Feelings like being cold, hot, hungry, full, heavy, or dizzy, or having a headache, a toothache, a stuffy nose, a sore throat, or pain your knees or lower back, are pretty much directly – though not always pleasantly – present to awareness. Because pain and discomfort are such direct sensations, they’re actually very effective objects of meditative focus. Most of us regard pain as a threat to our physical wellbeing. On one hand, when we worry or allow ourselves to become preoccupied by this threat, the pain itself almost always increases. On the other hand, if we consider pain or discomfort as an object of meditation, we can use such sensations to increase our capacity for clarity, simply through watching the mind deal with various solutions.
Meditating on Painful Sensations