Author Topic: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!  (Read 9207 times)

truth39

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Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« on: March 10, 2015, 03:53:49 PM »
Let me start of by saying I am extremely new to meditating and have only been doing it for 2-3weeks. Before I attempted to start meditating, I did some research mostly thru online articles and YouTube videos. I feel like I'm at a place where I wanted to feel enlightenment and find an overall peace in life. My life would be considered good from the views of an outsider but I just felt like I need something more. Clarity.

Let me start by sharing my experience with my first attempts.  My first couple of times meditating I didn't know if what I was experiencing was ok. I would sit on my bed, turn on a YouTube video that played meditation music, sit in position i.e. eyes closed, back strait, arms resting on legs. I would then clear my thoughts to absolutely nothing and "rest my mind". The first time I saw white waves and it lasted for about 10 minutes.  The second time I saw small black balls floating around eventually fading. After each time I wanted to experience more because I could also feel the energy of a warm feeling in my palms and It felt as though I couldn't move but my subconscious mind was fully aware.  Around my fourth time...I remember seeing 3 silhouettes and I was trying to figure out if they were people...they just were black shadows...but they felt nice.   During my attempts I was able to get my meditations to last from 10-25 minutes. I remember smiling once and  thinking of my family and crying. I felt like I loved them more than anything. But after each time I felt ok.

** I MUST ADD THAT EACH TIME I WOULD MEDITATE I WOULD LISTEN TO MUSIC THAT SOUNDED LIKE WAVES, BIRDS CHIRPING OR SOMETHING SOFT AND RELAXING**

******THE SCARY PART NOW*****

One afternoon, about my 6 time mediating....I did the same things as mentioned above but this time I decided to listen to a Tibetan form of mediation music. One that had the "OHMS AND AHHS" in it.  I felt like I was "advancing more" if I listened to this type of music because I was seeking progression and my attempted peace. After about 15 minutes in, I was able to clear my thoughts to nothing...In the far back I could see what appeared to be a shadow. It appeared to be moving in closer but I wasn't sure and I didn't stop the mediation because I wanted to see what it was. Finally, whatever it was it was right in front of me like it disappeared then all of a sudden I felt like "I fell into a hole"!! My mind felt as though it was leaving....extremely scary experience!! Almost like one of those dreams when you can't wake up and you jump up right before you fall deeper in. Immediately, I jumped up!!! I felt anxious and had panic attacks for 8 hours after that happened! Once my panic would subside, It would come back...over and over. I was so terrified I slept with my bible!! It has since been 2 days and I am still feeling the effects of this. Not so much panicky and anxious anymore, just the memory of it happening. I also felt some energy moving to my legs...sounds weird but true. I have read of people saying bad things can happened but this will go away...right??? :'( Should I attempt meditaion again??

Can someone be so kind as to help me understand this?  Was this even normal?? What did I do wrong? Help me please.

Love Is Best :)

Stefan

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2015, 07:24:57 PM »

there seems to be no short answer to this.

imagine a little boy. he decided that he wanted to drive to california. so he took daddys car, listened to "born to be wild" and hit the gas pedal. the first few miles where great, since there was a straight road, but then, there came the first bend, and the boy didn't know what to do. instinctively he hit the break and the car stopped one inch from a wall ... he wondered "what did I do wrong? I've seen some youtube-videos about cars. and will my jellylegs cease to be jellylegs or will I have wobbly knees for the rest of my life? will I ever be able to drive a car again?" ...

I don't want to make fun of your attempt. When we start to meditate, we all are like little boys who want to drive a car. You need a driving school, not a youtube-video. which kind of school you attend is a matter of choice. but at some point you will need a proper teacher.


... wanted to feel enlightenment ... find an overall peace in life ... need something more ... clarity ...


this is good! but there is no shortcuts to it. it is hard work actually. and it has to be like that, because this hard work will give you the strength, the equanimity, the focus, the concentration you need on this road. if a plant grows too fast, it won't be able to keep upright by itself.

