Wellness Bulletin

Everything is Connected: Autism, Schizophrenia, Depression, Mania, Bipolar Disorder, Politics and the World

Guideline II
 Practice Moderate Zen Buddhist Meditation.  Your goal is to heal yourself, not to be a Qi Gong Master.

 

Removing these thoughts from your active memory may be difficult to do, but meditation will aid you.  "Living in the moment" is part of this Buddhist practice.  It is a state where one simply enjoys the present--not thinking about the sorrows of the past and not being worried or paranoid about the future.

Your schizophrenic, bi-polar, or schizoaffective mind usually keeps running.  During manic episodes, your mind becomes cluttered with numerous ideas, thoughts, and voices.  But meditation helps in simmering down brain activity to the relaxed alpha state.  It releases chemicals called endorphins that normalizes and even enhances your mood.  It also allows you to become detached from your stressful thoughts. And while your mind easily becomes distracted with voices, thoughts, and “visions,” meditation allows you to regain your concentration.

There are dozens of available meditation techniques, but you should start with simple meditation first.  Sit on a cushion in a cross-legged position or relax on an upright chair, and rest your hands on your knees.  Your back should be straight to allow your diaphragm to move freely.  Then close your eyes, relax, release all your tensions, detach yourself from your thoughts, and then bring your attention to your breathing.  When you start, take long, slow, deep breaths, but gradually move back to your breathing’s natural rhythm.  Breathe through your nose, and focus your mind on the cavity at the back of your nose, where you inhale and exhale.  Of course, your mind will eventually drift towards other thoughts, or it might start listening to your “voices.”  So, just guide your mind’s attention back to your breathing.  And when you are finished with your meditation session, slowly stand up and stretch your body.  Finally, try to retain this relaxed state of mind as you go about your daily business.

Be sure to master this basic technique first before attempting more complicated techniques.  Other techniques include the “Vipassana,” where you allow various thoughts to pass through your mind, and then you let go.  There is also another practice that produces “metta” or focused compassion and kindness towards your friends, acquaintances, enemies, and everyone else in the world.  This is useful in minimizing psychosis.  You may also eventually try healing meditation—visualizing your brain being repaired and healed.

In the end, when you meditate, don’t overdo it.  Remember to practice moderation.  If you are a teenager, don’t forget your chores and your studies.  And if you are an adult, be mindful of your work or your business.  Avoid meditating to the point where you neglect your employment or your entrepreneurship.  Otherwise, you’ll be going back to square one!

You should also specially avoid learning the arts of the Qi-Gong Masters, who supposedly can control their Qi energy, using their minds, to move objects without touching them, to transmit healing Qi energy from their hands, or to shift their body weight so that they can walk on paper, or walk on water.  Remember, your objective is to heal yourself, not to be a circus performer.  So, if by accident, you learn some of these arts, keep it a secret, unless you want to be “crucified.”

As Hong Ying Ming says, “to conquer ‘demons,’ first conquer your mind.  When the mind is subdued, ‘demons’ withdraw obediently.  To control knaves, first control your own mood.   When your mood is balanced, scoundrels cannot get at you.”  But in doing so, he reminds you not to overdo it, since “hidden schemes, weird arts, strange practices, and unusual abilities are all sources of calamity in social and professional life.  Only by normal qualities and normal actions can one keep natural wholeness and bring peace.”