So first I'd like to say I have permission from a therapist to ask this question, so this is not "asking for medical advice".

So I have OCD. It affects me all the time, I feel this constant stress, discomfort. Thoughts and stressors bother me a lot, and tons of things cause this emotional pain.

My therapist has suggested a long meditation is the way to do it. Sitting for several hours every day until it's dead. So this is what I'm doing and want to continue to do, but I'd like some help doing it more effectively.

So I've been studying Buddhism and meditation and very unsystematic way. I think I'm starting to understand alot of it now. But ultimatelly I dont fully understand what exactly I'm supposed to be doing/not doing in meditation. I've been doing some guided mediation on vedananupassana and so far I've been feeling better. But once again, I don't exactly know how to do it... Im supposed to look at the feelings but I dont know what im supposed to do?

If I wasnt so sick right now (fatigue, acid reflux) Id probably just study buddhism formally and just practice meditation until I start feeling better. But thats not feasible right now.

So what would your advice be for me to go about this? Are there any good online courses or something?

Also an important note: Several times now, in the midst of all this stress and discomfort all over my whole body I suddenly get these pretty short lived moments of bliss. My body glows with comfort and bliss and then after a while kind of fades out. This has happened several times now and it's pretty interesting. This is what fascinates me. What do you think is causing this? My guess is I must be doing something in those moments correctly, letting go and not resisting the pain or something


4 Answers 4


A lot of therapists out there are well-versed in both the mechanisms of OCD and mindfulness today, especially those working with methods like CBT, unified protocol, CFT or ACT.

Regardless whether you get the help from a clinician, or someone knowledgeable in meditation practices, i recommend proceeding with the aid from someone guiding you through the mindfulness practice initially. Until you find your own way of applying mindfulness, it can be a lot to deal with on your own.

Also an important note: Several times now, in the midst of all this stress and discomfort all over my whole body I suddenly get these pretty short lived moments of bliss. My body glows with comfort and bliss and then after a while kind of fades out. This has happened several times now and it's pretty interesting. This is what fascinates me. What do you think is causing this? My guess is I must be doing something in those moments correctly, letting go and not resisting the pain or something

Yeah, you've seem to have picked up on something important. It may be what's called sukha within buddhist meditation, a common emotion associated with the initial stages of meditation. Consider it a bread crumb trail for you to follow.

  • What you describe is the ideal. I think that going through like a program of personal instruction might be the best way. Thankfully as a Tibetan I know a dozen monks lol. The only thing holding me back is my lingering illnesses. But maybe Ill consider doing it anyways... Based off of what I described what do you think I should do? Or what meditation should i practice? Commented May 12, 2019 at 7:21
  • Sorry to hear about your illnesses. I hesitate to give specific recommendations as the best choice probably will be the one you finally decide on. I write this since you already seem to know your alternatives, and because ultimately i believe you're the best judge for what's good for you. Whatever you decide on, i'd be happy for you if they have a good understanding of your difficulties, and a compassionate way of approaching you. Being certified in their area of expertise probably won't hurt either, haha...
    – user11699
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 7:41

I can speak from personal experience on both fronts here. I suffer from OCD, and how I experience it is as an assault of mental images and intrusive thoughts that cause me great pain (more or less how everyone experiences it I guess). For example, I will experience a stream of, vivid, mental pictures of me dropping my child to his death, or images of me tilting my chair back and crushing my dog’s skull. These images are associated with the type of emotional pain that I would feel if they really happened. I share so vividly in order to convey that I have a strong sense of how unpleasant OCD can be.

I’ve practiced mindfulness meditation with great success here. One of the compounding problems with OCD is that it tends to gain strength the more you fight it. Resisting, suppressing, or in any other manner attempting to “defeat” the thoughts almost always causes an increase in the severity and duration of those thoughts.

I’ve found that meditation is primarily about letting go and letting things be as they are and also letting things be as they’re not. When I sit and practice, what will happen almost at once is that a stream of unpleasant thoughts will rush across my mind. The immediate impulse is to respond in the same sort of way I always do in order to avoid the pain of the obsessions. But instead, when practicing, I let the thoughts be. There is no need to fix or change or suppress the thoughts in any way. There’s no need to get pulled along with them either.

Then I notice that I got hooked by a thought, and I gently bring myself back to the present and let my thoughts be as they were. Here I am - having thoughts - just thoughts and it’s okay. And I practice letting go, and getting stuck, and letting go over and over and over again, and then, here I am. And over time, I learn to let the thoughts be, and as I learned to let “it” be, “it” let me be.

Fundamentally the struggle against the monkey mind is the same whether you have OCD or not, but with OCD there is some trigger that gets stuck on autofire, so at it’s worst, the struggle can be much greater.

This is definitely a disorder brought about by differences in the way the brain of someone with OCD functions, but that said, no one really understands why.

My dad once said to me, “We’re all just chemical sacks. Maybe somethings we do can bring about changes to those chemicals.”

