Meditation for Harm OCD
In due course I’ll write much more about meditation and its relevance to aiding your recovery from Harm OCD. In meantime, however, let’s just make a start.
Included here are some of the meditations and reading that helped me progress out of the pain of my harming obsessions and back to full health.
The following meditation is somewhat akin to the one I was given by a nurse at my local health center and it has proven to be worthy of practice long years hence as a simple way of dealing with stress.
Please note, however, it may take you a while to get into the groove of meditation, so be patient with this – and with yourself.
In normal circumstances, in the beginning stages, it’s usual for ones mind to wander a bit – so, as you can no doubt imagine, with Harm OCD it may indeed prove to be a slightly more challenging practice.
Don’t let this put you off. The idea is to move gently beyond any struggle and away from the tendency of amplifying your painful thoughts to finding a place of peace within you that is, and will prove to be, not only welcome refuge from the battering winds of your harming obsessions, but all life in general. A good place for you.
For long and short versions of the above you may like to take a look of Vidyamala Burch and Sona Fricker’s Body Scan: Managing Pain, Illness and Stress with Guided Mindfulness Meditation. Fully led meditations like these can be of great benefit as another’s gentle, guiding voice can sometimes be all we need to help calm ourselves down. But…
If you can’t sit…
Besides the above, I was put on to the idea of meditation as succor from my pain by a therapist lady I went to for chats. I have to admit, I just didn’t get it, the idea of sitting and…
…nonetheless, I pursued it a while, and out of the blue, or so it seemed, one day it clicked and I got a real sense of the relief that this practice can bring.
Without going too much into the details, this pretty much encouraged me to investigate further and before long my search brought me to Osho, this Indian guru chap who’s eloquent words served to convince me there was infinitely more to this meditation malarkey than I first thought.
Now, there are many more methods of meditating than we can possibly talk about here, and not all are suited to providing prompt relief for someone with Harm OCD. Tense, agitated, fearful, it’s incredibly difficult to sit and meditate in the traditional sense and so my recommendation is always, to begin from where beginning is easy.
As Osho says: “If you begin with something active – something positive, alive, moving – it will be better; then you will begin to feel an inner stillness growing. The more it grows, the more it will be possible for you to use a sitting posture or a lying posture”.
The following is one of Osho’s best known active meditations and one that I practiced as I strove to find peace from my harming obsessions. One hour long, this meditation is quite intense and asks of you to first breathe chaotically for ten minutes before a releasing catharsis stage where you are encouraged to express whatever is inside you. Describing this stage Osho may talk of you throwing off “violence”, “going crazy”, “mad” etc. Please, please, don’t let this concern you. You should feel somewhat disburdened through continued practice of this meditation, and this stage is about providing a safe place to express and thus get rid of what you don’t want.
Next is the “Hoo-Hoo” mantra stage, followed by the “stopping” and “celebration” stages respectively.
Again, initially, for Harm OCD, sitting down for twenty minutes, closing your eyes and attempting to still your incessant troubling thoughts and feelings and restless body, is impossible. In fact, trying to relax creates more tension, as we do battle with ourselves and then emerge from the attempt feeling demoralized, feeling that “meditation might work for others but not for me!”
This mediation addresses this and takes our chronic restlessness and tension and dissolves it through energetic breathing, dance, spontaneous, random, vigorous movement, shouting, screaming, crying, laughter, and so on. In due time, more passive, less active, meditations may be more suitable for you. But again, this is a great place to start.
“What we are involved with in Dynamic Meditation are the gears of the mind. If the physical body, the first gear, is brought to its maximum extreme through breathing, then you can change into second gear. Then the second must be completely intense: involved, committed, with nothing remaining behind.” Osho
This book contains a practical step-by-step guide to 63 meditation techniques, selected and created by Osho, moreover, detailed explanations of what meditation is and is not, descriptions of obstacles and pitfalls along the way, and answers to the many questions people have when beginning to meditate.
Over the haul I have found Osho to be one of the best commentators on meditation. Indeed, there’s much in what he says for bearers of Harm OCD to resonate with as they cultivate their own practice of “going within” and “finding one’s center”.
The following is collection of snippets taken from the above book and is given here in one piece as an example of Osho’s wisdom. I hope it will encourage you to investigate further.
“In a cyclone, there is a center which is undisturbed – in the cyclone of anger, the cyclone of sex, the cyclone of any desire. Just in the center there is no cyclone, and a cyclone cannot exist without a silent center. The anger also cannot exist without something within you which is beyond anger.
Remember this: nothing can exist without its opposite. The opposite is needed there. If there were no center within you which remains undisturbed, no disturbance could happen to you. You need a comparison.
Suppose a person is ill: he feels illness because somewhere within him, a point, a center of absolute health exists. That is why he can compare.”
