Meditation and Relaxation

My wife is always saying to me, “Just relax!”  To which I reply, “I don’t know how to relax.”  It is very rare that I simply kick back and really relax.  I’m constantly moving, getting up to get something, working…etc.  So it was very nice yesterday when I downloaded a meditation program from Project Meditation and was able to spend an hour relaxing.

In 2009 I started meditating as a way to cope with my anxiety.  I felt like I got very good at it and would seem to enter an almost trance like state.  The feeling was euphoric and I feel as if I almost became addicted to that feeling.  Unfortunately, after about three months of meditating daily for 20 minutes, I started to feel as if I was losing my mind.  I had a constant feeling of dread and fatigue.  I was no longer relaxed and became quite unpleasant to be around.  I stopped meditating and these feelings faded within a matter of days.

In 2011 I tried again but this time using a meditation technique that included audio files with binaural sound waves.  The idea is that the sounds will cause your brain to be tuned to the same frequencies as the audio files.  It’s scientifically proven and did work for me.  Again, after a few months, I started to feel like I was losing it again.

I’ve done a lot of research and found that this can be normal.  It is one final road block on the path to peace.  This time I’m determined to get through it.  Although I don’t like to take it, I have anxiety medication that can help me get through this point and still come out with my marriage intact.

So during yesterday’s meditation session, the narrator walked us through the process in a 20 minute audio file.  He explained the benefits of meditation and what to expect.  Then he had us do a short meditation to get started.  After the short practice meditation he told us to play a different audio file where we would meditate for 10 minutes.

The basic idea is that you pick a mantra that you repeat over and over while letting other thoughts pass and trying to clear your mind as much as possible  He says to try to think your mantra in a rhythm that syncs to your breathing but also that the rhythm can vary if you’d like.

Over the course of 10 minutes, I feel as if I had very few thoughts.  I felt very relaxed and at ease but seemed to notice and be aware of my surroundings despite the fact that my eyes were closed.  I felt the anxiety and fatigue of the day dissipate and a sense of calm fill it’s space.  For the rest of the day I felt like I was able to handle life’s challenges with ease.

I’m in no way saying that I’ve become a Zen master.  This was just one experience but I believe in the benefits of meditation.  Being still and not doing anything is always going to be relaxing.

A couple of months ago I asked someone on an online forum about my negative experiences with meditation.  He said I may need a therapist (which is true) but then he said that the deep euphoric trance like state I achieved isn’t the point of meditation.  He said, “what did meditation teach you?”  A question I had no answer to.  It didn’t teach me anything.  He didn’t elaborate on that question.  He doesn’t have the answer, only I can answer that.

I’ve heard that Zen masters will some times sneak up on their students while they’re meditating and hit them in the back with a stick.  This is to find out if the student is fully aware or if they’ve fallen asleep to entered a trance.  Yesterday, I felt very aware of my surroundings and feel like this is a good sign that I’m on the right track.

I think this is going to be a great journey.  Do you meditate? Do you have any insight you’d like to share?

Be well, be positive.

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