Unleashing the Power of the Mind to Manage Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by SonOfUhtred, Apr 29, 2022.

    1. UKBloke
      Caffeine

      UKBloke Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1991
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music / family history
      Actually, I'd be fascinated to hear the details of your story.
       
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    2. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SonOfUhtred

      SonOfUhtred Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music probably
      I agree hence why am in the process of starting up my own business in something I know will be a lot quieter. I have carried on in my current job since my acoustic trauma 2 years ago and to be honest, I havent really noticed much change, but I am still not willing to risk it long term. If I was younger with no commitments, I would give it up just like that!
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SonOfUhtred

      SonOfUhtred Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music probably
      Thank you for this. I will definitely sit down this week and watch it, looks really interesting tinnitus or no tinnitus.
      I second that.
       
    4. Pitseleh

      Pitseleh Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I'll try and give it a go then. Again, English is not my mother tongue, so there probably will be a few things I can't express the exact same way that I would in French, making it sound a bit awkward.

      I won't go into all the process, doctors that I consulted and everything, I'll focus on how I trained my brain.

      I first had tinnitus when I was 15. It was probably due to some kind of auditory weakness that I have, combined with loads of musical practice (rehearsals, concerts, recording, etc.) To be honest, we still don't know why some people have tinnitus while others don't. There are many musician friends that I have who still attend concerts/open mics every night with no hearing protection whatsoever and who don't have tinnitus at all. It's just like that. Same goes for people working with loud tools in the industry. We just don't know. Science doesn't know.

      Now, why am I introducing my story this way? Well, because I believe the point I'm trying to make is of huge importance in managing tinnitus. "It's just how it is. People have it, others don't". Seems like a standard statement right? Well, ask yourselves how many times you probably have wondered why it's happening to YOU and not to others. Worse, why it's happening to you and not to your relatives. Ask yourselves how many times you've suffered from people around you not being able to capture what you are going through, how many times you feel like you are alone, trapped in your own noisy mind.

      Then, take a second and think about this sentence: "I am OK with the fact my ears are broken. I am OK with the fact that I won't function like others do. I accept I will not live the way I used to. Other people, the people I love, that I live with, will keep on living the life they know, but I won't, and I am OK with it."

      "It's just how it is".

      Now: this is the key. Nothing more, nothing less.
      Just love who you are.
      If you don't love who you are, you're trapped. I could have used another word instead of "trapped", but I won't, but the f** word would fit ;)

      I could write a book (people probably have before me) about why this is the key and all the unconscious process behind it, but it would be of no importance. Most people wouldn't read it anyway because, again, the problem we face as tinnitus sufferers is that we believe "It's all about broken us".

      It's not.

      There is no cure for tinnitus as of today. It's a fact. Now, the sounds in your head or ears might get better at some point, or might get worse, or might stay the same. You. Cannot. Know.

      How are we all dealing with this?

      Again, take a second and think about it: "I cannot consciously do anything about the ringing. It's not my conscious brain that is turning the volume up or that will put it down. My will has nothing to do with it."

      The tinnitus process is unconscious: for some reason, something in your brain, somewhere, decided at some point it had to turn the volume up for you to consciously hear electrical stimuli. It is not a sound. You perceive it as real, but it is not a sound.
      Some deaf people do not have tinnitus after noise traumas. The same part of the unconscious brain decided it was not worth turning the gain up.

      Why? Who knows.

      But let's again think about it: if your conscious mind cannot do anything because it's unconscious, what can help?

      Well, telling your unconscious mind (synonymous: instincts, other parts of yourselves) that you still love him/her/it despite the fact it is sending you auditory hallucinations.

      Do you see I'm not even going esoteric or mystic here? I'm just being very, very, very pragmatical: take 20 minutes every morning and every evening and talk to your instincts/subconscious/unconscious/parts of yourselves (or whatever you want to call them) and tell them you understand they're trying to do their best for you, but it's just not the greatest way they could.

      Forgive this part of yourself who's trying his best.

      Maybe this part is just turning the volume up to tell you to care more about yourself? Is it telling you to be nicer with your ears? It is telling you "Dude, really, your hearing system is broken you know? Just wanted to let you know."

      For whatever reason the volume is going up, it is all happening at an unconscious level.

      Some people, more pragmatic than myself, will probably think "Oh well, he's talking bullshit now, it's not working like this."