Now, I know how a mind with Harm OCD works, so just in case you’re thinking “I want rid of the cyclone”, fearing you’re stuck with the cyclone, don’t miss the point: meditation isn’t about being stuck with anything, it’s about finding yourself in a place where true peace resides. The “center of the cyclone” is being used here merely to emphasize the fact that despite ones enormous discomfort (the cyclone) this center exists – inside of you – and once you know how to find it, there is always respite.
a totally silent mind with no thoughts,
a totally relaxed body with no tensions,
a totally empty heart with no moods,
no feelings, no sentiments, no emotions.
And then, simply wait. In this silence, serenity, just wait…
And out of nowhere something explodes in you.
Yes, it is an explosion – of light, of love, of tremendous bliss, which remains with you forever.”
Sounds and Vibrations Help
Again, begin where beginning is easy. Be playful. Be patient. And try different methods.
Osho likes to occupy you in ways helpful to giving you a glimpse of real meditation, to prepare you, to make you alert, to settle your body and mind so you can begin to see who you really are beyond your body and mind. Which is what you are needing to do! This may seem a strange thing to say because such is our preoccupation – and so much of the pain of Harm OCD has to do with this – with what’s going on with our thoughts and emotions we tend to believe there’s nothing more to us. Which is so far from the truth.
As we learn to meditate we disentangle ourselves from the mess of all that, and relieve so much of the tension of the fear-fight-fear cycle of Harm OCD we have found ourselves in. We dissociate from our uncomfortable experiences. We sense something else: peace, the center of the cyclone, a part of ourselves that isn’t disturbed by this pother that seems to consume us.
I’m assuming most folk have an inkling of what Chakra’s are, but keeping it short they’re commonly regarded as energy centers thought to “vitalise the physical body and to be associated with interactions of a physical, emotional and mental nature”.
I have to say, this Chakra Sounds Meditation probably did a bit more for me than the Dynamic Meditation above as I can be a bit of a sloth at times.
I’m only kidding, of course. Still, from a personal perspective, I made a point never to force myself to do a certain meditation if I didn’t feel like it. And with Harm OCD, with all that tricksy adrenaline stuff flowing about you and wearing you down, let’s face it, you’re not always going to feel like bobbing and jerking, are you? (Note, this isn’t meant to dismiss the power of the above meditation.) No, again, do what feels most right for you, any given opportunity you have to practice meditation, you’ll soon get a sense of the ones you like best.
It’s well known exercise of any kind is beneficial in releasing stress or tension from the body, but did you know you can also relieve so much of the stress of Harm OCD by consciously shaking? As many tension patterns and contractions are deep inside the body, often without our conscious awareness, shaking helps loosen us up and create a relaxation response that stimulates the brain’s serotonin and opioid neurotransmitters, which are largely considered to be “feel good” chemicals.
Shaking Medicine: The Healing Power of Ecstatic Movement
If you want to delve deeper and gain insight into how shaking can aid your recovery from Harm OCD then you might like to look at Bradford Keeney’s book Shaking Medicine. Championing shaking as a healing modality Keeney explains how the alternating movement produced while shaking brings all the body’s energetic systems into balance. Also included are practical exercises in how to shake for physical therapeutic benefit, and a 40-minute CD of ecstatic drumming music to use while shaking.
Yes, it does look weird, so if you’re going to investigate shaking for yourself then remain open-minded, and be somewhat prepared to release inhibitions. You’ll see what I mean by watching what follows. Starring the guru himself, Bradford Keeney, included also are some stimulating views on psychotherapy, spirituality, creativity, expression, and the healing power of music:
Shaking Medicine Facebook Page – for free information on Shaking
My own personal experience of Shaking for Harm OCD
Unfortunately I can’t remember name of the book that introduced me to the therapeutic benefits of shaking as I either gave it away, to God-knows-who-I-can’t-remember-it-was-such-a-long-time-ago, or lost it. (Maybe it’s in the attic somewhere?)
Nonetheless, the long and short of it is I most certainly did find it valid a way of taking the edge off my harming obsessions and settling my jangled body and nerves. Again, my early trials with meditation weren’t that fruitful, but through strong desire to overcome my Harm OCD I did experiment a hell of a lot, and shaking was for me one of the easier things I could do “work my way in” and find some relief.
Indeed, quite often I would make sure to do some shaking before I attempted or practiced some other meditation. And for me, this was the way: as one meditation would take me only so far, I’d do another, then another…and maybe then I’d give up for the day, depending on whether I felt it was working or not.
On this point, it’s important to note, as progress with meditation is usually gradual: don’t try to “force” or be in a hurry. Although like me, you may “stumble upon it”, experience all of a sudden a profound peace the likes you haven’t felt for an age, there’s an important parallel between what you will learn through meditation and what you really need to learn to overcome your Harm OCD that I want you to get – you cannot unfalteringly speed up your progress. One day you’ll “get it”, one day you won’t, and straining won’t help you.
