My Morning Meditation Made Me A Zombie – Beginners Should Know
In 2012, I was frustrated. I felt de-motivated by life and wasn’t happy in my relationship. I would fight a lot and couldn’t find much joy in anything.
I was desperate enough to try anything.
I tried a 10 day meditation course.
It changed my life. And then it screwed with my life.
Here’s my story.
I honestly had no idea what to expect during my meditation retreat and thought it would be a little holiday.
I was burnt out and needed some rest.
I committed to a 10 day Vipassana course through dhamma.org.
We were expected to be silent for 9 days, meditate 10 hours a day and eat twice a day only (breakfast and lunch).
Uh… I was shocked and confused.
First day was the hardest. Sitting for just one hour was tough let alone 10 hours of meditating over the day.
Am I supposed to do this for 10 whole days morning and evening?
Surprisingly, being silent was the easiest part. The hardest part was suddenly hearing my internal chatter screaming at me.
- How angry I am
- How frustrated I am
- How much I hate this
- My back hurts for sitting
- Saliva keeps trying to come out of my mouth
- How angry I am
- How frustrated I am
- How angry I am..
Over and over…
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
I stuck it out.
I was hungry
I was alone
I was cold (it was winter)
F*ck my life. Seriously.
I could feel other people’s pain as I went through my own.
I kept doing the meditation. Feeling my body. Working hard. Not moving for an hour.
After a few days a lot of hard work that seemed like eternity, the turning point finally came.
- I started crying for the pain I was feeling
- I started feeling sorry for the people that hurt me
- I started feeling a glimpse of peace around me
It was beautiful.
The next few days started becaming less hard. I went through my childhood in my head, letting go of the traumas I could remember and crying for the little girl that was me.
By the end of the course, I felt so much lighter.
I didn’t want it to end. I felt like a completely different person.
The instant change
When I came out of meditation, I felt like I needed to make amends to the people I had issues with in my life, regardless of what they had done to me.
This was a huge deal.
I needed to do this for me and it was difficult as hell.
1. I apologised to those people personally
I apologised to an ex boyfriend
This is a guy who, when he realised I would never date him again, slapped me in the face on my 17th birthday so hard that half of my face was completely swollen for 2 days.
This is also the same guy that called me and said he told my parents what he had done and my parents agreed that ‘I deserved it’.
My parents are I had a strained relationship at the time so I believed him.
For years I could not forgive him or my parents and it was only after meditation when I worked on rebuilding my relationship with my parents that I found out he had lied to me and my parents never knew.
This hurt me to my core. This is the kind of guy that manipulated a rift in my family that lasted for years.
I apologised to that guy for me.
I apologised to my boyfriend’s friend
This guy told my boyfriend Damien (before we were officially dating) that he ‘could have slept with me if he had wanted to’. We hung out whilst Damien was in Europe mostly because I enjoyed talking to him about Damien.
Luckily, Damien didn’t believe his friend and didn’t think too much of it. When he told me after we started dating, I was mad. Who did this guy think he was?
I certainly did not think he was a catch. He could have ruined a great relationship by creating insecurity and mistrust.
I refused to become friends with this guy until I apologised – for me.
I apologised to my girlfriends from school
These women treated me so bad at a vulnerable time in my life that it led to me contemplating suicide for the first and only time in my life.
They were my best friends and they abandoned me when I had no one. They took advantage of my deepest insecurities because I reflected theirs.
I apologised to each and every one of them – for me.
These apologies were tough as hell. Most of these people were shocked to hear an apology from me. I has always been an aggressive and angry type of person so most of these people anticipated the worst when I asked to speak to them.
It felt amazing to finally let go of these resentments.
2. My relationships changed overnight
Damien often tells people that I changed overnight after meditation. I became more patient. I was less aggressive. I was more loving and willing to allow things to go wrong.
I was generally content and our relationship became more of a partnership.