So my advice would be: do some basics. The Shamatha meditation (described by Matthew in this forum) may be a good way to get started. Don't try guided meditations (as long as you are not sure which teacher to attend, which technique to stick to) - you want to learn your own pace. Don't listen to music while meditating! Music is able to take you very far in the blink of an eye. You found that out already. And, as a beginner without a teacher, do short sessions only. on a daily basis, but not overlong. Always, always keep up your sense of humor. It is a firm anchor! If you fall into the mud, the best remedy is to laugh ...  :D

Weird things might happen during a meditation session. Beautiful-weird and scary-weird. Don't let it disencourage you. Don't ignore it, but don't give it to much attention. If you hit another wall, ask. I am quite sure none of us is enlightened, but there's quite some experience assembled in this forum.

Be well!

Stefan

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Goofaholix

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2015, 09:06:18 PM »
It sounds to me like an overactive imagination kicking in based on your preconceived expectations of what's supposed to happen in meditation.

I don't think it's a good idea for you to try and learn this over the internet, find a group or a teacher, if you tell us where you are located we may be able to make recommendations.

truth39

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2015, 12:09:54 AM »
I appreciate all responses that will help add clarity to my experience. I believe anything is possible. I am located in the Metro Detroit area....so any mediation classes being taught within 20 miles of Detroit can I could attend.
Love Is Best :)

Goofaholix

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god_is_good

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2015, 03:54:46 AM »
Hi,

I am new to this forum, but, to give some background, I am a religion major.  I have a story that parallels yours, and I wanted to tell it to you, because it may relate to something that other people on this thread haven't picked up on.

In one of my classes, Tibetan Buddhism, our professor showed us a field recording of Tibetan Bonpo nuns performing the Chod ritual.  It is an advanced, vajrayana practice in which the practitioners give themselves up to demons, animals, ghouls and wrathful deities in order to pay off karmic debts.

Anyways, it was also some of the most beautiful devotional music I'd ever heard.  I got home and promptly got on youtube to find more of it.  And it gave me some of the worst nightmares I've ever had.

Coincidence?  Possibly.  But my point is, you might want to be careful about using music from a very different and alien culture as an aid to meditation.

Matthew

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2015, 10:44:12 PM »
Hi truth39,

How are you now?

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

truth39

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2015, 04:04:58 AM »
Hi Matthew,

First let me say, I really appreciate you. Ever since I have had my experience I have been feeling anxious for no reason at all. It just comes and goes. It especially comes when I am in a semi stressful situation or I think about my meditation experience. I feel kinda weird off and on. Of course I have not tried to read anything or look at YouTube videos as to how I could try to feel better  :) I'm just basically waiting to feel like myself again. I really don't get much sleep either and I think that is because I'm afraid I may have a nightmare...worst than the ones I've had. I'm just being patient and trying to act normal. Any ideas on how to get back to myself?? I actually felt better before my experience.
Love Is Best :)

truth39

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2015, 04:11:50 AM »
I would like to also add that a lot of this anxiousness occurs when I am by myself. If I am in a group talking or laughing I feel like myself. If I am alone or with people not having much of a conversation I am often feeling anxious. I actually think when I came out of my mediation so fast I scared myself and now am feeling the effects.
Love Is Best :)

truth39

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2015, 07:03:15 AM »
Hi God is Good.

Question, how long did your nightmares last? What did you do to feel better?
Love Is Best :)

Stefan

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2015, 09:06:45 AM »
hei truth39,


Any ideas on how to get back to myself?? I actually felt better before my experience.

You have no option but to move forward. Similar to the flow of a river your development moves into one direction and won't move backwards. What you have experienced cannot be undone. On the upside I can assure you that your insecure and anxious condition won't last forever either. When I first encountered a situation like yours I was shocked and scared and thought that I wouldn't be myself ever again. And I wasn't! I became a better person instead.
Consider yourself being a happy caterpillar. Your experience might be compared the cocoon stadium just before hatching. When the new butterfly leaves the cocoon, he has a hard time. After hatching he cannot fly and has to rest and pump up it's wings. And maybe he thinks "how can I get back to caterpillaring?" .... but this thought will be forgotten as soon as he stretches his wings and flies. Truth is: he never changed. The egg, the caterpillar, the cocoon, the hatching, the butterfly, the whole development, that's all him.



