Monday, June 01, 2009

It's been a year... Part I

Since I began meditating. Lot of changes have happened within me. What I mean by that is, there have been changes in my attitude towards life, the way I respond in any given situation, the way I compose myself, etc. Meditation helps you identify patterns that you indulge in unconsciously or subconsciously. It's been 3 incredible years I have had in Seattle....This post will also double up as a flash back of relevant periods of my life!

Fight or flight
I read recently in the book, 'Surprised by Grace', by Amber Terrell on how we indulge in the 'fight or flight' pattern. What this means is, given any situation, if the situation is perceived to be unfavorable by some yardstick that is unique to every individual, then there is a tendency to either fight the situation or run away from the situation.
What else could you do, you ask? Well, you could become 'comfortable' with the uncomfortablness!
Really, that's what meditation has put me in touch with: becoming comfortable with the 'uncomfortable', the 'unacceptable', the 'oh no - not again', the 'never agains', etc.

OCD and Meditation
Infact, I suffered from a chemical imbalance 9 years back and the disease was called, 'Obsessive Compulsive disorder' (OCD), although this wasn't the repetitive action thing.. It was a repetitive thought thing. In the common form of OCD, people tend to repeat actions, like washing hands 20 times to make sure it's clean or checking if the door is closed 10 times before leaving the house etc. In the OCD I had, I would get repetitive thoughts of a particular kind. These thoughts I absolutely detested and wanted them out of my mind.. But they would come anyway uninvited and not once a day, or once an hour, they would remind me of their presence every minute.
Sleep was my only respite from these thoughts. I constantly prayed to god at that time.. please relieve me of these thoughts that trouble me, please help me become comfortable with myself.
You see, it was all about becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable, the unacceptable.
In 2003, my 2nd year of my undergrad program, I attended a 3 day workshop by Swami Sukhbodhanada, where I learnt a few meditation techniques (Read about that here). Until then I had been on medication: I was using a drug called fludac and it was supposed to calm the mind. But in hindsight, I think the drug wouldn't have done me a whole lot of good if I had continued with it. I stopped using this drug after I learnt the meditation.
Infact, when I did the observation meditation, I attempted at becoming comfortable with the unacceptable, detestable thought. That was the beginning of my recovery from this dis-ease.
I practiced that meditation for sometime, and then I discontinued it once I took up running, another excellent way to get in touch with your self and come out of depression... (I had small bouts of depression too during that period). I also practiced a relaxation technique called Shavasana every day, which was very effective in keeping my body relaxed.
From then on, my life took a change. Really, sometimes I just couldn't bear the thoughts I had, it was because I had a strong hatred for those thoughts from my childhood. Sometimes I thought, I would go insane. But it didn't happen, infact now I see the dis-ease as my training ground.
Through the OCD experience, I learnt how strong I am, mentally strong that is and I also learnt that constant hatred can set you up for an experience like I had, where you learn to be at peace with anything and everything, no matter how unacceptable it may be.
It' s not that you favor the unacceptable, it's just that you don't pay attention to it. And you do that by first making peace with it, and second, by letting it go.

Coming back..
That was a brief flashback! Yes, well, OCD was my first ginormous life-challenge that I overcame successfully. My second set of life-changing experiences began when I landed in Seattle to pursue my Phd program. More on this Part II of this post..!

Meditation, I find is fundamental to my life.. It's the reason, I overcame the OCD, it's what has kept me stable during periods of instability(see part II of this post). My gratitude abound for meditation being a part of my life today.

No comments: