Christmas 2020 to April 2021
Around Christmas 2020 I experienced a panic attack, the first one I’ve ever experienced. Not the most pleasant of happenings, I’m not sure exactly what caused it, perhaps a culmination of a few different things. Lockdown was difficult, I was working for a tetraplegic with very strong narcissistic tendencies(just what an empath needs). This work was a massive source of anxiety on top of the underlying anxiety that’s been with me since childhood.
The panic attack proper put the wind up me, gave me a real shake, a big fear of the fear crept in and I started practicing spiritual awareness, just like I did in Greece all those years ago in the hope of finding some peace. I’d always been drawn to the teachings of Adyashanti in my spiritual life which led me to find his 30 day wake up challenge on Audible, this was a 30 day challenge with short practices to complete each day. This short course kinda gave me some structure to work with and I went about going through the course. I remember quite clearly doing one of Adya’s heart practices and feeling really ‘open’ in my heart area for the rest of that day, the feelings of gratitude and love were present in my body without any effort. I hadn’t felt feelings like that for years and years, I became the passive observer of my mind and surroundings which was helping me detach a little from the not so pleasant life story of mine. I was more anchored in my body in my work place which again was a big help in keeping me present around a very negative employer. I was also working a little with death awareness as I was going about my day. I thought I was smashing it. I thought to myself give it a few months and I’ll be wide awake, dickhead me!
We’re now in March and the next spate of panic attacks were quite horrendous, I thought I was losing it, really losing it. I’m not sure what brought these about, the spiritual practice, the previous events on top of everything else in my life or both, but I’d never experienced fear like it. I was so confident that I was making progress on the spiritual path and was hit with more attacks of fear. I was scared to go out of the house, to go shopping, to go to work to carry on with the spiritual practice to socialise. That said I still had a house to run, a daughter and two cats to feed, bills to keep on top of, a vehicle to keep on the road and the rent to pay. I went about things the best I could, my daughter did the shopping when I was too scared to do the supermarket. It was really difficult to be around people and being in public places really brought a lot fear. I could still get out for walks on my own which I did. I walked miles and miles and miles, up and down rivers, along canal tow paths, through forests, around reservoirs up and down country lanes wondering what the fuck was happening to me. I was scared, I was confused and I didn’t even recognise my own hands. My mind was all over the place, I was falling apart, I remember being in a forest that I’ve been in many times before feeling totally disorientated and lost.
I must have watched every one of Adya’s videos on Youtube on the topic of fear and confusion, and I took his advice to remain concious, to give it space, quite difficult when the fear levels were so high but I couldn’t see any other way. I was fighting the fear like a caged animal which was probably making things worse or more like definitely making things worse. There was a day at work I remember quite well, the fear levels were high and I had to drive across town on an errand, the traffic was bad which made me more nervous. I was at the traffic lights and the words ‘Brahman in the Atman’ came up into my mind from no where. I was loosely aware that these words might be Sanskrit but I never knew what they meant as I’ve never studied Hindu scripture. I googled the words on my phone after the errand was run and learned that Brahman means The Ultimate Reality, The Highest Universal Principle or God and I learned that Atman means Soul or Spirit Why would these words come to mind from no where? There was also a very brief feeling of relaxed lightness, only for seconds or a minute, the need to people please vanished. I was still confused and still am, scared I was going mad, but after learning the meaning of those words a little bit of reassurance came in. Had the spate of panic attacks triggered something? Had the Divine just shattered my ego structure? Could there be some kind of awakening happening?