I practiced meditation for 6 months continuously. I used to meditate 45 mins in the morning as well as evening. In weekends, I used to meditate many rounds with breaks in between. I developed fear of loneliness due to which I have suffered from insomnia which has lasted till now though it has gotten a bit better now. I don't know if its dark night of the soul or depression. I have also been suffering from gastritis since 1 year. The stomach pain causes me anxiety and I have not been able to continue my meditation. I am waiting for both my sleep and stomach to get better so that I can continue. I sometimes feel that the problem will last till my death. I don't know how to progress from this phase. My meditation practice had definitely brought many positive changes. I have set milestones for myself regarding the practice that I think I may not reach during this lifetime. Any suggestions for me ?
You should not believe meditation is for everyone or should not believe you are a "failure" if meditation does not work out for you. In reality, serious meditation is only for a small minority of people. Some of the meditation in the Western world is just 'fondling' with a service that is advertised so some smooth talkers can make money. Few Westerners are doing actual real meditation.
Fear of loneliness ("dark night of the soul") is certainly a common and inevitable result of extensive and intensive meditation. This existential fear must be passed through to achieve any advanced level of meditation.
Therefore, if meditation has not worked out for you, please do not judge yourself negatively. Many monks meditate for many years but make little progress and disrobe.
You should see a doctor or healer for your gastritis and find some solutions for poor sleep, such as Chinese herbal medicine, exercise, swimming, metta meditation, spiritual friendship, etc.
If you believe in future lives, the Buddha taught lay people to practise generosity & keep the five precepts is enough for 'rebirth' in heaven. The Buddha generally did not teach meditation to lay people.
The sense of "self" is a natural survival instinct. Meditation can diminish the sense of "self" and this is actually not healthy for most people. Its only a small minority of people who are able to abide without a sense of "self".
Consulting a doctor would be suggested as a priority. If the body is not in a good physical condition, then one cannot meditate properly. A healthy body is a pre-requisite. Once, you are fit, as per the advice of your doctor, you can begin your meditation again. Do not worry about things. Certainly take care of yourself, but don't worry. Your journey, as hard as it is, is for you to make. We all share in the metta of Buddha, boddhisattvas and other enlightened beings. Persistence, patience and determination are qualitites that will help you in this part of your journey, and this part of journey also gives you an oppurtunity to further cultivte these qualities. Things change (anicca). May you experience anicca nature of sensations in your meditation (and come to realize the changing nature of all phenomenon) and come out of your worriness.
It is not clear what type of meditation you're following at present and the reason for doing so. If you're interested in simply reducing the stress levels at your work place, you may benefit from Mindfulness Meditation. Following 10 years of research at Oxford University targeting stress related problems in schools, the British Government has introduced Mindfulness Meditation, as official education policy in the UK and 5000 teachers have been trained to teach this type of meditation in the schools. It seems a very professional approach to address this problem of stress in schools. If you fall into a similar category, you may benefit from such a program of training. Also recommend the French Lama Matthieu Ricard, who teaches Altruistic Love, Compassion, Loving Kindness, meditation to the corporate sector such as the Google staff. These are types of meditation designed to de-stress most of us who find our school/work routine stressful. Much of this information is available on youtube.