... a lot of this anxiousness occurs when I am by myself ...
If I am alone ... I am often feeling anxious.

The ego doesn't like change, that is where the fear comes from. My advice comes from experience: Face yourself. Face your condition. Be alone (= spend time with yourself without outward distraction). Go to bed and have the nightmare. Accept this as a temporary part of your life and it will pass. But it will not go away by hiding from your self and your fears. Dive through it. You have the strenghth to face your inner demon (as we all had and have). Gently laugh it in the face (the first remedy Dr. Omannobazong prescribes will always be humor). Keep up your patience.

And, of course, meditate. Don't be afraid of it. You jumped into the water, so now you have to swim.
Matthews instruction to shamatha meditation is recommendable:
(http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php and scroll down a little.)

I hope this helps. Be well, remain confident.

Cheers, Stefan  :)
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 09:08:59 AM by Stefan »
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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2015, 11:07:59 AM »
Sorry Stephan, but I am going to comment on your comment:
"You have no option but to move forward."
"The first remedy Dr. Omannobazong prescribes will always be humour."
If you can stretch enough to do those two things at the same time, then I support both.
If you, truth39, need to choose at this time,then I support the second.

In my view, moving forward - in terms of going on with meditation - might be unwise. I am still digesting the cry for help of truth39. So I do not have a reaction yet.

Matthew

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2015, 12:51:26 PM »
Hi truth39,

Like Quardamon I sometimes have to digest something for a while before having a felt-sense of the response. It doesn't mean it's right yet it is definitely the best I can offer you with the information to hand.

The first time I meditated it was a Tonglen meditation ("sending and taking") from Sogyal Rinpoche's Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. I was at a friends house in Munich visiting. The meditation included breathing in and drawing in the pain of the world and breathing out peace to the world.

Little was I prepared for the outcome: After about ten minutes I was deep into this practice and suddenly there was a movement of energy up and down my spine unlike anything I had experienced. It was almost as if an electric shock was travelling up and down my spine, not painful exactly but very un-nerving and it did leave me feeling anxious, so I stopped. After it had calmed down I tried the practice again to see if the same result occurred and it did. The anxiety stayed with me for a while.

I realised this was a powerful practice and that I didn't know what to do with what was happening. Looking back now it is not hard to say that I lacked a basic level of calm, was not centered and was trying a meditation too advanced for the state I was starting from.

So, having digested your first post and heard where you at now, this is the advice I would offer:

Meditation is about getting to know yourself. There may be parts of yourself that are deeply hidden, hurt or contain old anxieties that have been pushed to the back of the mind. Approached in the right way meditation will not be problematic - indeed there is much research showing how mindfulness (Pali/Sanskrit: "Sati" synonymous with "remembering") can help greatly with issues such as anxiety.

That you are OK in a group and feel the anxiety alone supports this. In a group you are wearing a well habituated mask of "you". Alone you are faced with the reality of YOU.

The important thing is to start at the beginning. Not to have great demands or expectations, and not to be aiming for some idea of "progress". It's about discovering who you are and seeing into the components of that in a relaxed yet aware way.

The meditation instructions Stefan points to are a good practice to deal with the issues you are facing. The practice is about calming your body and mind by paying gentle attention: developing a solid base for any meditation and also teaching your body to let go of habits of stress and replace them with equanimity and acceptance.

Apologies - I still have to fix the website so you can see them on their own page - this is the reason they are in full on the hompage. I would recommend copying them into a word document and printing the meditation parts perhaps.

Also this topic: http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,1859.0.html is of the utmost importance.

Your anxiety is not a result of meditation - it's always been there hiding under a stone, now you have released it (seemingly by accident) you may as well get on and deal with it as you are having to live with it.

Relax, sit, breathe, feel the body .. and when you find you are thinking gently return to breathing and feeling the body sensations that result from breathing.

Generally I would not advise any music for meditation - it is contrary to the purpose of getting to know your own mind and taming it's wild excess.

I hope something above is helpful to you. If there is anything you are unclear of please don't hesitate to ask.

