Phantom Pain

“Here we go, is this it? Are we starting? Are you sure, because it doesn’t feel like my spine is straight. And my shoulder itches. And I need to swallow. Is swallowing allowed or does that count as moving the body?”


“My eyes are closed, but they don’t seem closed closed. I mean, I can see my eyelids I think. Is that ok? How do you close your eyes when they’re already closed?”


“Oh damn, I forgot to check the volume of the alarm. I could just go and do it now? It’ll undo all the good work if it startles me too much.”


“OK, point taken. Dum dum de dum dum de dum de dum de dum. Hey, what’s that song that goes ‘sometimes I feel like despair is my only friend…’? You know the one. It’s by The Mission, I think. Let’s go and look it up. It’ll take, like, two seconds and then I’ll be satisfied and you can have your peace, OK?”


“Oh come on, this is uncomfortable. What’s wrong with slouching on the sofa with my phone in my hand? Let’s just get back into the comfort zone already!”


“How long have we been here, do you think? I reckon it’s been maybe 5 minutes? We could just call it a day at that, at least we did some practice. Seriously, what is the benefit of meditating for a whole 25 minutes anyway?”


“Are you even listening? Sometimes I think I’m just talking to myself. Fine, I’ll do it, I’ll shut up. Are you happy now?”


“Ooh actually this is quite good isn’t it? It’s not as hard as they make out in the books, I must be a natural. Hey, I could be like a super chilled guru who exudes calm and wisdom to all those I encounter, what do you think?”


“Ok, my foot is really itchy now. It hurts in fact. Can’t I even move to scratch it? It might be symptomatic of a condition. Maybe meditation isn’t so healthy after all. Maybe my blood circulation will be cut off and I’ll never regain feeling in my foot and I won’t be able to walk, and all because I thought it was a cool idea to become a yogi on a cloud.”


“Ooh! That’s what the song’s called! It’s Phantom Pain, how funny is that? You know, because I’m getting phantom pains in my foot right now? I must be super intuitive, I could really put that to good use if I’m ever allowed to move again.“


“Wait a minute – who am I talking to? Hello? Hello? Sometimes I swear it’s like I’m nothing more than an echo…”




[Whenever something inside is craving a slice of peace from the chattering monkey-mind that is ego, I find my asana and cease all body movements. I withdraw my senses. I let each thought rise and fall away again without entertaining it. I observe the mind, but feel my way to a state of balance. I seek discipline, and focus only on the breath. This is a short ‘transcript’ of how an excitable ego can sound to the pratyahara practitioner.]

6 thoughts on “Phantom Pain

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  1. My counselor actually suggested I start trying guided meditation in 1 to 2 minute increments because my brain can’t shut off and I couldn’t even make it 30 seconds reading your post was exactly what my brain was doing while I was trying to be quiet for 30 seconds thank you for making me feel more normal

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re welcome! In my experience this is exactly what meditation is like to begin with, even as a regular practitioner. The best thing is not to panic that you can’t do it, or to give up, but instead just let the thoughts arise and go again without indulging in them. There will be a point when the ego gets bored and settles down so it is worth persevering with 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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