:

  1. This veil business is so striking...and true. Your thoughts and action on pain give hope to us all...none of this (frozen shoulders etc.) is easy to handle.

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  2. I happily echo Blue Sky Dreaming.

    The image is so perfect with the post.
    I felt the resonance of:

    " I just experienced the detail of the movement. I continued to do the exercise and as I did it I thought about how it applied to so much more in my life; how I hold myself against things I don't like, how I regard certain things as pain and stop there without really experiencing them, how I resist what I regard as unpleasant."

    I could lean into this teaching for a good long while...as my broken wrist continues its miraculous healing process.

    _/\_ Metta

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  3. oooo - yes - "there is a lot we hide from behind our veils, in our comfy cocoons of controlled experiences, our stories of who we are, our invented selves..." Beautiful! Hiding our realness...

    Lovely post. And the art is magnificently mysterious. I love your exquisite awareness *through* the body experience - so descriptive and true! Helps me to see how I hold myself in life... :)

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  4. Your thought "And then I thought, why don't I just regard it as sensation, rather than pain," reminds me of being on a long distance bike ride. I had a cheap, heavy bike and had joined a cycling club. We were taking a route through the California mountains and It was a struggle trying to climb.

    I decided rather than think about the pain, I'd concentrate on what was around me: the birds singing, the sound of my tires on the road, the view of the pines.

    So you've reminded me "how the picking and choosing of experiences, qualifying them and judging, weighing and measuring them sucked them of their true nature. To walk directly into what is without naming it, that offers true possibility."

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  5. I just wanted to add that I hope your shoulder continues to get better.

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  6. Yep, as Mingyur Rinpoched shared in his teachings about pain, during yesterday's retreat, pain is an excellent support for meditation, just like sounds or the breath. Once you take that view, and you learn to make friend with the pain and the body, things start to shift. In the end, it is all about the mind . . .

    Thank you so much for your visit at Mind Deep this morning! :)

    May you be well!

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  7. I did the exercise I could see that I tensed up if things started to get painful. I was in aftereffect animating myself adjoin the pain.

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  8. Physiotherapy is exercise and massage and other modalities.It use when you get rest or relax. Physiotherapy is a one kind of health care to take care of your health.I have found a source that help me and it can be help you.
    Physiotherapists

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