      Well... let me give you a brief fact. As a hypnologist, I'm closely looking at any neuroscientific research about the brain; 2 months ago, there was a neuroscientific study (using fMRIs) to try and understand how hypnosis could modify perceptions and where it happens in the brain.

      Volunteers were suggested in the hypnotic state they would turn deaf and wouldn't hear the sounds incoming from headphones. In the hypnotic state, you're not sleeping, you can talk, walk, do anything. The myth about "sleeping during hypnosis" is just a myth.

      After hours of training to go into an hypnotic state, music was played to volunteers with headphones. The volunteers couldn't hear anything.

      The proof was given with fMRI indicating that, of course, the sound was perceived at an unconscious level somewhere in the brain, that the sound waves did actually go through the ears and in the brain, but there was a specific place in the brain when the stimulus just vanished, was shut down (not reaching the conscious mind).

      To put it more simply: volunteers did hear 80 dB music unconsciously, but not consciously.

      Now remember these deaf people that suffered noise traumas but do not have tinnitus?

      Your unconscious mind if way way more powerful than your conscious mind. If you treat it with the respect it deserves, it will help you. Can it shut down all of your tinnitus sounds? Yes, of course it can, you would just need a lot of hypnotic training with a professional (I'm not talking 10 or 20 sessions with esoteric gurus or light-therapist and "magical healing specialist", I'm talking about working with hypnologists that can teach you to love every part of you who are. Because maybe if you love every part of yourself, than maybe... just maybe, you can start a discussion with it and ask it to do you a favor and shut down the noise).

      If your brain can make 80 dB music vanish, it can make a hiss/low hum/static/pure tone tinnitus vanish as well. OF COURSE it can.

      But you can make a quicker and easier choice, as I did: detach emotion from pain, detach emotion from tinnitus. The result is the same: you don't care about tinnitus because you love the person you are. You just have tinnitus like you have blue, green or brown eyes, white, black or brown skin.

      You can read Milton Erickson's work (psychiatrist from the 20th century who "created" modern hypnosis). Thousands of pages. Long, but useful. Or consult a real professional. Or maybe become one yourself? :)

      EDIT: the study didn't employ fMRI, but high density EEG. I'll post some really important information here, but it's in French. You can translate. It's about the conscious process of hearing sound.

      Résumé de la physiologie de la perception auditive

      La signification et la portée de ces résultats nécessite le rappel suivant : la perception auditive d’un stimulus extérieur débute dans l’oreille interne où les variations de pression de l’air induites par ce son sont converties en impulsions électriques, puis se poursuit dans les différents relais neuronaux des voies auditives avant de gagner le cortex auditif vers 15 millièmes de seconde. A partir de cette entrée en scène du cortex, la perception auditive enchaîne trois étapes sérielles principales que l’on peut identifier à l’aide des outils de neuro-imagerie fonctionnelle tel que l’EEG.

      Premièrement, les régions auditives dites primaires construisent activement une carte mentale des caractéristiques acoustiques du son perçu. Cette première étape est identifiable notamment par une onde cérébrale (l’onde P1 qui survient moins de 100 millièmes de seconde après le son). Puis des régions auditives primaires et secondaires qui calculent en temps réel les régularités statistiques de la scène auditive à l’échelle de la seconde écoulée, – et qui anticipent donc quels devraient être les sons suivants -, détectent à quel point ce stimulus transgresse leurs prédictions.

      Cette deuxième étape est identifiable par une onde cérébrale découverte vers la fin des années 1970 : la MMN (MisMatch Negativity) ou négativité de discordance (vers 120 et 200 millièmes de seconde). Enfin, vers 250-300 millièmes de secondes après le son, la représentation neuronale du stimulus auditif gagne un vaste réseau cérébral qui s’étend entre les régions antérieures (préfrontales) et postérieures (pariétales) du cerveau.

      Cette troisième étape est identifiable par l’onde P300. Fait crucial, alors que les deux premières étapes corticales de la perception auditives opèrent de manière inconsciente, la P300 est la signature de la prise de conscience subjective de ce son qui devient alors rapportable à soi-même : « J’entends le son X ».
       
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    5. UKBloke
      Caffeine

      UKBloke Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1991
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music / family history
      Thank you for this. Considering English is not your first language it's an amazingly well-written piece.

