Monday, February 4, 2013

How to Meditate When You Are Sick

Some of you may know that I have been rather ill with the flu for the past week. So how do you meditate when you are sick? What do you do when you can hardly drag yourself out of bed? Here are some simple instructions I have found to easily meditate and simply be even if you're under the weather.

How to Meditate When You’re Sick

Sickness comes in many shapes and sizes, but it’s something which everyone experiences and no one can escape from. I’m sure you all know many ways to prevent getting sick in the first place, so I won’t dwell on that.

This meditation instruction is going to tell you what to do once you do get sick to help alleviate suffering.

1. Get comfortable

Or as comfortable as you possibly can. Sit down, lie down, or stand up. Prop your head up with pillows, if you need to. Keep a box of tissues near you.

2. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath.

Breathing is one of the most fundamental aspects of meditation. If you’re able to breathe normally through your nose, wonderful. Let the breath flow naturally – don’t control it, just concentrate on it. Count your breaths, or focus on the feeling of the air as it enters and exits your nostrils.
If it’s difficult to breathe through your nose, then breathe through your mouth.

3. Pick a starting point

Identify the primary source of discomfort in your body. This can be physical pain such as headaches, muscle soreness, or broken bones. It can be uncomfortable feelings like nausea, aches, chills, or itching. It can be feelings of tightness that come with swelling, clogged sinuses, bloating, or pressure. Identify what is bothering you most.

4. Become aware of the discomfort

Focus on your starting sensation, whatever it is. Let yourself feel it. Think “I am aware of x” (x being your headache, stuffy nose, back pain, whatever). Explore the feeling, mentally.

Don’t judge it, critically examine it, or let yourself have an emotional reaction to it. When you feel discomfort, how do you typically react? If you get a headache in the morning, do you find yourself thinking, “This will ruin my whole day if it sticks around”?The goal here is to separate your physical pain from your immediate emotional reaction to it. So really examine the pain. Concentrate on your discomfort and all of the sensations connected to it.
If you do this for long enough, you’ll find yourself becoming distanced from the pain. The discomfort might not lessen, but you may become aware of the sensation more as just a physical reaction to something taking place within your body. The pain is not a part of you.

5. Continue to explore

As you concentrate on one discomfort, others will arise (probably steadily and rapidly). Don’t feel obligated to brush them aside and concentrate only on the primary pain. As soon as you become aware of another pain, allow yourself to become aware of it. Think, “I am aware of x,” and then gently bring your mind back to the focus of your concentration.
When you feel you are ready to move on, then explore the other discomforts that previously arose. Give the same attention to each one of them as you gave to your primary pain. And if the main discomfort resurfaces in your mind, treat it as you did the others: consciously become aware of the sensation, think, “I am aware ofx,” and bring your attention gently back.


  1. What about the rituals and cerimonial acts one may incorporate into one's worship? Must they be continued even when ill?

    1. Hello! Sorry for answering so late! Better late than never I guess but I do apologize. I believe you must be the judge of that. I feel that whatever I am “worshiping” will understand if I cannot physically perform my daily acts/ceremonies/rituals. Some things I can actually say in my head or aloud, even if I am on my back in bed very sick. Other times it is best to be still and rest. There are many rituals and things I do when going into my prayer and meditation. I find that, although I enjoy my practice, I should not “cling” to it and let that take away from the true reason I worship, pray and meditate. My intentions are what truly matter. I wish you boundless joy!



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