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Panic

gottzigottzi Essex, UK New

Hello all, so today I was doing my usual sitting practice, after mindfulness of dog walking, and being aware of my breath I noticed the breaths shorten to the point where it felt like I wasn't taking enough oxygen in. At this point I panicked and came out of my meditation.
Has anyone experienced this?
How can I avoid it

With Metta
David

Comments

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    If this happens again, as you inhale count to five and as you exhale count to five. Keep this up until the panic subsides...

    lobsterBunks
  • gottzigottzi Essex, UK New

    Is thus then a normal process?

    David

  • It is normal for the mind/body to do just about whatever it does. I am very familiar with this panic arising. It happened to me quite recently during a sangha visit and was due to physical chest tightening, holding the breath in shallow mode.

    Learning to deepen/soften the breath will allow you to develop confidence in meditation-like focus/right concentration.
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/inmind.html

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    It could be panic, could be something else - or panic combo - Like I discovered that I had a B12 deficiency and once I started taking B12 supplements and eating steak and other food that's known to have B12, I started feeling a whole lot better. You never know.

    lobsterrohitSwaroop
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited February 2016

    ^^^ Yes eat cow as a path to dharma haven o:) ... b12 is important but I feel breath awareness is more applicable ... Had some luvvly beef and mustard today. Plus prawns, pork pie and all manner of forbidden naughtiness, masala wine for example. I is bad, bad Buddhist (and maybe not even that) ...

    Gently, softly, gradually, enter the Middle Way-Hey Buddha, wot ya knowing ...

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    O U didn't have to say it like that, lobbie - I hope it helps if I apologize to my meat! O.o

    lobster
  • ^^^ Sorry steak. Sorry porky pie, sorry shrimpies ...
    Om Mani Peme Yum ... that sort of thing? ;)

    No need to panic over food. Ay curumba. These Buddhists O.o

    LOL - gently, softly ...

    silverWalker
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    @gottzi said after mindfulness of dog walking

    Your dogs must be a lot better behaved than mine. Walking the dogs - running the dogs, I should say - is what puts me into a panic.

    I've certainly been at the point you describe - a little voice says to me "Hey dude, you ain't breathing anymore" - but it's rarely been a problem - just a matter of returning to mindfulness of the body, of the breath.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @gottzi said:
    Hello all, so today I was doing my usual sitting practice, after mindfulness of dog walking, and being aware of my breath I noticed the breaths shorten to the point where it felt like I wasn't taking enough oxygen in. At this point I panicked and came out of my meditation.
    Has anyone experienced this?
    How can I avoid it

    With Metta
    David

    It reminds me of this

    and this

    Well for a start @gottzi trying to avoid it, is aversion and aversion is one of the BIG Buddhist no nos ...It's best just to embrace/befriend the panic, the more you welcome it, the weaker it will become...

    Being aware of the breath during meditation is like holding a delicate butterfly in the palm of your hand...Don't grip it (try to take 'control' ) or it will be crushed, just let it gently sit, free to come and go as it pleases...There's no 'holder'...only holding...Just as there's no doer only doing :)

    lobsterlittlestudentpossibilitiesTara1978
  • Also, remember that you literally can't die from lack of oxygen as long as you actually breathe (and if you were to pass out, which is almost impossible to induce from not breathing enough, your body would breathe again by itself). Knowing that nothing dangerous can or will happen and continue focus on your breath could help you a whole lot.
    I once had a real panic attack which lasted almost twelve hours. Needless to say it was very uncomfortable, but knowing that 1) I was in fact breathing and would not die or pass out and 2) If I gave in I would teach my body that such a reaction to irrational stress was appropriate, I got through it. My body was still on edge for a couple of weeks after and I experienced flash backs. I simply ignored it and continued my scheduled activities. It is now three months ago since I had the first panic attack and I had a brief flash back this very Friday. Again, I just ignored the physical symptoms. No panic is getting the best of me - that's how I feel.

    Shoshinsilver
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    You may have simply hyperventilated. Once this triggers, it is hard to stop it. Focusing on taking very slow breaths may help. Also switch from dog walking to dog running.

  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    The very short breaths are a sign that your forcing your concentration to much. Relaxa bit.

  • It can take a mountain of courage to say "yes" to panic when all the brain wants is surcease. As evidenced by a calm description of a nightmarish scenario - it passed - but the brain has a propensity for remembering having the shit scared out of it. Something about survival and fight or flight psycho babble. My panic attacks have occurred off the cushion but have drawn me to the cushion to help.

    lobster
  • Well said @IronRabbit

    Embracing panic ... My body [PBUH] used to wake up sometimes in a fearful state. Did not know why. It was slightly dehydrated I eventually discovered. It was a very useful practice to not hydrate before I had learned to allow the anxiety to relax, be acceptable and dissolve into nothing ...

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