      Everything you've said here makes perfect sense to me. I actually recently (due in large part to the ongoing failure of regular science to solve tinnitus) started looking further afield for a means of encouraging greater acceptance to my own personal situation having undergone significant worsening these past few years. This search has led me to specific areas that I think converge with your own personal experience.

      I read a book about the health work of Nikola Tesla. A very dry read I have to say but one interesting chapter in that book discussed the meditative process Tibetan monks undergo. It went on to reveal that a group of these monks once participated in the U.S. in experiments involving EEGs where it was found that through meditation, the physiological result of which I believe may loosely (or not so?) align with that produced by hypnosis, they were able to empirically change their own EEG when compared to the test subjects.

      Moreover, and perhaps more profoundly, during these experiments it was also discovered that the monks' non-meditative state EEG readout was actually different to that of the test subjects suggesting that long-term regular meditative practice (self-hypnosis?) had produced a very real and sustainable change (plasticity?) in their own brains.

      The French study you cited is highly interesting. This part in particular got my attention [my emphasis]:

      - primary and secondary auditory regions [which] calculate in real time the statistical regularities of the auditory scene on the scale of the elapsed second – and which therefore anticipate what the next sounds should be -

      If I'm not mistaken this characteristic of the brain to, anticipate what the next sounds should be, underscores the tinnitus research @Will Sedley is doing in his lab up in Newcastle, UK. Perhaps a mixture of hypnosis/meditation paired with sound tools to expedite neuroplasticity in the direction we want it to go may eventually be a potential way forward for many. Who knows? But I do share your view that the potential for working the power of the mind into self-healing is massive.

      Thanks once again for posting about your experience.
       
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    6. Chinmoku

      Chinmoku Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Started with a cold, possibly worsened by medication/noise
      Fascinating, even in this tortured state. So we should use hypnosis and talking gently to our subconscious brain to stop the signal in the two subconscious steps leading to P300, where it enters our consciousness?

      It always amazes me that the conscious mind seems to be 5% of the brain activity while 95% is subconscious. Is this true or is it a myth? If it's true, no wonder we can't control much of how our brain tortures us. Re-programming the subconscious part of the brain seems impossible, hypnotherapy has a very ambitious objective, and it seems so simple from what you say. Simple, but not easy probably.
       
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    7. Pitseleh

      Pitseleh Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Technically speaking, it would be more "to ask the unconscious to stop the signal from entering our conscious mind" rather than "stopping the signal in the two subconscious steps". The electrical signal is here, so you couldn't properly ask your unconscious mind not to hear it. Recent research in Tinnitus prove we can observe tinnitus in the brain, so it does exist. Asking your unconscious mind not to hear it would be useless.
      Not sure about the percentage, but that's the general idea yes. I like to see it like this: your brain is basically a rider on a horse. Your conscious part of your brain is the rider. The unconscious is the horse, with all that it implies.

      A rider will never be able to make the horse jump if the horse doesn't want to jump because it doesn't understand why it should jump. Or worse, it will make the rider believe it can jump, but one day, without warning, it won't.

      If the rider believes he controls everything, he's wrong. Any time, the horse can smack him down if the rider doesn't pay attention to him.

      The balance lies in a love between the horse and the rider.
      I don't have many patients with tinnitus, but you'd be surprised by how people can reprogram things in a nearly magical manner within themselves.

      But again, I insist: it's not about "forcing your brain to forget", it's mainly about loving yourself and accepting things are the way they are. It's about saying goodbye to who you were and accept to be born again and more importantly, to love this tinnitus part of yourself.

      This is the key.

      EDIT: I just wanted to add a few things because I re-read myself and realized one thing I said was a bit shady.

      I said "It's about loving this tinnitus part of yourself". I know this sentence is hard to read when you're in big trouble and fighting sounds. I also said "this is the key". I believe it is, because my years of practice with patients prove me it actually works like this. But it's not as simple as telling yourself "I love myself" because of course, if you don't feel it, if you don't believe you actually love this tinnitus part of yourself, it's not going to work :)

      So yes, it requires training, patience, focus, and a professional that knows what he's doing to guide you in this process.

      The rest is just technique. Blocking an internal sound is an easy task to manage with hypnosis, but your unconscious won't keep the volume down if it doesn't see a "reason" to do it.

      Don't know if I make more sense now? :)
      I apply hypnosis to myself but not with self-hypnosis. I have colleagues that I make appointments with on a regular basis. As a professional, they don't make me pay (because I help them too) so the fact they are free sessions for me is of course facilitating.

