Meditation during Illness

Many people want to know whether one should meditate during illness or not. If one is ill what kind of meditation he should try and whether he should meditate at all?

I think there can be no straight forward answer to this question. When we meditate one of the most important requisite is that we should be so comfortable that we forget our body. The spiritual experiences are very subtle and require least possible hindrance from physical world. That’s why solitude and noise-less environment such as hill- stations or riversides are often recommended for meditation.

When a person is ill, his body is not in a comfortable state and it would be difficult for him to meditate easily. However, the level of difficulty varies with the kind of disease he has. If somebody has been injured in an accident and his body is in severe pain, it would be almost impossible for him to meditate. Similarly, if somebody is feeling feverish and uneasy, he will not be able to meditate.

However, if somebody is recuperating from his illness and is not getting affected from pain and uneasiness, he can give meditation a try. Suppose a person has been advised complete bad rest and is not allowed to move much, he has no option but to keep lying in bed. In such a situation, he can either sleep or talk a little with his family members and guests. There is not much he can do. However, in such a state also he can try meditation provided he does not feel very uncomfortable with his body.

We must remember that meditation is a process to identify with our real self. A way to know that this body is a very small part of our existence and we are more than this body or mind. There is something in us that watches everything that happens in our life. This watcher don’t participate in action, it only observes our action as we play our part in this stage called life.

When we are ill and bed ridden, we have very little to do. We have lots of time to spare but with nothing to do. In such circumstances, instead of becoming bored and frustrated with our situation, we should give meditation a try. We must contemplate over the transient nature of life, over what really matters to us, about our priorities, our contribution in this world and so on. This contemplation will help you immensely. Often in our busy and complicated life, we get so much involved in day-to-day activities that we lost our perspective. The period during illness gives us an excellent opportunity to contemplate over our life, our progress so far, our priorities in life and their overall value for us. It helps us redefine our priorities and gives us a new and better perspective for life. For some people this contemplation exercise is the best thing that can happen to them. It gives them an entirely new look towards life.

Techniques you should try during illness.

While meditation during illness is recommended, it is not possible to try all techniques especially those ones which involve physical activities. For example Osho Dynamic Meditation which requires a hectic physical activity, is not recommended when one is not feeling well.

Two meditation techniques, which can be tried during illness, are ‘Mantra Meditation’ and ‘Vipassana’. It is always possible to recite a mantra in your mind when you are bed-redden and have nothing to do. I have explained in detail this technique here : Mantra Meditation.

Vipassana the great meditation technique of Gautama Buddha is another technique that can be tried during illness. No matter what kind of disease we have: mild or serious, we can always try Vipassana. After all we all keep breathing till our last moment on this earth. Watching your breath is one of the most powerful and easiest meditation techniques that can be tried even by seriously ill patient. As we watch our breath, slowly we become aware of other subtle forces of our body. The process that starts from being a watcher of the breath become a wonderful experience that turn us into a watcher of our emotions, our activities and our thoughts. Suddenly we realize ourselves as something separate from our worldly identity of a body. We recognize our true self. We have come home.

You can read more about Vipassana in Meditation Corner here > Vipassana Meditation.

One Response to Meditation during Illness

  1. sunitha August 31, 2007 at 6:33 am #

    very useful

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