Will any meditation help give me hope against anxiety?

meditation Nepal meditation in classrooms
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I settle comfortably, close my eyes and focus on my breathing. I take a deep breath and exhale slowly. You may have guessed that I am meditating or at least trying to. However, my thoughts are whirling while they wander from one subject to another even as I try to rein them in.

As a socially anxious person, I am a bit nervous to be in this meditation session. Clad in loose, flowing white or red garments, people around me seem to be quite relaxed as they follow the guidelines of the instructor whose voice is calm, resonant and soothing. On cue, I too focus on following through with these instructions.

As I breathe, the sweet fragrance of incense wafts through the room. Sounds of birds chirping percolate from the windows as the afternoon light filters in. There is a rhythmic sound of deep breaths being inhaled and exhaled. A melodious flute tune plays in the background, which is interspersed once in a while by the instructor’s voice.

I am in this meditation class because I want to attain the calm state of presence that meditation is known to produce. And this class in attendance is organised by Osho’s disciples who impart the teachings of Osho, a spiritual leader from India. Osho himself was heavily influenced by Lord Buddha among other spiritual gurus. Indisputably, like most Nepalis, I too have heard of Osho’s meditation techniques, which I am currently hoping will get me results.

As such, is it just hype or is there hope for me?

Casting away self-doubts

Vipassana meditation
Photo by Max on Unsplash

I came here with an open mind, but I am feeling a little intimidated by the formality of the class and how my fellow participants seem to feel quite at home with the practice of meditation. Casting aside my self-doubts, I channel my thoughts to my breathing.

As I breathe in the sun-filtered room with the instructor’s voice resounding in my ears, I remind myself to be mindful of my thoughts and emotions as each second pass by. With each inhale, I take in air through my nostrils and in each exhale, I breathe out slowly.

Still, even though I seek quietude, my thoughts keep chattering in the depths of my mind. They turn to the past or leap to the future all the while evading the present, even though the instructor is advising us to be at the present moment.

“Be here and now.” However, I find it easier said than done. As an anxious person, I am prone to catastrophising and overthinking. My mind tends to race with thoughts. It is one of the many reasons why I am here in this meditation class. I want to gain mastery over my anxious mind, not be its vessel to churn endless thoughts. And all the while I am inhaling and exhaling, I am asking myself: Will this work?

Being in a state of peacefulness

Vipassana meditation
Representational image. Photo: Pexels/ Alteredsnaps

Yet, minutes pass by in deep breathing and as the session comes to an end, I am surprised to see that my thoughts have calmed down significantly and a sense of quiet has settled in my mind. Somehow in an hour of meditation, my whirring nerves have relatively soothed to a state of peacefulness.

And when the instructor concludes the class, I gratefully join my palms together in a gesture of namaste and extend my gratitude to the universe, cosmos and divinity. I also say thanks to my parents, family and spiritual leaders.

Gradually, I open my eyes and see people in a sort of calm and collected presence. I too feel a happy buzz and I vow to meditate routinely and practice mindfulness. The buzz of meditation remains with me even on my way home.

Now as a regular practitioner of meditation and mindfulness, I have somewhat found a sense of respite from my anxious mind. My anxiety still occasionally races in social situations and every now and then, I still have a tendency to catastrophise. But I see a glimmer of hope in the dark clouds as my mind seeks a place of peace, harmony and joy through meditation.     

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Poudel is a freelance writer from Kathmandu.

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