      Is all hypnosis self-hypnosis? No. These claims are often made to reassure new patients and let them believe they're in control of everything, when they're not.
      Hypnosis is based on strategic mind control, whether hypnotherapists want to admit it or not ;)

      If everybody knew how to control their mind, nobody on earth would face depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. etc.

      As professionals we try and teach them how to manipulate their own mind for their own good, but to do so, we need to show them how to manipulate them first.
       
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    8. Pitseleh

      Pitseleh Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      My pleasure :)
      Well, I couldn't have said it better.

      One funny thing to try: go into a deep hypnotic state and work with residual inhibition.

      When the brain is open to suggestions from the hypnologist, play a sound that partially masks the tinnitus frequency that is the most annoying. During the residual inhibition phase, along with a deep hypnotic trance, the hypnologist can suggest to the unconscious brain this residual silence becomes the new norm.

      The only reason why I haven't done it so far is because my own personal belief is that emotions are more crucial than sound itself, so I mainly focus on that.

      But if one day, a patient comes with no emotion regarding his tinnitus (meaning he's completely OK with it, he just want to have fun and experiment), I'll probably try it after a few hours of training.
       
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    9. emmalee
      No Mood

      emmalee Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ?
      I agree, Pitseleh. There is no cure. For me, acceptance is key to living my best life.

      Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
       
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    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SonOfUhtred

      SonOfUhtred Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music probably
      I echo what everyone above me has said and thank you for taking the time to write this. I am going to re read this again this evening as it’s hard to take it all in with kids around!
       
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    11. ZFire
      Bored

      ZFire Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011 (mild) & 04/2021 (severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity (2012) Unknown-likely noise induce (2021)
      There’s some real good discussions taking place here I must say .

      I think for mindfulness or any other CBT related treatments to be effective, it requires active participation and willingness from the person. You need to make a real effort to step outside the comfort zone if you do choose to engage in a treatment plan. Seeking help can also be huge depending on the person obviously. This stuff works well for mental health related issues, but with tinnitus, you definitely have to work much more harder IMO.
      C673D48B-1DBF-4331-9E5F-71B0393DEA85.gif
       
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    12. Vicki14
      Panicky

      Vicki14 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress
      It’s a fantastic book and I’m sure it’ll help you!
       
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    13. Vicki14
      Panicky

      Vicki14 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress
      …about reading a book which offers so much insight into helping heal tinnitus? Yes.
       
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    14. AnthonyMcDonald
      Confused

      AnthonyMcDonald Member

      Location:
      Russia
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Tinnitus can't be be "healed with the power of the mind". Sorry, I find books like this and poeple like Joey to be a disgrace and giving false hope for "curing tinnitus" (and scams too - their useless courses costing thousands of dollars). People like this are the reason tinnitus is treated as a joke/mental illness by the scientific community.
       
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    15. Uklawyer

      Uklawyer Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication - antidepressants
      Pitseleh, Vous êtes où en France?

      @Chinmoku seems to read my mind - and ask what I am thinking!
       
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    16. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      So are you tuning out your tinnitus 24/7? Or only during hypnosis session 45 minutes?
       
    17. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      Wow I found my tinnitus double! Za zdorovie!
       
    18. Sleaford Mod

      Sleaford Mod Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2005
      Not sure if this will be of any use to anyone but it's what I do for severe (though not catastrophic), very loud tinnitus (I don't have hyperacusis) that is bilateral and consists of several tones, as well as for mild but chronic paint. The approach is easy to learn (by Googling 'shikantaza') and apply.

      A close reading of the article reveals that the method offers something quite different from CBT, which I personally think is too cerebral - it's not so much thoughts but anguished emotions that most of us are having to deal with - and TRT. I also like the fact that the article includes a consideration of how to deal with situations when the pain is intolerable.

      In the absence of a much needed cure or some form of relief, and given the interminable wait for Dr. Susan Shore's device, I just don't see what else there is, though what works for rheumatoid arthritis may not do so for tinnitus.

      The author is the late Darlene Cohen.

      Note that this is a one-off post on my part and I will not be engaging in discussion with anyone here, either in this thread or in a PM.

      Cohen's own site is easy to find for those whose interest is piqued by what follows, as are her publications.

