CHRONIC pain is just that, an illness that lasts a long time and is constantly recurring. All you want to do is to get rid of it, to push it way, to fight against it and finally be the victor in the battle.
But Zen Buddhist Master and retired academic Barry Farrin offers another way of dealing with pain. He is teaching a form of 'mindfulness' meditation for chronic pain sufferers that asks us not to fight against pain, but in simple terms, to name and claim it and in doing so, strip away the fear, anger, defeat and multitude of other negative emotions that we attach to pain. The meditation seeks to give space for you and the pain alone, without all the associated drama that can make things worse.
Barry's life studies are wide and deep, including spiritual studies in Buddhism and meditation since 1976, together with academic qualifications including Bachelor of Social Science, a Masters Degree in Applied Science.
It is this wealth of knowledge that led him to work as a consultant counsellor in palliative and cancer care and consider meditation as way of enhancing quality of life. He designed a stress management program and conducts weekly mindfulness meditation training classes at Bloomhill Cancer Help on the Sunshine Coast.
These days, the 73-year-old Barry is retired, but his desire to do service for others is satisfied in the new and ongoing meditation classes. With his wife Marie, he is a daily meditator, but has made a few concessions to accommodate the general aches and pains that can accompany ageing.
"There's no sitting on the floor these days," he laughs.
"We're all on chairs."
He also indicates that the once very early rises are not quite so early and the long hours of personal meditation have been shortened accordingly.
But his commitment to teaching the benefits of meditation remains as steadfast as ever.
Barry describes this meditation as facing the pain as it is, rather than 'battling' against it.
BARRY FARRIN AND HIS CLASSES:
- Meditation Group
- Chronic illness, Chronic pain, arthritis, cancer, life threatening illness, carer issue.
- Maroochydore Neighbourhood Centre, Fifth Ave, Cotton Tree.
- 9.30am-11.30am. Free admittance and no donation
- Phone Barry: 0407 114 761