Part two pain..

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As a way to better understand the meditation experience, think about the mental focus a top endurance athlete exhibits in competition.
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The conviction to overcome excruciating muscle aches and pains enables world class cyclists to complete the Tour de France (a 2000 mile race over 21 days at altitude) and long distance runners to finish marathons in around 2 hours (averaging less than 5 min per mile).
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Of course, great endurance athletes are not necessarily meditators, but they are individuals who have cultivated mental discipline with years of training in which they have come to appreciate the essence of “mind over matter.”
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This study hints at the fascinating implication that one need not pursue the path of a monk, adopt an extreme stoic philosophy or even engage in an intensive meditation retreat to experience substantial health benefits.
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It’s possible that intensive meditation may offer additional rewards, yet this study shows that even short-term meditation training yields a meaningful reduction in the suffering associated with common, everyday pain.
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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 70 million Americans suffer from chronic pain with an economic burden of at least $100 billion in the United States.
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The low cost and low risk of mindfulness meditation make it particularly attractive for chronic pain sufferers, though the value extends to anyone looking for a boost in concentration and a reduction in suffering.
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In a way, we all have become conditioned to react to the distractions in our environments like a dog conditioned to the sound of a bell.
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And so couldn’t we all use a bit of the calm, quiet mind lying dormant beneath the sound of the iPhone, the Blackberry, and Pavlov’s bell ringing in our ear?
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