Following too much Meditation I became oversensitive, withdrawn and neurotic.
Let’s set the record straight before I get hated on.
I love meditation and I’m extremely thankful for the blessedness and gifts meditation has given me.
By painstakingly committing years of study to nurturing a relationship between the cushion and my bottom, I have been blessed to receive so many key insights into myself and as a result I have achieved profound changes in my life.
It wasn’t easy doing the inner work but with strong determination and a fire in my belly I applied regular sittings of meditation. I wanted peace of mind, and sitting for long periods of time in meditation gave me this.
Having a regular sitting practice of twenty minutes or longer is important to develop this sense of peace. The mind is more likely to quiet the longer you sit. Albeit positive, progressive relaxation in my experience isn’t going to cut it. You need meditation.
I studied mindfulness alongside more traditional Buddhist Insight Meditation daily, and I wasn’t particularly rigid. Nevertheless, I reveled in the fruits of my labour – life seemed good!
The most obvious shift was the ability to think with more clarity. I find I now have more patience and day-to-day problems don’t trouble me (as much).
I believe that meditation has helped me develop a strong sense of self and self-worth. I have gained greater understanding of how I tick because of meditation and believe this practice has been far more beneficial than any of the Power Of Now books or Mooji podcasts that I have engaged with in the past. Sorry Moojibaba and Mr. Tolle, I love your books and they were very helpful, but you can’t put a price on learning from experience!
I have lived and worked in Monasteries in the UK and Asia. Whilst in Thailand I even spent a short spell ordained as a Buddhist monk, so my relationship to Dharma and meditation was pretty strong. A bit too strong! That was where the problems started…again.
My inward gaze grew intensely. The years of hardening myself to the outside, through rigorous hours of meditation, became almost too painful to bare. I became withdrawn, over sensitive and neurotic.
I thought if I meditated for longer or committed to more noble silence, that the answer would somehow manifest or, by growing more detached, the problem would go away.
Insignificant problems magnified, and jokes became mumbled and felt unkind. I became way too sensitive. The Buddhist notion of having no best friends left me feeling alienated, different and unable to cradle any friendship.
“I forgot how to let go.”
Withdrawing from idle chatter in return for a lengthy spell in meditation had left me feeling without a voice, to the point where the thought of asking for help was nauseating and suffocating. I had developed a complex about being special, over empathic and separate, when truth be known I was living in deep, silent spells of nervousness and neurosis. I sat for hour after hour, like a recluse. Meditating solely on the concept of being without mind in a desperate search for enlightenment. Disenchantment prospered amidst a lonely cloud as I nestled into my cushion furthermore. At this point in my life I was often heard harping such baloney as, “What if we abandoned all notions of self and stopped the yearn to claim any sort of identity in this conceptual reality!?.”
I feel I have a way with words. Nonsensical, pseudo-spiritual, ‘fruity’ language comes quite naturally to me, but simply put what I was trying to say was;
“Wouldn’t it be great if I didn’t have to be me anymore!”
I wanted to change but this notion and desire for non-attachment became my new journey into suffering. Suffering from the want of not being me, yet I have no choice.
“Among 7 billion people on the planet and I got left with you.”
I’m very grateful to all my Buddhist teachers, however, I was at a new level of Zen. It was bitter, shallow, without light. My world was small and grey. I needed a new solution and fast!
My meditation journey went from a blissful pursuit followed by a pursuit of bliss. Then over a relatively short period of time; a lonely, unforgiving place.
If any person reading this thinks they need therapy, then maybe you do. Meditation is an excellent tool used alongside any means of therapy, but it isn’t a replacement.
As a yoga teacher, practitioner and good will advocate, I can now see that my energy was stagnant.
“Isn’t hindsight such a blessing.”
I was in confused place of retaining my energy in my solar plexus and seat of my meditation (First and second chakra). Feeling centered is a very pleasant experience to behold but it’s always a case of balance.
Finding the freedom to express yourself is far better for the soul and your mental and physical wellbeing. Too much meditation will make you over sensitive, fact.
I have many dear friends who have suffered break downs and strain/stress on their mental health after participating in Vipassana silent retreats. They went too deep when they weren’t emotionally or physically prepared.
Positive living and ambitions, coupled with developing respectful, loving and harmonious relationships that are strengthened by trust, will build your self-esteem.
After all mindfulness is the awakening to experience the present moment.
The principles underpinning Meditation are still prominent in my daily life and in my work with others. The yoga classes I lead along with the bodywork treatments I offer, are breathing based. They are educational and informative about the physical and emotional side of yoga meditation.
Meditation, for me, can usually take place early in the morning as I prepare to practice yoga, or before bedtime to aid my sleep. I meditate regularly by myself and at times with my partner Lou. We also attend group sittings, but not Buddhist.
I view meditation as a way of stilling the mind rather than controlling the mind. Controlling the thoughts is an ideology that is unhealthy, impractical and will only take you so far. I believe that having company while mediating helps, as the energy is stronger and there are less distractions with group practice.
It’s great to share the experiences that you have during your practice so don’t forget them. Building a trusting relationship with a meditation teacher will help but isn’t essential. Some crazy experiences can arise. Having someone to share such experiences with can help take the power out of them and therefore leave you feeling less confused.
Along with silent sittings and Zen Meditations, I’m also a massive fan of Osho Dynamic Meditations, as well as less traditional “Non-Buddhist” techniques including Kundalini Yoga. I also believe that learning Reiki is by far one of the most beneficial things you can do in terms of self-healing.
Below is a list of contemporary Meditation techniques, I personally recommend;
Yoga (The best!)
Osho Active Meditation
Five Rhythms Dancing
Learn Reiki Self-Healing
Bhramari pranayama/Humming Bee Breath
Gong Bath Sessions
Time spent in Nature
Trakata/Fixed Gazing meditation
Regular time spent free from technology