      'I have had rheumatoid arthritis, a very painful and crippling disease, for 26 years. It began in my 7th year of zen practice. As the disease progressed and I became an invalid in bed, the people at the San Francisco Zen Center where I practiced put up a sign-up sheet for volunteers to clean my room, do my laundry, and wash my hair. I could do nothing for myself. Because of my pain and extreme weakness, changing my posture was a dramatic event. I needed to heed every little sensation in my legs and feet in order to go from sitting to standing. Getting out of my bed and going to the bathroom took the same kind of focus and attention as going on safari.

      My interest in consciousness and my belief that self-sabotaging behaviors could be altered by awareness had led me to Buddhist meditation. But nothing I had learned in my seven years of regular zazen and innumerable sesshins (long sittings) had prepared me for this ordeal. Swept up by the power of the pain, overwhelmed and consumed by it, I couldn’t feel anything else. I was forced to completely surrender to the physicality of my existence, moment after moment. I wouldn’t have chosen to explore consciousness on such a primitive level, but once I had to, I discovered that there actually were experiences waiting to be noticed besides the pain -- over here is bending, here is breath, here is sun warming, here is unbearable fire, here is tightness -- something different wherever I looked. Pain is one of those things that turns out to be dramatically different from how it looks on the outside. Before you surrender to your pain, it seems insurmountable, impossible to live with, unbearable. But after you are forced to give in to it – it opens up into a spaciousness unimaginable before you actually have this experience. I had spent most of my life looking at my body from the outside, mostly criticizing it: Too much fat over here, not enough definition over there. Ironically, in pain so severe I couldn’t function, I began to inhabit my body fully for the first time in my life.

      As it turned out, my Zen meditation training was a very great help to me. I had been taught to study the objects of consciousness: feelings, perceptions, sensations, and thoughts. In long periods of meditation, I even had been able to watch my perceptions as they were being formed. This is, of course, the business of Zen meditation, to observe all these things. You simply focus your attention on what is happening now, your immediate experience -- of your body sensations, your sense impressions, the stream of your consciousness. There is no goal involved. There is only the relentless, implacable present. And it is only in the present that you can cultivate the mental stability that is required to practice nonpreference for the conditions of your life.

      Here’s where meditation and mindfulness come in. Fully inhabiting my body, despite its devastation, attentive to every little sensation, allowed me to pay close attention to its latent possibilities when they appeared. I lived a half-block from the San Francisco Zen Center when I was just beginning to be able to take walks again, and I used to try to go to dinner there once a week as a treat to myself. Eating a good vegetarian meal with other people. Traveling that half-block was my own personal triathlon: walking downhill to the front of the building; climbing the stairs, and knocking on the door with my weak hand. Sometimes I would make it all the way to the steps and not be able to go up them. So I would have to strain all the way back up the hill to my apartment. I asked myself, what is it about my walking that is so tiring? What I called "walking" was the part of the step when my foot met the sidewalk. From the point of view of the joints, that is the most stressful component of walking. The joints get a rest when the foot is in the air, just before it strikes the pavement. I found that by focusing on the foot that was in the air instead of the foot that was striking the pavement, my stamina increased enormously. After making this observation, I never again failed to climb the steps to knock on the front door of Zen Center.

      I was struck that the focus of my attention could make that much difference in my physical ability. I began to search out the times my brain was clumping together many disparate motions into an idea which would prevent me from overcoming an obstacle, and then I concentrated on breaking down these aggregates of ideas into discrete units of smaller experience that I could master. Sick or well, we all do this all the time. We get into the idea of something, the clump, the heap, the pile, rather than the actual experience. Someone says, "I can't practice because I haven't been to the zendo in three weeks" instead of just sitting when she can. When I haul out the carrots and the cutting board during the arthritis workshops I give, everybody immediately groans: "I can't cut carrots with my arthritic hands!" But when you actually hold the knife in your hands, feeling its heavy wooden handle and sharp, solid blade; and you touch the vulnerable flesh of the carrot on the cutting board – you’re actually having an experience of what you can do rather than an idea of what you can do -- your wrist goes up and down, up and down; and the orange wafers of carrot begin to pile up on the board, and you realize: "I can cut carrots." Tears actually come to people's eyes.

      What it takes to challenge your own conceptual heaps and piles and consciously replace them with direct experience is being present in this moment and aware. But why would anyone in pain want to cultivate the present moment? I work with people who have degenerative diseases like arthritis, MS, and stroke. Many of them have constant, unremitting pain. They say to me, "Why would I want to be aware, in the present, with my pain? It hurts too much. I'd rather distract myself.”

