By Narendra Maheshri
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a debilitating condition that truly robs an individual of happiness and joy. The individual with OCD is often not the only one to suffer as a result of the disorder since most obsessive-compulsive individuals share their need for rigidity and excessive structure with those closest to them. While there are medications that have proven beneficial for those with OCD, meditation is an effective alternative as well.
At first glance, an individual with OCD may look like an overachiever that has everything going for them. They are always on it, always making sure that things are done according to plan or procedure. These perfectionist-minded individuals are often valued at their places of work for the high standards and work ethic they bring to the job. This is the positive side of this disorder.
What many people never see is the pain, worry and fear that individuals with OCD face on a day-to-day basis. People with OCD do everything to the extreme because in their minds, they have no choice. While others may look at a project or situation and say that it’s excellent, for the person with OCD, it’s never quite good enough. In order for them to feel safe, valuable and worthwhile as a human being, everything must be perfect, all the time. This is unrealistic to the extreme because life is often messy and unpredictable. Humans are in their power when they allow themselves to let go and accept this present moment exactly as it is.
OCD is much more common than most people realize, and this is probably due to the fact that people suffering from the repetitive thoughts and behaviors realize that their fixations are irrational. This in turn causes them more stress and results in more clinging to rituals and perfection in order to save them from their anxiety. Since there is shame involved, many who have OCD meticulously hide their disorder from those around them as much as possible.
All humans cling to illusion, and OCD is simply this insane, irrational clinging taken to an extreme. We try to bend our external reality to fit the needs and wishes of our minds, and when life seemingly fails to be everything the mind believes it ought to be, there is pain and suffering.
This suffering happens when humans become identified with their minds. The thoughts, feelings, and patterns of the mind are not the true essence of a human being. Meditation is a powerful way to begin regaining control over the overactive and fretful mind. Though many methods of meditation are useful, mindfulness meditation is one of the most effective to counter and combat OCD.
Begin each morning sitting quietly, observing the mind. Most individuals with OCD are painfully aware of their own personal quirks and fixations, and as these repetitive thoughts fire in the brain, simply observe them. Do not berate or judge if one of these repetitive patterns pops up because by judging them, one strengthens them. Simply watch the thoughts; see them as they are, but do not act on them. This will be the hardest part in the beginning, since the mind will likely believe that the sky will fall if these compulsions are not acted upon.
Continue to sit and observe the mind on a daily basis, and watch it spin in its futility. You are not that mind; you are the presence that is watching it and allowing it to be as it is. Repetitive thoughts are not a problem; the mind is not a problem. You are the compassionate being that is wholly separate and so grounded and centered in the depth of itself that the mind holds no sway over it.
Many with OCD have faced difficulties with family and friends who stood in judgment of their compulsive behavior instead of responding to it with love and forgiveness. Let your own observing presence be that forgiveness now. By observing without judgment, an unspoken acceptance and forgiveness is present.
As meditation is made a daily habit, the sessions will grow easier and in time, a person with OCD will have an essential detachment from the mind. Withdrawing the attention from the mind draws energy away, and eventually the mind will grow silent, knowing that its ranting and raging is falling on deaf ears.
At this point, one may graduate from mindfulness meditation to other meditation forms, which are commonly practiced in Yoga sessions, such as breath awareness or guided meditation. Mindfulness meditation will no longer be a priority, because mindfulness is now the default state of being.
There is no need to be a slave to an obsessive-compulsive mind. Through the power of your own attention and presence, freedom from this difficult condition is possible. The only side effect of this treatment is a pervading sense of inner stillness and peace.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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