How to deal with distractions like pain and itching during meditation?
In meditation, the distraction is often physical pain. Would you talk about meditating on pain while pain is happening?
This is what I was talking about. If you feel pain be attentive to it, don’t do anything. Attention is the great sword – it cuts everything. You simply pay attention to the pain.
For example, you are sitting silently in the last part of the meditation, unmoving, and you feel many problems in the body. You feel the leg is going dead, there is some itching in the hand, you feel ants are creeping on the body and you have looked many times – there are no ants. The creeping is inside, not outside. What should you do? You feel the leg is going dead – be watchful, just pay total attention to it. You feel itching – don’t scratch, that will not help. Just pay attention. Don’t even open your eyes. Just pay attention inwardly and just wait and watch, and within seconds the itching will disappear. Whatsoever happens – even if you feel pain, severe pain in the stomach or in the head… It is possible, because in meditation the whole body changes. It changes its chemistry. New things start happening; the body is in a chaos. Sometimes the stomach will be affected because in the stomach you have suppressed many emotions, and they are all stirred. Sometimes you will feel like vomiting, nausea. Sometimes you will feel a severe pain in the head because the meditation is changing the inner structure of your brain. You are really in a chaos passing through meditation. Soon things will settle. But, for the time being, everything will be unsettled.
So what are you to do? Simply see the pain in the head; watch it. Be a watcher. Just forget that you are a doer, and by and by everything subsides and subsides so beautifully and so gracefully that you cannot believe it unless you know it. And it is not only that the pain disappears from the head: if the energy which was creating pain is watched, the pain disappears and the same energy becomes pleasure. The energy is the same. Pain and pleasure are two dimensions of the same energy. If you can remain silently sitting and paying attention to distractions, all distractions disappear. And when all distractions disappear, you will suddenly become aware that the whole body has disappeared.
In fact, what was happening? Why were these things happening? And when you don’t meditate they don’t happen. You are there the whole day and the hand never itches, the head has no pain and the stomach is perfect and the legs are okay. Everything is okay. What was really happening? Why do these things suddenly start in meditation?
The body has remained the master for so long, and in meditation you are throwing the body out of its mastery. You are dethroning it. It clings; it tries in every way to remain the master. It will create many things to distract you so the meditation is lost; you are thrown off balance and the body is again on the throne. Up to now, the body has remained the master and you have been a slave. Through meditation, you are changing the whole thing; it is a great revolution. And, of course, no ruler wants to be thrown out of his power.
The body plays politics – that’s what is happening. When she creates imaginary pain, itching, ants creeping, the body is trying to distract you. And it is natural, because the body has remained in rule for so long, for many lives it has been the emperor and you have been the slave. Now you are changing everything upside down. You are reclaiming your throne, and it is natural the body will try whatsoever it can do to disturb you. If you get disturbed, you are lost. Ordinarily, people suppress these things. They will start chanting a mantra; they will not look at the body.
I am not teaching you any sort of suppression. I teach only awareness. Just watch, pay attention, and because it is false, immediately it will disappear. When all the pains and itches and ants have disappeared and the body has settled in its right place of being a slave, suddenly so much bliss arises you cannot contain it. Suddenly so much celebration arises in the being you cannot express; you are overflowing with a peace that passeth understanding, a bliss which is not of this world.