My relationship with my parents changed too. I started taking time to mend bridges and spend time with my family. I started having conversations with them and enjoying my time at my parents house.
I started becoming better friends with women. After getting burnt badly from my best friends in high school, I tended to stick with male friendships.
After meditation I allowed more girls into my life. Actually I met one of my best friends Ann at the 10 day meditation. She was in the bunk across from me in the dorm.
Change over time as I meditated in the mornings
Meditation was having such a great impact on my life that I didn’t want it to change. I didn’t want the feelings to wear off so I meditated religiously.
Every morning I would meditate for one hour.
Over time I noticed huge differences:
- I could keep calm under great stress.
- I could cut through the noise and see clearly what was really going on.
- I could keep a level head and not let emotions take over.
- I keep keep my mood consistently content.
- I could focus easily and get a lot more done.
I felt so fantastic I kept it up for 2 years.
Until I Started Questioning My Feelings
Meditators talk a lot about this elusive state of enlightenment. We can all imagine what this state would be like but the only people that seem to describe it are the people that claim to be in this state.
It’s not that I don’t believe them but this always reminds me of the story ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ where someone convinces the emperor that his designer clothes were beautiful but invisible to stupid and incompetent people (the emperor is completely naked the whole time).
The reality is I don’t know what enlightenment really means.
I do know what I can imagine:
- I imagine a state of constant happiness and well being where my energy is always light and nothing gets to me.
- I imagine myself farting roses and making everyone happy.
- I imagine a whole new level of what I experienced having kept up meditating for 2 years.
- I imagine myself being on a whole new dimension to ordinary people.
But I had serious doubts about the logic of it all. Mostly because my feelings were so confusing.
I had the ultimate control but…
2 things were forcing me to seriously reconsider continuing to meditate:
1. I felt fully in control of any negative emotions BUT I also could no longer connect with positive emotions.
We were told during meditation that passion and excitement perpetuates this loop of up-and-down emotions that are unhealthy and I took this to heart.
I started feeling like a zombie if a zombie was vegan and wasn’t trying to kill anyone.
I was existing not being able to feel great things.
I wanted to feel electric.
I wanted to feel passion.
I wanted to feel excited.
I wanted to feel something other good than constant contentment.
I started realising that bad and good emotions go hand in hand.
Hatred comes with love
Excitement comes with boredom
Passion comes with dullness
Excitement comes with depression
I could feel content enough for the rest of my life or I could learn to manage the good/bad to allow excited happiness in my life.
2. I created trauma for friends, family and people close to me
With meditation I no longer spent time being needy, insecure or love hungry. As a response, I stopped feeding other people insecurities because I no longer needed them for my own.
This posed a problem.
Those close to me wanted to feel important. Like I love them and will do anything for them.
I created a power dynamic. I thought I was pretty amazing for being able to control my emotions and refuse to play into other people’s demons.
This created a certain amount of pompousness.
The more people reacted to me, the less I would react back and it drove people crazy.
Many seasoned meditators I’ve met look down on others because they cannot control their own mind.
I was no different.
I perpetuated this cycle of others seeking validation from me.
It made me feel powerful.
And not in a healthy way…
So I stopped doing morning and evening meditation
I started changing my life to let go.
To feel more.
To let the little girl out.
To have fun.
I felt guilty at first for giving up.
But this all came with an adventure of a lifetime and continues to be one.
I have now realised that meditation is amazing for getting out of your negative thought patterns but it does nothing to make you feel a lust for life. Something we all want.
I will always have meditation to fall back on.
These days I meditate:
- To ponder on something.
- If I’m feeling particularly stressed.
- Need some down time.
It will always be a backup plan if things are going wrong and I need to manage things in my life.
But for now I wouldn’t do it long-term again. I love feeling happy and not just content.
I have prevented myself from going back down the rabbit hole of negative emotions in the past year by focusing on things I love doing (like this blog).
It has worked for me so far.