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PANIC & ANXIETY BASICS
PANIC & ANXIETY MORE DETAIL
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
- 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!!!
- 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. She smiled at me uncertainly. She told me 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 favourite 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....
- The 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."
- 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
a while ... 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 learnt number
one lesson - thoughts control reactions and perception. If 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 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."
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