Having a migraine on the morning of a travel day isn’t ideal, and yet, it’s not a whole lot different than feeling great. In fact, I can’t argue for any real difference.
That's because when I abide in being, I notice a tendency to lose track of the migraine. That is, I can't find it. And when I can’t find it, where’s the pain then?
It’s not a trick. It’s how things truly are.
Just as one can listen to a song and not hear the hum of a refrigerator, it’s the same to become aware of the flow of life and not feel a migraine.
Again, it’s not a trick. Or denial. It’s the true nature of all phenomenon.
I learned a variation of this years ago when I was studying at the university library one day. Around the corner from me were a few students talking loudly. I felt annoyed and irritated, but also, unwilling to move or to say anything about it.
Instead, I asked myself a question: If people are talking in a library, but no one is there to hear (or listen to) it, do they make a sound?
I found out: Don’t know (cause I could no longer hear them when I remembered I was there to study, not to listen to people talking).
The problem for most of us is that the mind has a regular tendency to meddle. If there’s noisy students, the mind wants to quiet them. If there’s a migraine, the mind wants to be rid of it. Constantly meddling with things as they are instead of simply abiding in being.
And that same meddling mind assumes that the students are there, that they’re making sounds, as if that were factual. But no one knows. If you’re not there to listen to it, how do you know that it isn’t utterly silent? How does anyone know? Who’s to say that they weren't an apparition, that they didn't simply appear one moment, only to disappear the next? (As in a previous post, how do we know this isn't a simulation? We don't.)
Same with the migraine. The mind assumes that the migraine is there, that it’s real. “I can feel it,” one might be thinking. But feeling something doesn’t make it real. We feel things in dreams. And how is this waking state any different than a dream? To the degree that I believe it to be is the degree to which a migraine persists.
Yet when I concentrate, I can come to an understanding that there’s just a larger flow (which seems to be the word I’ve been using as of late). And that’s it. Then where’s the migraine? It can’t be found. It’s not that it stopped. It’s that I just can’t find it. If I work real hard in reverse, I can regain glimpses of it. But that’s the best I can do. Or the best I’m willing to do. And some of this is highly inaccurate. It’s not that I can’t find it. It’s that it can’t be found.
Loud music has a similar quality. If I’m not focused on it, it's hard to remember that it's playing. It might as well be silent. As far as I’m aware, it requires my attention to keep it going.
Most pain that I can think of appears similar, that it’s impossible to find (as existing independent of a cooperating mind to keep it going). So when I cease cooperating, and I lose track of it, where is it then? It’s as if it never truly existed.
It’s as if the Great Movie pauses for a moment of pain and suffering, but really, it’s just a movie playing. The only way to stay with the migraine is to ignore the movie and perseverate on that one moment of pause. But why would one do that? I don’t know. I mean, many times I forget, and I do it. And I stay for a long time. In that past moment. And I miss out on huge chunks of the movie, this fun little movie that’s endlessly playing. Unpredictable. Unexpected. Unfathomable. Always moving. With no central character. Just a flow. Or a play of light, as they say.
Summary: Migraines and noises and countless other things don’t truly exist, and yet, it would be wrong to say that they’re non-existent. They require the cooperation of a consciousness. Without that willing participant, they can’t continue. This is why they can't truly exist in any independent sense. Instead, they appear as if in a dreamer’s dream, and fade just as quickly, dependent upon the dreamer as well as countless other things.
There is no observer-independent phenomenon here. We shape our experience.
This is about the most practical thing I know.