Break Through Pain

By Shinzen Young
I got this book because of a coincidence — I was in Mountain View for lunch with my Dad and stopped in front of East/West Books to look at their sale rack. I happened to have been dealing with a lot of pain lately, and so this title jumped out at me. It was on massive markdown, so I got it. I’m so glad I did, it’s really interesting.
The basic premise of the book, as I understand it, is this: suffering is the result of struggling against pain. If you don’t struggle, the pain stays but it’s transformed. The book explains a straightforward, deceptively simple method of learning to stop resisting pain. It’s based around Zen mindfulness meditation, and comes with a CD to guide you through the exercises described in the book. Shinzen shares his own experiences transforming pain, and those of some of his students as well.
I haven’t done a ton of work with the process yet, but I will say that when my knee acted up this week I tried to observe the pain without resisting it, and I could feel the muscles around my knee relax as I did so — which lessened the pain. Interesting stuff.
Book 13 in 2009. (yeah, I know, I’m behind on updating my booklog. This is book 13, I just haven’t posted the other books I’ve read recently. I’m working on it.)

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