by a Meditator
I started to meditate when I was 24. However, it fell by the wayside after age 30 because I became focused on a yoga practice.
Sadly, at age 45, I was diagnosed with a major depression. It was a life altering and life threatening illness. I was invited to join the meditation group but my mind felt too restless to consider this option. Several years later I bumped into Sanghamitta. For some reason I asked her if the meditation group was still happening. It was and unexplainably, I started to attend the group the next week.
The meditation was difficult due to my depression and my restless mind. But for some unknown reason I persisted. Gradually, after a couple of years something started to change. I started to be able to feel the good energy in the meditation room and the teachings started to make sense to me.
One day, I arrived early for group and told Sanghamitta that my depression was returning. She asked me what thoughts I was thinking. This question woke me up. I realized I was thinking negative thoughts..... catastrophizing .......creating a self fullfilling prophesy. I realized I was letting my illness define me.
During that meditation sitting, I slipped back into negativity and was grumbling about why I had even bothered to come that night. But then the thought arose, "Just let it go!" I did and immediately felt a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I felt peace and serenity. I felt transformed. The depression was gone.
A few months later the depression started to return. But now I knew what to do. I said to myself, "You've done this before. Just let it go." Instantly, the depression lifted away. It has never returned. Twenty four years of mental illness, gone. At this writing it has been gone for two and a half years.
When other life challenges arise, I just take a moment to breathe and face whatever it is, head on.
My doctor asked me if I thought it was the meditation or my medication that changed me. I told him that, definitely, it was the meditation. He then said that scientifically he knew that meditation caused changes in the brain but he had never seen it unfold before. Since then he has been decreasing my medications with the goal of eventually stopping them.
I owe a debt of gratitude to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.