Sitting with Discomfort

Payton led the discussion on Sunday around the topic of sitting (or walking, or standing, or lying down) with physical discomfort and pain. The focus was a talk given by Sky Dawson, available here:

Some key points from her talk:

  • Is a mountain heavy? Only if we try to pick it up.

  • What happens when you feel pain in the body? How do we know it’s pain? Is your experience of pain always the same? The concept of pain can be huge, but isn’t it contextual?

  • It’s best not to try to endure the pain; allowing it to reach a peak without trying to manage it takes much longer to drop down again. If it increases, take steps to manage it.

  • “In practice, why do I move? … Why do you stop sitting?” Is it to alleviate discomfort? Right there is Dhukka: the nature of having a body and the feeling of always being dissatisfied.

  • We anticipate pain and then we can’t relax in the here and now. With chronic pain, even if you have no pain right now, we can’t relax because you’re always waiting for the next onslaught.

  • Shinzen Young: Suffering = Pain x Resistance.