I'm soon getting my wisdom teeth removed. Like always, I don't plan on using any anesthesia for the procedure - the pain is probably going to be excruciating, like always. So how can I use it as a meditation object for doing insight meditation? The logic behind it would be that my mind would be entirely hyperfixated on a single sensation, distractions subsiding completely due to the lack of spontaneous mind moments caused by other sensations. Firstly I plan on investigating on how my mind reacts to pain, constantly self-reflecting on all the intricate mind mechanisms related to it. This would prove insightful in getting my mind to give up resistance to the pain, which is something that would be practically impossible for me to do at an intrinsic, fundamental level, but somewhat possible to accomplish at a concious level. Afterwards, I plan on investigating The Three Characteristics directly in the sensations I'm experiencing related to pain. This, for me, is the most confusing part of insight meditation. How exactly does one notice The Three Characteristics in sensations? How are you supposed to realize that everything is transient and ephemeral when the pain you're experiencing is excruciatingly constant? How are you supposed to meditate upon no-self and unsatisfactoriness? This question isn't limited to the context of the post. I'm genuinely confused about what they mean, and I would be deeply grateful to anyone who could answer my questions.


1 Answer 1


If you ever meditated on pain (caused by a disease, trauma etc., - in my case it was an eye infection that got me hospitalized), you must have seen that the pain is empty. In other words, pain, upon close examination, does not have any intrinsically painful self-nature, it is only painful in comparison to other sensations, and to memories of other sensations. Pain has its own intrinsic colors, shapes, and structures, but the painful aspect itself is projected by the observing mind. If you watch pain upclose, long enough and with proper concentration, all of this is easy to see.

The insight you can get from this meditation is the nature of all experience and the connection between comparison/evaluation and the notions of dukkha and sukha.

In practical terms, meditation on pain requires zooming in on pain to make it your entire experience, occupying your entire "field of vision" so to speak, this way you can stop comparing it with the non-pain but instead see its inner colors, shapes, and other details. As my teacher put it, you stop seeing pain as pain and see it as just information.

To me, this had been insightful enough without thinking about the three characteristics. But who knows, you may get other insights. The thing with insights, you must be open to whatever you see, without holding on to your expectations, otherwise it won't be an authentic insight it will be a mere contrived projection of your intellect.

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