Ananda Meditation Teacher Training graduate, John, shares 2 experiences:
1. One woman “Mary” was seeing my wife, who is a psychotherapist. Mary suffered from anxiety and depression , had full panic attacks, was on antidepressants , and regularly self medicated (whenever she felt anxious…which was every day). When I first began with Mary she could not close her eyes when meditating without suffering from such anxiety that she would get up and run to the bathroom.
I used guided meditation sessions with her in the office weekly for about 3 months, and had her start at home with 5-minute eyes-open sessions just counting the out breaths 1-10 daily. Mary gradually grew her practice over the first 6 months to 20 minutes twice a day, replacing the counting with a mantra. After one year she no longer suffered from panic attacks , was off of antidepressants and had entirely quit self medicating.
Mary shared that meditation had been what made this possible for her. Four years later Mary is still sitting twice a day and no longer requires therapy or any drugs.
2. Last year I took on a student who was a Family Advocate for a local nonprofit. “Cathy” wanted to share meditation with clients. I worked with Cathy weekly for 10 weeks, at which time she had to give her supervisor a progress report on the training. When I asked Cathy to share with me what her experience had been so I could do my part of the evaluation, she simply and emphatically said, “This has been life changing.” When I first started working with Cathy, she was overwhelmed, worried, and often lost sleep. Today, she wears a pretty bright smile most of the time, sleeps well, and handles more challenges than she had in the past. This includes having started school in the fall, working nearly full time, and being a single mom. Cathy has continued her practice over the course of the last year and has recently started a meditation group on her college campus!
It has been a privilege to work with both Cathy and Mary, as they both applied themselves. It was less about me and much more about them. I gave a few pointers, they did the work, and of course meditation was the solution ….it did the magic.