      Maybe the bottom line is that if you develop a strategy to deal with suffering that rests on merely distracting yourself, it won’t work in the long run. You have to live on a very superficial level to maintain the ability to watch TV or work endlessly as a distraction.

      This is why developing the stability cultivated by formal meditation practice is very important to suffering people. You need to be very grounded to allow the extreme suffering of constant pain to enter you, perceive it, feel it, and then let it pass out of you. I think what meditation and mindfulness do for us when we’re shrieking with pain is widen our weave, that is, awareness without judgment makes the openings in our bodies large enough for enormous amounts of suffering to be registered and then pass through, leaving no trace. The suffering is burned up completely in the moment it's felt. When I feel this in my own body, it's like my weave is so wide, there's so much space between the fibers of my tissue, my insides must resemble the imperfect potholders made at school by kindergarteners and brought home proudly to parents.

      So the main reason to stay present in unbearable situations is that you can't allow the suffering to pass through unless you're paying attention, vibrating, pulsating with the waves of suffering you feel, aware of your own breathing and grounded by it and the sense impressions impinging on you and the emotions registering in your body. You're settled in emotional breath and emotional body which makes it easier to settle also into, the emotional mind -- the mind that reels with its projections and fears.

      As Buddhist practitioners we are constantly told, “Sit with your pain. Settle into your pain. Be one with your pain.” We then berate ourselves because we can’t pull this off with the style and grace apparently practiced by the Ancients. The conclusion I’ve reached is that this is another thing that is quite different in the description than it is in reality. I think what “sitting with your pain” actually looks like is: you sit there, you really do, and you feel your pain. It’s unbearable. You flinch away. You can only take it for a short time – maybe seconds. But then you go back. After the cookie, after the TV show, after the pain pill wears off, you go back. And you stay there as long as you can, and then you flinch away again because you can’t stand it. But you go back. The vow to return again and again is the “settling,” the “being one” with your pain. Each time you stay with it as long as you can you are settling. It looks different from sitting immobile in excruciating pain, but it’s not. The vow is the thing.

      I always tell clients and students that there are two arenas in which they should be developing their abilities to deal with chronic pain: (1) You must find out as much as you can about your condition and the treatments available, both medical and non-medical. If your situation involves a long-term illness, you will best be served by keeping up with the latest research, drugs and therapy being developed. In addition, an informed patient is in a much better position to use her doctors and therapists as consultants rather than dictators. In other words, do your best to STOP the pain. (2) At the same time do everything you can, i.e., practice zazen, meditation and mindfulness, to cultivate the mind that is willing to live with your pain for the rest of your life.

      This may seem paradoxical to both try to stop the pain and to be willing to live with it at the same time, but this is only a difficulty in the conceptual realm. In the realms of actual experience, we have no trouble doing both at the same time. These tasks are performed by different aspects of our being.

      One of the great contributions a consciousness refined by meditation can make to pain management is that such a mind is open to many kinds of experience, not all of them necessarily pleasant. With such an attitude, no pain can commandeer your life. You can begin to live with your suffering in such a way that life's frustrations and disappointments are part of the rich tapestry of living. In order to have such an attitude, we need to cultivate skills that enable us to be present for all of our life, not just the moments we prefer. I call the specific skill cultivating by meditation and mindfulness “enriching life exponentially.” What I mean by that is If at any given moment you are aware of ten different elements -- for instance, the sound of my voice, your bottom on the chair, the sound of cars passing outside, the thought of the laundry you have to do, the hum of the air-conditioner, the sliding of your glasses down your nose, an unpleasant stab of sharp back pain, cool air going into your nostrils, warm air going out -- that's too much pain, one out of ten; that's unbearable pain that will dominate your life. But if at this moment you are aware of a hundred elements, not only the ten things you noticed before but more subtle things, like the animal presence of other people sitting quietly in the room, the shadow of the lamp against the wall, the brush of your hair against your ear, the pull of your clothes against your skin, for instance, and you have pain along with all those other things you are noticing, then your pain is one of a hundred elements of your consciousness at that moment, and that is pain you can live with. It's merely one of the multitudes of sensations in your life.

