scared to start meditating again.. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 05-21-2003, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hi mamas!

i need some support on meditation.

some background, i have been drawn to buddhism for some years, but am feeling quite lost. unfortunately, since having a child, i am unable to concentrate on anything, "deep"--for lack of a better word. (i'm sure it is the sleep deprivation).

now, here is the problem. i have been struggling w/generalized anxiety for some time. i had it under control after some good drugs (the prescribed kind ). so before i got pregnant, i joined a meditaion group. my anxiety which had been gone for 9 months came back w/a vengence it is now "barely controlled" (w/o medication).

i would love to join a nearby meditation group, but, i am truly scared to start meditating again. i couldn't imagine my anxiety getting any worse, and i don't want to do that to myself.

the other thing, i've read that meditaion helps anxiety, but obviously that was not my experience. *could* i have better luck next time?

thanks so much,
amy (i used to be smart, i swear )
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#2 of 12 Old 05-21-2003, 11:42 PM
 
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#3 of 12 Old 05-21-2003, 11:46 PM
 
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#5 of 12 Old 05-21-2003, 11:54 PM
 
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hi amy, i'm so sorry you're dealing with anxiety attacks. it's one of the worst feelings in the world to me.
i wanted to tell you my experience with meditating and panic attacks and a bit about how i understand them in my situation. first of all, i don't know what kind of meditation you have practiced and i can only speak for the type that i do, bare awareness, focus on the breath and observe the mind as it gets drawn away by thoughts over and over again, gently returning to the breath, noticing how i judge myself and noticing what sorts of thoughts and feelings and stories keep dragging my attention away from breathing, eventually coming to understand alot about the nature of thinking and emotions and what i think of as me). and this practice was instrumental in helping me get through a series of panic attacks i had after my second child was born. i had about 2 weeks of feeling barely able to control my panic and i was able to get through it by being very focused on what i saw, heard and my body sensations, pulling my mind back from any thinking/planning/becoming afraid of how i would cope if the feelings got more intense. i think i got more out of those two weeks than the entire 5 years of my meditation practice before that. by staying so intensely present to avoid losing my mind, i got an enormous amount of insight and peace, much of which i've lost touch with, but not all. i am a greatly enriched person for the experience and i'm very glad it happened to me, as awful as it was at times.
for me, i think panic attacks are a symptom, not the problem. in my case, i had them after each birth and i think they were my psyche's reaction to long-buried pain that was working its way to the surface, helped along by the enormous trauma and cleansing of childbirth. i can't even say what all the pain was from. early, inchoate loss from how i was parented, perhaps.
i can also edge back into anxiety when i think too much -- when i spend too much mental energy planning our future or trying to figure out a way for my life situation to be different/better/perfect. i can make myself feel physically ill when i do this too much. so anxiety is a reminder to me to stop and smell and hear and see what's in front of me and to stop following my thoughts down their seductive/compulsive paths.
this, of course, is just me and i don't know if it has any bearing on your situation. i think it is entirely possible that if you begin to sit again, you will experience more anxiety at first. i think it wants to come up, it needs to be released. and meditation is the perfect way to let that happen. i think it would be extremely helpful for you to find/communicate with a teacher to get guidance in how to work with it when it arises in your sit.
it is immensely empowering to discover that you can sit in the face of fear that feels as though it will swallow you whole and just watch it, with whatever measure of curiosity that you can muster, and see that it passes, and that it is, in fact, completely insubstantial.
i'm not sure what resources you have where you live, but one teacher i have found particularly helpful is shinzen young and he has a very good website -- www.shinzen.org i believe. if he hasn't gotten too busy, he may still be replying to email questions. i haven't checked his site in a while. he also trains the more experienced meditators in his retreats to act as facilitators for others who have questions about their practice, so you could perhaps have some telephone conversations with one of them. feel free to pm me if you want more info about him. in fact i may have some taped talks of his on this topic, which i would be happy to send to you.
i wish you ease and peace with whatever you choose to do,
warmly,
susan

edited to add: oy! sorry for the multiple posts. i'm on an ancient computer and kept getting system not responding msgs when i tried to submit the post. i did want to add that i just saw that you're in vermont. that's where shinzen lives most of the year. i'm near LA, where he has one of his main retreat centers.
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#6 of 12 Old 05-22-2003, 02:19 AM
 
