Have you ever experience any physical discomfort when meditating? The hurting leg, the uncomfortable back, or the itching sensation? I find that the itch one is hard to resist. The slightest touch from a hair turns out can be distracting. Maybe, that’s why the monks and nuns are bald. Do I have to cut my hair, too?

When I meditate, I habitually scratch my nose, arms, leg, or any itching body parts to ease the uncomfortable sensation. I thought that would help me to meditate better so I can focus on my breath. But then I read Jyoti’s comment about her vipassana in Deepali’s post on her vipassana journey: “I was trying to stretch my body in the outdoor walking lanes, when suddenly the voice of a volunteer jolted me. “You are not supposed to practice any other routine. You are not even allowed to touch and feel this leaf here. The only thing you should be feeling is your body and the sensations in it. Now that’s wow.”

Well, I think that’s extreme. But this got me thinking, should I embrace my itches, too? After all, I only meditate for 15 minutes. It’s not the dreadful 11 day-long vipassana. So, I give it a try.

The first few minutes feel hard. I find myself thinking, why the itch appears? What causes this? Is there a bug or a random insect? Well, maybe it is a hair or a speck of dust flew by the air conditioner, I thought. Hopefully, it’s not something bad… After several minutes, I find the itch feels bearable. For several minutes the sensations are gone. Finally, 15 minutes passed by and I opened my eyes. Turns out, it’s not a random itch; it’s a mosquito bite, and swollen to a thumb-like size. Wow! But I didn’t feel any itch at all back then. What interests me is when I touch it; the itching sensations appear! Haha. The more I touch, then scratch it, the more I feel the itching sensation. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean we should ignore our bodily sensations at all. If things get serious, we need to listen to our bodies. A breakout or skin illness is no joke. But if you are well, then we can ignore the itch. Embrace the itch, and it will no longer disturb you!

Mostly the things we perceive to be disturbing are trivial. And it exceeds beyond the itching sensation. The annoying notification, the singing neighbor, or the undesirable work email are insignificant. When we know what things can be perceived as trivial, then we can focus on what matters. Well, I never thought to learn something from an itch.

We can choose to let the itch disturbs us or not. But maybe, next time I’ll use a bug repellent first 😀

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Ria R

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