      I’m talking about experiencing things on the level of the satisfaction you feel when you consciously put a cup on a table; the flat surfaces meet. This is a rare and satisfying “just-right” kind of experience. A very effective way to develop the capacity for noticing these wonderful minutiae in everyday life is to try to do each thing for its own sake, to experience every motion, every endeavor, every contact, for what it is. For me, washing the dishes is not just about getting the dishes clean; it's feeling the warm, soapy water soothing my arthritic fingers. Folding the laundry, I can smell its cleanness and I can luxuriate in the simple movements as a counterpoint to my complex life. This is engagement that arises out of a commitment to live as thoroughly as a human can. This is developing a consciousness that is able to attend to and include everything, not just what promotes self-interest. Being present right now, right here, giving your activity your whole heart and being, whatever you are doing, whether it's cooking a meal, doing a project at work, or having an encounter with another person. "Being exactly here." This kind of presence is of course your greatest challenge and the deepest satisfaction in your life.

      When you have become aware enough to recognize your own pleasure in every event and encounter, in every difficulty and challenge, you can feel your whole life strewn with happiness and abundance, carelessly like autumn leaves. When you have this much faith in your ability to perceive and nurture your own joy, you also begin to feel generous toward your own human tendency to be caught in the cycle of wanting what you can’t have and averting from what terrifies you: bitterness, despair. If you are able to extend your charity to the aspects of yourself you know cause you pain, you are developing the broad and generous spirit of letting everything be what it is, including yourself.

      To me our awareness of everything without preference is a meditation that synchronizes body and mind. This synchronization, the experience of deep integrity, of being all of a piece, is a very deep healing. It is unconventional to value such a subtle experience. It is not encouraged in our culture. It's extraordinary to be willing to be involved with ordinary things, to be willing to live in the mundane, to be fully alive for the laundry, to be present for the dishes. We overlook these everyday epiphanies, waiting for some Big Event -- like healing or being happy at last -- and so we waste our everyday lives. What cultivating attention to detail introduces is spaciousness, space around thoughts and activities that allows you to live a rich and satisfying life right in the middle of misery.'​
       
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    19. ArthurCzerniak
      Conehead

      ArthurCzerniak Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      The difference between people who are "happy" and non "suicidal" is not about the loudness of the tinnitus, it's how we react. It can literally take years to habituate or really, never habituate. You won't find out until you try. I habituated for 10 years to mine, 4 weeks ago I started having this problem with my one ear getting so loud when I sleep. I went down the spiral of constantly checking it, anxiety, depression, dark thoughts etc... We have all been there, the key is to keep going and keep trying to find ways to alleviate tinnitus or cope better with it.

      Now, some people have absolutely debilitating tinnitus, I feel for them. 24/7, multiple tones. Unless you have that level of tinnitus it's hard to give someone advice on it but, at the end of the day, I too have kids, wife, job, responsibilities, I want to see my kids get married and see their kids. I want to be along for the journey as long as I can. I don't know how bad my tinnitus is going to get, 10 years in and it's been and up and down roller coaster, more good than bad. It hasn't been pleasant...

      The amount of times I've laid down in the shower and cried to myself asking why me... I can't tell you how dark it sometimes got. But guess what, I'm here. I'm alive. One day at a time. Some days are better than others. Other days it feels like I was building up to something positive and then boom, louder tinnitus or something unrelated set it off. I try to stay as busy as possible, eat clean, workout, run/walk, stay busy with the family and at work.

      It sucks at the end of the day. No cure, but there are ways to still get some cope or joy in life. It's worth living even if you are in pain everyday that no one can see. Just the honest truth.
       
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    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SonOfUhtred

      SonOfUhtred Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music probably
      Thank you for this. I will delve into it later this evening when I get the rum out :)
       
    21. Uklawyer

      Uklawyer Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication - antidepressants
      So should we become fully aware of our suffering - and other sensations thoughts and emotions in the present? Or should we habituate by realising there are so many things we do not notice? Embrace? Or (try to) forget?

      I also like:
       
    22. AnthonyMcDonald
      Confused

      AnthonyMcDonald Member

      Location:
      Russia
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      The thing is people with *truly* loud tinnitus don't have to "check it" because it blasts your brain to pulp.

      Saying loudness doesn't matter is honestly an insult to people suffering from catastrophic tinnitus. No, it's just the "reaction". Tell anyone with truly catastrophic tinnitus like me, @Chinmoku and @DocTors_94 that loudness doesn't matter. We don't have anxiety, we are just tortured to death. A bit more than "it sucks". It's like being skinned alive. There isn't really any coping for people like us, while being told "loudness doesn't matter" by Jastreboffians and people with mild/moderate/stable tinnitus honestly doesn't help at all. It's an insult, and the reason why Jastreboff's garbage reaction crap is still infesting the world.

