Fear, Panic & Other Meditation Problems
A first-time enquirer suffering from chronic anxiety and diabetes writes to Dave Oshana about a frightening meditation experience. Oshana advises proper supervision, preparation and understanding to make the process as comfortable as possible.
The Seeker writes:
this is my first time posting on this site, i hope this is the right way of going about asking you some questions.
i started meditating about 8 months ago. i wasnt that interested in spirituality, i just stumbled across it in books while looking for help with my chronic anxiety.
anyway i found meditation relaxing and at times blissful. i tried being mindful throughout the day and being aware whenever i could. anyway about 7 weeks ago while meditating i had an experience i wasn't ready for.
i was basically being aware of my surroundings, watching my thoughts coming and going. then i started to feel activity in my third eye area, my thoughts started to slow down and all of a sudden my vision sharpened and i experienced this emptiness i had read about. the 'me' wasnt there, i felt like i was going into this emptiness and i was struck with fear.
i had a panic attack it felt like i had to start thinking again to get the 'me' back. after a couple of minutes i calmed down. i felt like i was going insane afterwards. i stopped meditating after that and haven't done so since.
but ive become depressed with life, questioning everything i do, whether it will lead to happiness or not. i find it hard to do the normal things i used to do.
ive read some books on the turmoil and difficulties of both the body and mind while going through with awakenng. it terrifies me and i also have diabetes which could pose alot of problems. ive read from people like jed mckenna saying not to go through with it unless you really have to, or want to, that it would be silly to leave the dream world, he even denied to say that the enlightened state was better than the dream-world.
anyway i dont really want to leave the dream world behind, that i dont think I'm mentally or physically able for the turmoil of awakening, i dont know if id make it without going insane. but i dont know if i can ever lead a happy life or function in everyday society, especially after what ive seen.
do you think i should forget about enlightenment unless my heart is really in it? do you think with my diabetes it would be too dangerous?
any advice appreciated.
Dave Oshana's reply:Thanks for the details of your situation.
Your diabetes should not be a limitation to seeking enlightenment if you are already successfully treating it. However, I would not say much about it without first seeing you and assessing your overall medical history.
Given your condition of "chronic anxiety" it is not surprising that you suffered a "panic attack" as your meditation process unfolded in ways that you had not been sufficiently prepared to deal with.
Since you felt like you were "going insane" and given your psychological symptomatology it was prudent of you to stop your practices. You need one-to-one guidance and supervision.
You need to clear your energetic blockages and fear-related emotions, familiarise yourself with extraordinary states of consciousness and understand what you are doing sufficiently to do it well, comfortably and confidently.
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