Anxiety and Meditation

A few years ago I started regular daily meditation when I was dealing with a stressful situation. As my stressful situation involved another person I will need be a little creative in the telling of the story…

This is a true story but the names (and circumstances and my ownership of an island…) have been changed to protect the innocent.

I own an island in the Pacific Ocean. Yes, I do and it’s called Tapioca. Yes, it’s a beautiful island and yes the weather there is always sunny. Except when it’s raining, torrentially. I have always loved going there for little holidays and I have always loved coming home at the end of my little holidays. My island has taught me that you can have too much of a good thing. Anyways, this story is about the time my island’s volcano started to rumble. As I own the island I also own the volcano so I am responsible for any damage my volcano does. As soon as I could I flew to Tapioca to see how I might be able to minimise the damage.

caitlin-wynne-462953Photo by Caitlin Wynne on Unsplash

Having a plan always makes me feel less stressed so I was very calm on my arrival. And I continued to be calm for about ten minutes. My anxiety was due to my proximity to a stress producing situation combined with an inability to control said stress producing situation.

The volcano seemed itself to be stressed, otherwise why would it be rumbling? When my volcano seemed stressed I lapsed into an old pattern from childhood of become stressed. It’s a very unproductive stress as there isn’t anything you can do to change the situation. The only thing that helps is to move away from the stress… but that wasn’t possible. You see I would have to spend a lot of time on Tapioca, until the rumbling stopped. I knew I couldn’t do this without help. So I bought some wine. Not my best idea. It turned out meditation was much better than wine and it had the added advantage – no hangover.

Four months later the volcano had stopped rumbling and I could leave the island. Moving away from Tapioca decreased my stress immediately and I let the daily meditation habit slip to every other day. Within a week I had stopped completely. There was a period of grace where the meditation I had already done over the previous months keep me going then slowly but surely the good effects faded.

mandy-beerley-154518Photo by Mandy Beerley on Unsplash

Then last September the volcano on Tapioca started rumbling again. This time not only was the main volcano rumbling but two other, previously dormant, volcanos started to spit lava. The news had hardly reached my ears when I started to get anxious. My mind told me such fearful and strange stories that I was constantly on hight alert. The anxiety was kinda undirected because in the intervening years I had set up a management committee and a technologically futuristic warning system. These measures ensured that no damage would be done by the volcano. There was nothing for me to be anxious about and yet I was filled with dread. I started drinking the wine but the hangover told me this wasn’t the solution. So I returned to meditation.


Photo by Sébastien Jermer on Unsplash

Today, I’m up to 70 consecutive days and feeling very happy with myself. I’m happy because I am experiencing very little anxiety. I’m even happier because I am doing something every day that is good for me. The volcano continues to rumble and the two newly active volcanos continue to spit lava… but I am fine. I decided I didn’t need to visit Tapioca quite so regularly and when I do visit and the rumblings ignite my anxiety, I remind myself that this will pass and it does.

Anyone interested in a Pacific island? At a bargain price?

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