When the meditation goes over 20 minutes, I start to deal with some discomfort in the body, usually my leg starts to go numb. Immediately the attention shifts from the breath to that sensation. At the beginning, without moving, I observe the uncomfortable sensation that is growing in my body. Bringing my attention to the area, I can notice the discomfort flowing as a little wave. With that physical sensation some emotions arise too, as frustration, discouragement, dispiritedness. It is very clear the connection between an uncomfortable sensation in the body and the bad emotion arising from it. So, in that situation if I follow those bad emotions with my thoughts, 'This pain is making me crazy!', the discomfort starts to get worse and worse. In contrast, if I think 'That pain is not me I am only the entity that is experiencing that sensation' then the discomfort is becoming increasingly easy to bear.
I tried to follow Jon Kabat-Zinn's instructions when he is talking about acute pain. It is not exactly my situation but in order to manage my emotions during the meditation, it was very useful to know that
"If you experiment with trying to bring mindfulness to exactly what you are feeling in those moments when you hurt yourself accidentally, you will probably find that how you relate to the sensations you experience makes a big difference in the degree of pain you actually feel and how much you suffer. It also affects your emotions and behavior. It can be quite a revelation to discover that you have a range of options for dealing with physical pain, even very intense pain, aside from just being automatically overwhelmed by it" (Kabat-Zinn 2013)
Here’s 3 steps I tried to solve the discomfort during my meditation sessions:
1. Bring your attention
The first important thing is bringing your attention to that part of your body where you feel pain or discomfort. When you're totally aware of the sensations in your body you can also notice different levels of discomfort.
2. Welcome everything
Acceptance is the key. If we try to push away what is happening now, for example our discomfort, usually it gets stronger and doesn't go away at all and you fight against it the risk is to increase your level of stress. On the other hand, when we accept the situation it's much easier to let it go.
3. No identification
Pain is just a physical sensation and when I think that I'm not the discomfort but rather someone who is experiencing it, that makes it easier to manage the difficult situation.
I would like to end reminding you that you may have no control over the situation, but you have control over your reaction, your thoughts and emotions.