This is part of a series where I post stories readers have sent me regarding their journeys through Zen, meditation, and general life stuff. In doing so, I hope to convey to readers the personal significance of Zen practice in its varied forms, rather than just writing from my own limited perspective. Today’s is from reader Dominic Fennell. Enjoy.
As a fan of your tweets and the messages you convey, I’d like to share my personal journey to committed meditation and mindfulness practice.
I was actually introduced to meditation at a very early age, as my parents did it pretty consistently (twice a day). My secondary school also offered it daily to all students (not a coincidence) so I was supposed to meditate daily there— only I didn’t, because I found it incredibly boring.
What brought me back to meditation was when I began experiencing a series of panic attacks, as well as the occasional fainting fit in my early 30s. This terrified and disturbed me beyond belief, driving me to have two courses of hypnotherapy, where I discussed with my therapist the possibility of meditation to calm me down, among other things. Seeing as I knew how to do it, it seemed an obvious and easy step to take. I needed meditation and had missed 15 years of it.
At the same time, I began to devour books on the mind-body connection, especially since my therapist had repeated to me numerous times in our sessions, ‘Mind and body are a single system‘. And it all started to make a lot of sense!
I figured if you’re calm and don’t preoccupy your mind with negative thoughts, you’re less likely to become anxious. Furthermore, if you do find yourself in a state because of the things that life throws at you, you simply acknowledge the mental state (maybe saying it to yourself, e.g. ‘I feel stressed/upset’ etc) and move on.
How? By bringing yourself into the present.
That’s as succinct a snapshot of my spiritual journey as I could muster. The best thing about it is, I’m only just getting started but even when I don’t consciously feel the benefits I know they’re accruing! I could go on (and on!) but I feel like I’m rambling. Hope you enjoy my story.
Follow Dominic on Twitter here.