We have million-and-one meditation stories. These are perhaps good entree's to further stories. If you have been trying to meditate, either just beginning or for a long time, you will identify with these.
There is nothing like a meditation session to make you really aware of what the hell your mind is saying to you. The mind can be a tricky customer and we need to be on our game much of the time to catch it in the middle of a huge mind trip.
Doris was attending the first session of a meditation class. She felt this was the way to go, but still had some reservations about this thing called meditation. After the instructions on how to meditate had been given, everyone settled back into a comfortable position to try it out.
The instructor had been specific about letting go of thoughts. "What does that mean," thought Doris. The music began and Doris started out quite well, bringing her mind back to her breath ... in ... out ... in ... out. All of a sudden a thought flashed through her mind: "What if I'm the only one doing this? What if they are all sitting there watching me? I'm making a fool out of myself."
She suddenly felt a wave of self-consciousness move through her body. Every part of her body seemed to tingle from the gaze of a room full of people looking at her, and probably laughing at her, behind their hands. She fought the urge to open her eyes to check out this thought. So it was for 15 minutes. She sat fighting every urge in her body to open her eyes.
When the meditation session was over, the instructor went around the room checking everybody's meditation. Everybody had apparently been meditating (or trying to). The instructor beamed at Doris when she disclosed how "well" she had meditated. "Ahhh!" said the instructor. "This is good. Now you truly see how powerful the mind is. The thought was totally wrong, no one was looking at you, but you gave the thought the power. You believed it and so your body reacted to the thought until you actually felt the gaze of others eyes on you. The mind created the whole thing. Now, can you see it is the same case with your Anxiety Disorder thoughts? You give them the power."
Doris did see this, from experience now. "That's amazing" she thought "and I thought I had a terrible meditation." The mind will tell you anything!!!
Meditation can work
Personally, I had disliked meditation initially. Hated it!!! My perception of meditation has changed completely. Over the years, I have personally seen some truly wonderful things with regards to meditation. One example which sticks in my mind is the lady in her 80's. She had experienced Panic Disorder for close to 60 years in silence and isolation. Her face bore the brunt of this weight. You could actually she the burden she carried and the suffering she must have endured.
During the break in one of the Anxiety Management programs, she came up rather timidly and asked whether it was possible for her to recover. Absolutely, I informed her, it is never too late. In fact, I had seen a lady much like her (age and length of experiencing Panic Disorder) recover totally and was now free from panic and anxiety. She smiled at me uncertainly. She related that the doctors had told her for 60 years she would never recover. Never! I told her "That is no longer true."
We headed back into the seminar room to continue the program. Meditation was the next port-of-call. After much instruction on how to meditate, the lights were dimmed and my favorite Pachelbel Canon C was played for background music. For twenty minutes everyone in the room meditated. I quietly sat in the corner watching in case someone needed me. I saw the old lady. As time passed in meditation, I visibly saw the weight of the world lift from her face. Her face became peaceful. The lines on her face softened. I felt tears fall down my face. At the end of the 20 minutes I checked everyone's meditation. Some good, some bad. All the lady could do is beam at me, her face soft and peaceful and almost seemed to be glowing. Her burden was lifted and SHE knew now that she could recover too.
Even now, as I think of her, wishing with all my heart for her, I feel tears fall down my face. Meditation works in so many ways that I can't even begin to explain.
It was her second-time meditating with a group and June felt she knew what to expect. The first meditation was "good" and she understood the concept of letting go of a thought. The music began and she settled into her focus word. She felt feelings of peace and relaxation descend on her. She felt openness and her body seemed to melt away as the tense muscles totally loosened.
Very quickly, the peace and calm deepened dramatically. She felt as if she was dropping very quickly into deeper -and-deeper states of meditation. She instantly tensed to stop the descent. At that point, she had a panic attack. Contrary, you would imagine, to the supposed purpose of meditation.
The story continues later as she was sharing this story with the group - the ending is not as you would have imagined. June had the attack, and when it was over brought herself out of the meditation and just sat there till the end of the 20 minutes. Everyone in the group her horrified, the worst thing they could have imagined had happened. June, though, said that the experience was not a "bad" experience because when she was in the meditative state she was letting go. The panic attack was upon her, but she still just let it go. It was over in 2-3 seconds, she reported. Smiling broadly, she ended "Usually my panic attacks last for hours. Now I understand what they mean by letting the panic attack happen. I did and it was gone before I knew it. Still damn scary but gone."
Thoughts control reactions
Tara sat for her first meditation session with a group of first-time meditators. Tara decided before the meditation began that the music would be her focus. Easy enough, she thought, I love music. The meditation session commenced.
Initially, Tara could see through the thoughts that passed, one after the other, through her mind. She gently brought her awareness back to the music. Different thoughts arose to distract her: "What will I do after this is finished? I must get the shopping done before the crowds start. Rotten Bill, he never helps me do anything, he just expects. Maybe the music isn't the best focus. What about using a word or breath?"
Each of these thoughts she successfully let go of and returned to the music. Until ... "I don't like this music." Instantly she bought into it. She tensed up and her mind became rigid. "That's right," flowed the thought process. "This is useless. I'd be better going home and using my own music".
Tara was caught in this thinking process for awhile, getting angry at the instructor for not choosing a better piece of music, feeling agitated for not being able to leave NOW. Suddenly, a lightning bolt of awareness shot through her. "Didn't the instructor say the mind will tell you anything? Isn't I don't like this music" just a thought too?"
She returned her focus back to the music. Resolving it didn't matter- if she liked the music or not-it was just a focus after all. By the end of the meditation session, she reported later, she actually liked the music and found it easy to meditate to. She learned the number one lesson - thoughts control reactions and perception. If a thought says "I don't like .." and if you buy into it ... then you don't like.
Joe was a man in his 60's and had developed the disorder after he had retired. He was the first to admit he had pushed himself all his working life and now was reaping the revenge. He was also a man who had tried every thing he could. Most of the time, he was led down paths that just didn't help one bit. To say he was sceptical about any treatment for Anxiety Disorders would be an understatement.
His wife, Elizabeth, dearly wished for him to get well. She saw an advertisement for an Anxiety Disorder Management program and had signed them up for it without consulting Joe. He came along only to please her. He had little faith in anything working at this stage. Every word, every sentence that facilitator said he would doubt and question. Then came the meditation session. "Total rubbish!" he exclaimed openly. "Just try it," assured the facilitator. "Just do it as an experiment. Then judge."
The 20 -minutes were over and Joe said not a word. Everyone left for the day. The second day of the workshop, the facilitator was surprised to see Joe and his wife Elizabeth turn up again. At the break Elizabeth pulled the facilitator aside. "Thank you, thank you" she said, holding back the tears. "Yesterday, as soon as we got home, Joe went straight into his study and closed the door without saying a word. I heard that Pachelbel music being played and he came out after half an hour. He loves it. That meditation changed him. Usually he can't sleep, but last night he did. I think he finally feels he has found something."
Tracy, N. (2008, October 2). Meditation Stories, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/anxiety-panic/articles/meditation-stories