Straining, forcing, being in a hurry…the very words and their like imply some from of tension and stress, and tension and stress are really so obviously adverse to where you are needing to go. Yes, I know, we’re so desperately seeking cure from this “thing”, and we feel such a headstrong impatience, it’s hard for us to accept ideas of “easy” and “letting it come”. But such a demand upon ourselves to get better only heightens the struggle we want to be free of, and so struggle must go.
My advice: shake it off. Get it into your head you are shaking this off. Shake till you’re “loose”. And let go of tension. Bodily you should feel somewhat better by the end of this process, and more open to other forms of meditation. And even then, you should appreciate that meditation is a knack, and something that clicks, not something that’s forced.
Remember, be easy with this, and with yourself. You’re good. You’re going to get better. So don’t beat yourself up by trying too hard.
The following video is pretty much what I would do, and is a good base to start. The aim is relief. Shake longer if needs be, and remember, you can make this your own, i.e. find and do what works for you.
One of the easier meditations to do is Osho’s Kundalini meditation which consists of four stages of 15 mins, the first beginning with shaking, the second dance, both intended to get your energies moving in the third and the forth stages “upwards into silence”. Regarded as the sister meditation to Osho’s Dynamic meditation, this meditation has been described as a “highly effective way of unwinding and letting go at the end of the day”. From a Harm OCD perspective, as we want to be stimulating a relaxation response, and resting as much as we can, shaking and dance themselves are not only good things to do as releasers of tension, but actions which done totally provide respite from our harming obsessions.
Put simply, the intense activity of these meditations help snap us out of the stress of the fearful introspection we’re otherwise so like to indulge in.
I know when a dark cloud descends upon you it’s not always easy to see, never mind feel grateful for, what’s good in your life. Nonetheless experience has shown me regardless of frame of mind or lack of motivation, even the slightest effort of counting one’s blessings can yield a gain for the spirit, so we can start glimpsing our lot from a higher perspective.
In truth the practice of gratitude is the practice of happiness and by engaging in it as much as we can, we’re essentially tapping in to an awesome healing power that can in due course inverse our Harm OCD.
What follows is a simple meditation that can help you get the ball rolling. Glide past the bit about “facing what you most fear”, as with Harm OCD we’re apt to twisting loose words and seeing them wrong. Don’t let this confuse or upset you. Elsewhere on this site we will discuss the idea of “facing one’s fear”, but for now do your best to feel thankful for what’s good in your life. As there is always some good.
With Harm OCD we’ve looked too much to the bad. Now is the time to re-adjust our focus and “look to the good”. Remember, this is a practice – it will most certainly get easier the more you engage it.
The Magic of Gratitude:
Regardless of how bad you feel we should note here again the whole aim of you learning to meditate is to “move gently beyond any struggle and away from the tendency of amplifying your painful thoughts to finding a place of peace within you” – a place so far removed from the storms of Harm OCD, that you cannot but wonder just how you’ve lived on the surface, and away from you depths.
For in actuality the real you lies in your depths. It’s only that you must move to it, feel for it, with an open heart or at the very least the slightly aroused desire to question the veracity of what I’m here saying. So too with gratitude, another practice of feeling.
My experiences with meditation and gratitude have solely convinced me that what we find through them is one and the same – and that they can both provide us, long, long before we are well versed in them, glimpses of the well-being and happiness we so desperately wish with all our heart to make ours once again, once we have ousted our Harm OCD.
For a collection of practices in gratitude I have found nothing better than Rhonda Byrne’s The Magic (The Secret).
Containing 28 magical gratitude practices Rhonda teaches you how to apply this knowledge in your everyday life, and even with Harm OCD, I know, there really are no excuses for you not to feel just a little bit thankful.
Trust me, no matter how futile your efforts may seem at first, the very act of noting down “the good” – even if you don’t feel remotely good, even if it all seems so very pointless, even if you feel so totally and miserably false and that there isn’t much good – is truly the start of you heading towards that which you’re seeking. Happier days.
So look to the good. Make it your habit. As the days pass you will have more good to note. More to be thankful for. Yes, it will seem like you are just saying it at first, but after a while you will start feeling it. And that’s feeling good. Again, the practice of gratitude is the practice of happiness. Keep that thought with you.
If you’re looking for a good “western” take on meditation and insight into the stress alleviation response meditation can provide then you may like this book by Eric Harrison.
In his own words: “I base my teaching on good science and psychology, so I avoid using religious or ‘New Age’ language that makes little sense to a rational Westerner like myself. I like my students to understand exactly what they are doing and how it all works. Meditation can be used for many purposes, but I believe people need a solid foundation in the basic skills to get good results.”
I like this blurb, it pretty much sums up where we are heading with this. God, Life, Peace, Source, who we are, what we come from, the great mystery…whatever, as many ways as there are of looking at ourselves one thing’s for sure: our experience with Harm OCD is showing us we need to become better translators.