TSK and Pain Management
The following exercise can be very helpful in relieving pain. Rather than a visualization of some kind, it directly and openly explores different aspects of experience without any manipulation or effort to change anything. The initial instructions should help relax and loosen up mental and physical tension, while the rest of the instructions address pain from several different perspectives, leading up to a direct shift in the way it's normally perceived. Of course you can practice any part of this exercise that seems especially helpful.
The same meditation on time and pain can be found on YouTube, in a seven-part playlist.
The URL is: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwpks7yEMxVNazqnAg4rxui0HVtTcLwO7
How is the experience of time related to pain, stress, disease, and health? Are there ways to change the experience of stress and pain by changing our experience of time?
With experience as a physician in both East and West, Dr. Stephan Rechtschaffen sees dire consequences if we don't change our experience of time: "Until we learn to control time consciously, our lives will continue to speed away from us, and we won't even notice the beauty or the events around us. We'll simply be left with the feeling that something's missing, something's disappeared." (p. 14, Time Shifting) And it's not a matter of just feeling stressed out: "By living in mental time--in a speeded-up world--with the resultant repression of emotional issues, we increase the chance of disease." (p. 171) However, "If we can think of time in a different way, if we become aware that it contains myriad rhythms and that any individual moment can be expanded or contracted under our control, then I believe we can make time our servant--and in doing so, fill our lives with happiness and health to a degree most of us don't experience and cannot even imagine." (p. 3) "The misuse of time in today’s society should lead to a 'time movement'.” (p. 226) Such a movement has been started--see http://www.tskassociation.org/time-movement.html
Dr. Larry Dossey is a physician who thoroughly investigated the question of how pain and disease are related to the experience of time. Here's a summary of his research from his book titled Space, Time, and Medicine: We are coming to the understanding in medicine that some diseases are the result of a disorder of time perception. . . . the sense of time urgency is associated with a sobering variety of physical problems. For example, anxiety, stress, and tension figure into the development of atherosclerotic heart disease and hypertension, the two most common causes of death in our society.
The chronic misjudgment of the nature of time should be seen for what it really is: chronic disease itself. It is a silent process, but for many of us an inexorable one leading to disease which can be fatal. We do not ordinarily judge it in these terms, of course, and too frequently ascribe our sense of time urgency to “nerves.” Having misjudged the cause of our distress, we misjudge the solutions— tranquilizers and alcohol are too often the most commonly trusted antidotes.
Time urgency has been recognized by an increasing number of persons in medicine, however, for the disease it is. Promising treatments are evolving. It is interesting to observe that most of these newer methods of treating “hurry sickness” and time urgency—biofeedback, relaxation, and meditative techniques—lure the subject in very subtle ways into a new way of perceiving time. They ask the patient to step out of a chronic, habitual way of sensing time as an inexorable flowing process into an alternative mode of time perception. . . . the subject is stepping outside a flowing time into a static time . . . . If practiced regularly these techniques are extremely effective in helping patients adapt to a way of being in which time is judged in ordinary waking consciousness as less urgent, less hectic, and less anxiety-provoking. . . . Participation in the states of consciousness that we typify as being serene, calm, and relaxed generate physiological changes that can be measured, as real as those produced by any drug. Changes in hormonal levels in the blood, variations in heart rate and blood pressure, and changes in levels of muscle tension and blood flow to certain regions of the body accompany a subject’s imagery [or meditation] efforts. Thus . . . we can begin to see these processes as potent therapeutic agents. They are 'medicine' in the truest sense, as real as drugs and surgical procedures. (pp. 166-7)
For a comprehensive article on this topic, go to http://wp.me/ps9h2-3C