Over this year, with my series of tattoo removal sessions, it’s paid to develop a way to minimize the shock & sensation of sustained pain – in this case induced by a laser, which by comparison makes a tattoo needle feel like a cotton bud. And there’s a very simple way to do that, which might come easier to some than others but which I’m sure is universal.
I was listening to an audiobook earlier this year about Zen Buddhism, and it went into some detail about the correct way to meditate. In combination with good posture, at the centre of its technique was breathing deeply and rhythmically, so that the only thing you remain aware of is your lungs inflating and deflating – “I breathe, therefore I am”.
By limiting your being to your respiratory system, you disassociate from the rest of your body and, as a consequence, all pain in these areas becomes distant. You still feel it of course, but it doesn’t quite feel like it’s happening to you – rather, if it’s happening to your arm for example, you experience it more as a series of sharp nerve messages emanating from a protein-based appendage connected to you, but that isn’t actually you.
Or as spiritual philosopher Wayne Dyer would put it: there’s 1) you; there’s 2) the pain; and there’s 3) – that which is experiencing pain. The 1 and the 3 can be psychologically seperated to a large degree, making the pain in between something you still feel but don’t identify with – rather, you ‘observe’ it – and in conjunction with the breathing technique, after a certain point the pain becomes almost pleasurable, the distraught messages to the brain dulling into affirmations of being physically alive and full of stimulating sensory activity.