Meditation while you are ill

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Meditation while you are ill

Postby mindyourmind » Fri May 27, 2011 1:16 pm

Do you guys meditate when you are ill, just general flu and colds and such?

I tend to be quite quick with the excuses when I am ill - a time that I should rather be sitting :shrug:
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Re: Meditation while you are ill

Postby Paul » Fri May 27, 2011 4:31 pm

mindyourmind wrote:Do you guys meditate when you are ill, just general flu and colds and such?

I tend to be quite quick with the excuses when I am ill - a time that I should rather be sitting :shrug:


My root teacher's said that practices such as Dzogchen are easier when you're ill.

Also, you may weel be ill for a time before you die, so it's good practice.
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Re: Meditation while you are ill

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri May 27, 2011 6:29 pm

If I have a fever I try to sleep through it or watch a movie on TV. But I almost never get sick.
If you are familiar with Tonglen (sending & receiving) meditation, you can visualize that you are taking in all the negative qualities (suffering) of beings and 'sending out' positive qualities. Besides being a good meditation practice, this can also help you to not feel so ill -perhaps even remove all sensation of illness or discomfort-- and in doing so may help speed up your recovery time.
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Re: Meditation while you are ill

Postby Jikan » Sat May 28, 2011 3:23 pm

I find the quality of meditation changes when I'm very ill. Example: a few years back I was knocked down with a very bad bacterial infection in my stomach, which led to internal bleeding, anemia, and so on. I refused a blood transfusion for it. Anyway, I was tired, cold, and occasionally delirious and hypothermic, and even though I couldn't sit up straight for long or even walk kinhin-style, I found the mind clear and there was an urgent quality to shamatha. I just kept going with it. (Three weeks of intensive antibiotics, prilosec, and oatmeal turned it around.)

Meanwhile, my wife's been having a three-year health care ordeal in which she's been very much... tested. Her meditation is much stronger, more stable, and her practice is more regular than it's ever been. She found a book recently called "How to Be Sick," by someone with chronic illness who is a student of Thich Nhat Hanh (I think it's TNH)... describing ways to continue practicing meditation incapacitated. She found it very helpful. It seems to me that many popular Buddhist titles are geared toward people in this situation, such as "When Things Fall Apart."

In general, I think people who practice regularly continue to practice regularly when ill. People who get ill either practice more (more often or with more urgency) or it all goes soft on them.
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Re: Meditation while you are ill

Postby mindyourmind » Mon May 30, 2011 6:19 am

Good, I stand corrected and inspired. I will stop using any illness as an excuse :bow:

Good to see also that I am the only one .... :spy:
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Re: Meditation while you are ill

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 30, 2011 6:24 am

It is a lot like when you're fatigued and meditate. Your mind becomes unrestrained and it becomes difficult to focus. On the other hand when you start dozing off and daydreams become dreams, you start seeing the mind grasp onto completely illusory projections of self and identity.
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Re: Meditation while you are ill

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue May 31, 2011 5:13 pm

mindyourmind wrote:Good, I stand corrected and inspired. I will stop using any illness as an excuse :bow:

Good to see also that I am the only one .... :spy:

At least you need an excuse. There are those who don't even need any to fail their practice, so don't be too hard on yourself. :lol:
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Re: Meditation while you are ill

Postby adinatha » Tue May 31, 2011 5:30 pm

When you have the reality in your scope, past negative karma arises in the form of illness. It is most important at hat time to relax into the nature of mind.
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