In my experience, there has been an exponential lessening on the grip this disorder has had on my life, and much I attribute to meditation.

I know this has been anecdotal, but I hope it is of use to you.

  • How do I know if im responding or not? It feels like im responding. And I cant tell given that i make no progress either way Commented May 18, 2019 at 19:54
  • @mikeshinoda - it’s difficult to convey briefly in a post here... by way of a metaphor: imagine you are in a river. All these pieces of debris are floating by. Instead of grabbing on to each one and letting it pull you along, just watch it go by. If you notice that you’ve been holding on to a piece of driftwood and getting pulled along, then you just gently let go. Just notice what’s passing by. Each thought exists in its own space and each thought is just a thought, and not ‘you’. But that’s as much as I can do in a comment.
    – dgo
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 12:11
  • @mikeshinoda There may also be benefit in finding a teacher, and there are many good books on the subject. Good luck
    – dgo
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 12:15

May I ask you what kind of intrusive thoughts run through your mind with your OCD?

Generally, Buddhism is never a bad thing & can alleviate a lot of problem, and at the same time, give you a lot of long lasting happiness, however you must expose yourself to certain stimuli in order to desensitize & to foster attitudinal change.

Meditation in & of itself won't do it because in-vivo exposure must occur. So if you have OCD which compells you to wash your hand 5 times after touching the bin for example, you must prevent the usual pattern & abstain from it as far as possible & do not seek any safety seeking maneuvers if possible.

Otherwise, use the principle "Challenging, but not overwhelming".

Patient endurance (khanti) is for OCD effective to circumvent a lot of those intrusive thoughts, but also equanimity, perhaps in day-to-day language called acceptance & willingness (?)

  • So the discomfort is in vivo because its happening all the time, as i write this. Its just like long term damage ive accumulated from perfectionism and panic disorder. Its just an exaggerated form of what everyone has. Lots of little every day thoughts we get, annoying sounds, things i have to do just cause a lot of stress. So I am exposed to it all the time Commented May 12, 2019 at 5:43
  • So the OCD does not revolve around a specific theme?
    – Val
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 5:50
  • I do have specific other themes of germs and such. But primarily what I experience day to day is this just severe stress. Even as I write this im stressing out over how Im writing it and if you'll understand etc. Im being more mindful of this now however :D Commented May 12, 2019 at 5:52
  • 1
    Almost all psychological problems are created because of rigid SHOULD & MUSTS (& their negatives). For example "I MUST APPEAR OUTSTANDINGLY WELL". If this rigid rule gets violated then three other extreme evaluations may take place, namely, (i) 'awfulizing': The event which will occur or occured is 100% bad & the end of the world;(ii) low frustration tolerance: You basically tell yourself you will disintegrate if the rule gets violated; (iii) Self/Other & World Devaluation: You give a global rating to you, or others, and/or world, but neglect their inherent fallibility & complexity
    – Val
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 6:01
  • 1
    So it might be first important to identify your rigid rule and then guess which of the three last extreme evaluations you hold ('awfulizing', 'low frustration tolerance' and/or self/other/world devaluation) It might be the case that you hold all three derivatives that stem from the rigid MUST. Question these attitudes by their empirical nature (Is this really true? Where is this written that I absolutely Must?) , logical (does it logically follow that just because I STRONGLY WANT TO, DO I THEREFORE MUST?) & finally pragmatical question: Will this rigid rule help me in the long run?
    – Val
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 6:10

Meditation can be done by most of the people-the reason it is not happening because they are not interested to it. So it is true that for some people dealing with thoughts, emotions and feelings is harder than others I don't think that it is a useful thing to judge yourself and say that "I have this disorder", "this is my sickness" etc.

I think that it is true to say that meditation can't be done by psychopaths, sociopaths or by the people who have serious narcissistic personality disorder and with illnesses like schizophrenia,or maybe mythomania etc.. but most people can go for it. Meditation is hard for everyone, and almost everyone is in the edge of the illnesses that I mentioned above(they are just don't aware of it or can't accept it) Also having serious emotional problems can be a fuel for a person to put more effort in meditation and s/he can potentially realize Nibbana in a very short period of time.

But whatever meditation you're doing it is important to expand it all the day, which means you're doing it all day long. Maybe in the beginning you would do it less but gradually-and even after few days or weeks-you can expand it and can do it all day long.

Mindfulness have the power to cure all kinds of mental sickness and can lead a person to permanent freedom from suffering. But is important to know that the habitual patterns of a person lasts for a long time, and solving the mental problems completely happens with two steps. First, you recognize and partially clear your mind from these patterns and then you start to clean it from the subconscious mind which leads to permanent freedom from these patterns and mind states. So the people who have these hard mental ilnesses must be patient and mustn't seek immediate results. But becoming completely free from these mind states and even going further is certainly possible with mindfulness.

  • Interesting. So where would be a good place to start on instruction? I follow Bhikku Syar Myats videos on YT where he does guided meditations for example Commented May 12, 2019 at 7:20

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