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hi,

meditation was the last thing i started doing after my recent experiences (see my sig), and the last thing that helped me. i'm taking natural substances, nutrients and herbs to help with my mental conditions and still there was something missing, when i started meditating, everything fell into place and i'm healing at a much better rate.

blessings,

Lori
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#7 of 12 Old 05-22-2003, 06:29 PM
 
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Hi Amy-

I also went through a transition in my meditation practice after having a child. What worked best for me was to let go and not sit down and try or "think" about it so much--but to just cultivate mindfulness as I went about my tasks throughout the day. Making the tasks the meditation worked very well.
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#8 of 12 Old 05-28-2003, 01:00 AM
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HI Amy

Anxiety stinks. I'm surprised I don't have it like you do at the rate my brain spins around itself creating problems!

the first thing that popped into my mind when I read your post was Reiki healing. Just out of nowhere. Can you find a real Reiki healer in your area? Seems like you need to meet your root problem - what's dredging up the anxiety deep down inside, and exorcise it. Really, I hope there's a way t o do that rather than psychotropic drugs, which only mask and prolong the problem in my opinion.

You can follow my little struggle with a recent meditation of you are interested - it's over in the personal growth section. Faeriemama is starting a new meditation this week as well. I really recommend a chanting meditation especially if you need something to psychially hold onto (like a spiritual hand rail if you will). My little 11 minute number is great and it's helped me so much to have the chant to anchor me.

good luck!
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#9 of 12 Old 05-31-2003, 02:35 AM
 
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Meditate and do whatever it takes!

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#10 of 12 Old 06-04-2003, 12:37 AM
 
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From A Search For God -book 1
Edgar Cayce on meditation-
Meditation is the emptying of ourselves of all that hinders the Creative Force from rising along the natural channels of our physical bodies to be disseminated through the sensitive spiritual centers(endocrine glands/chakras)in our physical bodies.When meditation is PROPERLY entered into,we are made stronger mentally & physically."He went in the strength of that meat recieved for many days."

For some it is necessary that the body be cleansed iwth pure water,that certain foods or associations(with man or woman) be avoided,& that certain types of breathing be taken so that there may be an even balance in the whole respiratory system,others feel that odors,sounds,incantations,or music are condussive......

When we have cleansed ourselves in the manner THAT IS TO US THE BEST,there will be no fear that our experiences will become so overpowering as to cause any physical or mental disorder.It is when there is no cleansing that entering into such a state brings disaster,or pain, or disease.


Sorry so long-I am working on this myself.

::
momma to 4
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#11 of 12 Old 06-04-2003, 04:33 AM
 
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Amy, have not been able to meditate since babies. Really, don't have the energy.

The last I meditated was when I was pg with DS#1. Hard pregnancy, scared like crazy ... and meditation was the only thing that helped.

Actually used meditation practice instead of all the Bradley stuff we learned ... not like it helped with that particular awful birth experience, but anyway ... it helped hugely on my following much better birth experiences ...

Maybe it's the type of meditation you practiced. Agreeing with the other posters that it should be helping relieve anxiety, not aggravating it ...

Good luck ...

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#12 of 12 Old 06-04-2003, 10:44 AM
 
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Try an active form of meditation....yoga. It is the only way I can meditate with a very spirited toddler (of course, she is napping when I practice). There are many tapes & cds out there. I love Shiva Rea's Yoga Sanctuary. Probably not for beginners but definitely a great cd. Good beginning tapes are AM & PM Yoga. Total Yoga is good, too.

And I totally agree with LadyLee about mindfulness, as well. Books by Jon Kabat-Zinn are a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with mindfulness meditation. He also has some good tapes. When I was going through my treatment for cancer, I used his tapes that go along with Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain & Illness .
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