Archive for August 26th, 2010

Today I’m really sore. I got up this morning at 5:45, my new wake up time, and I went to the gym to exercise. Today was a cardio day since I lifted weights yesterday. As I began moving around I couldn’t belive how much my arms and shoulders and ab and back muscles hurt. I worked on my upper body yesterday and felt pretty good. Today I’m feeling every movement! Nobody told me that you’d hurt worse on day 2 than you did on day 1. That’s totally not fair. I didn’t let the pain stop me from going to the gym since I was doing cardio today and I spent 20 minutes on the arc trainer and 20 minutes on the treadmill. Not a bad day at all since I was able to burn almost 400 calories in less than an hour. However, now I hurt from my shoulders to my feet. Sitting or standing or moving are all unpleasant now. I guess that’s the price I have to pay to get healthy.

I have noticed something about pain: it’s an incredible consumer of mental resources. When I’m sitting in meditation or at work, from time to time my brain starts to wander. Usually those thoughts are fleeting and I gently bring my mind back. However, when I’m in pain, my brain keeps going back to whatever part of my body is not feeling good and it doesn’t like to gently come back to where I want it to be. If I’m meditating while in pain, I find that my mind refuses to be calm and rested. If I’m working I have a much harder time concentrating on writing computer programs and solving problems. I know that the mind’s response to pain is an evolutionary step that is intended to let us know that something is wrong and that we need to fix it but in my case, this pain is not permanent. This pain will go away soon enough on its own after my muscles have recovered from the workouts. While one part of my brain knows this, the part that’s hard-wired to fixate on pain won’t shut up. If I’m meditating or coding or watching TV and I start to think about what would happen if Iron Man and Batman got into a fight, I can deal with it. When I do those activities and my body hurts, it takes massive effort on my part to continue doing whatever I am working on.

What types of things do you encounter that makes mindfulness a challenge for you? How do you overcome whatever it is that consumes your mental processes? How do you get going when the going gets tough?

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