I’ve noticed that the development I’ve been undergoing under the tutelage of meditation and mindfulness has been cyclical. Rather it has been spiralcal but I don’t think that’s a word…
I’ll use anxiety as an example. When I began my practice anxiety was a big thing for me. I wanted it gone because I thought it was inhibiting me from living. Well to be more precise I thought that it was inhibiting me from attracting a life partner because whenever I was faced with a member of the opposite sex I would turn into a stuttering wreck. You know someone you’d have thought was in the special class at school. I’d get it when interacting with members of the same sex too – especially authority figures – but that never bothered me as much.
I found that within a short while of practicing meditation and mindfulness I had a week where there was no anxiety! It just vanished! Everything I said seemed to come from this place of peace. I loved it.
But then that stopped and the anxiety came back. So I’d spend all my time out and about trying to be mindful of anything but the anxiety or the thoughts I thought were causing it. I’d watch my breath, the feeling of my feet slapping the floor and so on. Until one day the idea came into my mind to watch the anxiety! Crazy I know but I’d been trying everything to distract myself and that didn’t work because the second I had to have a social encounter boom! There it would be.
So I watched it and it blossomed. It turned into a kind of euphoria that was comparable to sensations I’ve experienced on narcotics and then it just calmed down. Since then I’ve had times of anxiety and times of no anxiety but the anxiety doesn’t bother me anymore it’s just something that arises and then vanishes.
I think a key thing to bear in mind with mindfulness and meditation is that it’s like gardening. It’s not like playing a computer game where everything is done immediately. You’ve got to plant it, water it, and feed it (do the practice) and then leave it alone and let it do its thing.