      But I am glad that you admit somewhat that coping is not possible for some of us.
       
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    23. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      Spot on @ArthurCzerniak.
       
    24. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      I don't think he said this? But he said he feels for the ones that have so debilitating tinnitus that they can not function in daily life. But there are still coping mechanisms (depending on how you view it) - or else you wouldn't be alive.

      But, there are no universal answer to this, and no one can tell others exactly how their tinnitus is or feels. It might be moderate, but still debilitating for some, and might be very loud for others - but still they manage to live their lives with family, job and so forth. They have a different reaction pattern to it - which some may have been able to implement over time. Again, type of personality could also be a factor here (I believe there have been some studies on this?).

      Fact is, we are all different individuals, and in the end only ourselves known how and what we feel, and how we react over time.
      We are all entitled to our own meaning, but what he wrote has nothing to do about insulting anyone. I know people with described "jet engine" tinnitus loudness (which I believe would feel pretty loud for most), and still they manage to cope and carry on. Grief, tears, bad days etc, it's all there, of course, but they still cope. My point is, we are all different - and there are no universals answers...

      At the end of the day, we all would want some sort of cure - no matter loudness, intrusiveness, and so forth...
       
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    25. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Arthur,

      I agree with some of the things you have said. I also believe the best way to cope with tinnitus and to improve one's quality of life, is by learning to acquire a positive attitude and engaging in things you like to do. This could be starting a new interest, hobby or making an effort to go out meet people and become more sociable. This takes time and is certainly not easy for everyone but we have to try otherwise we will never make any progress. To help this process one may need professional help, which may require medication and seeing an audiologist that specialises in tinnitus management.

      In principle all that I have mentioned sounds good but unfortunately there is dark and quite sinister side to tinnitus that some people are not aware of, particularly those that have habituated to tinnitus and able to carry on with their life with relative ease. These people have no idea or inclination how some people are seriously troubled by tinnitus. If they also have hyperacusis it compounds the problem.

      With respect I disagree with you because tinnitus is all about loudness. If this condition is loud and intrusive enough it can become seriously debilitating and affect a person's mental and emotional wellbeing profoundly, to the point they may want to bring about their own demise. Therefore, if you think tinnitus is all about how we react to it and don't think loudness of it bears any significance then you are wrong.

      I say this based on many years living with noise induced tinnitus, counselling and corresponding with people affected with this condition.

      Please read my thread: What Is Severe Debilitating Tinnitus? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum

      I wish you well,
      Michael
       
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    26. LilCC

      LilCC Member

      Location:
      Florida, U.S
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Exposure to loud noises
      Yup, sounds like some BS pseudoscience to me.
       
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    27. Pitseleh

      Pitseleh Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Again, it's not about being healed. Science cannot do that. It's about living a happy life.

      We can talk about loudness, we can talk about pain, but at the end of the day, what makes the difference between 2 severe tinnitus sufferers? How they react to it. It hurts to realize it, because some people have debilitating tinnitus and keep on with their lives, while others can't.

      I had a friend of mine, turned deaf-blind. Happiest person I ever met.

      Deaf (+ tinnitus).

      Blind.

      Let's just think about it for a second.

      I understand you're not there. I know how hard it is, I do. As I said, my tinnitus is not mild or even loud. It's severe, constant 24/7, unmaskable, 7/8 tones I stopped counting tbh.

      People who live a happy life with severe tinnitus are not the reason why the scientific community hasn't found a cure.

      It's just science has not yet found a cure, period.

      Down the road, you really only have 2 options: accept you can't be cured, or not accept it.
       
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    28. Pitseleh

      Pitseleh Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Je suis de Normandie, mais j'ai vécu à Paris pendant 25 ans :)
       
    29. AnthonyMcDonald
      Confused

      AnthonyMcDonald Member

      Location:
      Russia
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hard to live a happy life when small sounds permanently increase the tinnitus severity and tones, together with debilitating hyperacusis that makes leaving the house impossible :)

      But yeah, like I said, stability is key.
       
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    30. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Maybe not now but hopefully with time it will stabilize for you and you can manage a semi normal life. It may sound like BS but we have no other options.
       
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