Kind regards,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Stefan

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2015, 04:01:35 PM »
hi truth39 ... so, you have a lot to read right now. Just need to comment on a comment about my comment to avoid misunderstandings ...

Sorry Stephan, but I am going to comment on your comment:
"You have no option but to move forward."
"The first remedy Dr. Omannobazong prescribes will always be humour."
If you can stretch enough to do those two things at the same time, then I support both.
If you, truth39, need to choose at this time,then I support the second.

In my view, moving forward - in terms of going on with meditation - might be unwise. I am still digesting the cry for help of truth39. So I do not have a reaction yet.

thanks. I have to be more careful with what I write to avoid misunderstandings. please Quardamom, don't be sorry (only for writing my name with "ph" ;) ...), on the contrary. those topics are quite complex, so commenting the comments brings clarification:
by "moving forward" I didn't mean meditation (though I'd still recommend it). I meant to move on in general, go with the flow, accept what happened, and not crave for conditions that are in the past now. as Matthew said, truth39 "turned the stone" and is now facing what has been hidden. He has seen it, therefore cannot pretend that it is not there.
I wouldn't recommend any meditation, of course. but short sessions of shamatha will help in this condition.
and I don't see why meditation should contradict keeping up a sense of humour ... it saved me when I turned my stone.

So, truth39, please keep us posted. You are never alone.  :)
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 04:04:23 PM by Stefan »
anicca

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2015, 10:06:56 PM »
truth39 - I'm afraid that simply discontinuing it was enough.  I haven't looked up any Chod chants since then, although I would like to, because the music is very beautiful.  But my problem was of a much shorter duration than yours.  I am only sharing this experience because it might help you to avoid certain triggers in future.  There is no guarantee that the experiences are even related, and I'm glad to note there are some more experienced meditators on this thread who may be able to offer you better advice.

truth39

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2015, 10:50:30 PM »
I am very happy to hear that my situation wont last forever  ;D It brings me much solace to know this. I will move forward because I have no choice. I am open to anything that  wont leave me in that "out of body" feeling. It doesn't last all day but it does happen. Of all the positive and negative things that one can encounter during meditation, I know that I have focused more on the negative and that is why I feel I feel. I am trying really hard! I promise I am! I just want to feel like me again.  I really dislike hearing anything negative now. It puts me in a bad place. I will look into some different types of mediation and ease myself back into it.

Thank you all!! I love you all and wish you all the best possible!   :)
Love Is Best :)

truth39

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2015, 11:34:19 PM »
What is shamanic mediation? That is the type of mediation music I was listening too when this experience happened to me. Please be nice for I cannot afford anymore panic in my life.

I appreciate your advice and accept it.
Love Is Best :)

Quardamon

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2015, 12:07:08 AM »
Normally, I take time to digest, as I said. In this case I find, that that does not bring me anywhere. So i just give it a shot - or rather, a few shots.
You ask what shamanic meditation is. And you mention that you were listening to shamanic music when your terrible experience happened. Do you really need more explanation? For you, it is something to stay away from. At least, that would be a logical conclusion. I will write some more, but post this first.

Quardamon

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2015, 12:42:25 AM »
What one would hope for oneself and for others, that spiritual development goes in a nice and understandable way:
One gets a call, one wants to see more of life, one finds out that there is more then one knew. One finds out, that one even is more and different from what one knew. On does get hard times, one does get nice times, and one feels that one is growing in strength, and in understanding, and in acceptance of the world.

The path of meditation is seen that way.

From what you wrote in your first post, I do not see what you did to come to such an experience as you describe. OK. There is a bit too much of expectancy, too much of an endeavour to reach some experience or some place.
You mention, that now you sleep with your Bible. Which indicates that the Tibetan thing was maybe alien to you. That in itself - going for something alien - is going for something hazardous. In the path of meditation, you want to start from a safe place. My teacher, Frits Koster, always starts a course with inviting participants to wish themselves well.

Maybe you can help me. I hope so.
I will start to mention something that struck me, then tell what I wonder about, and then ask you to give some clarity, if you can.

What struck me, is that your thread was hijacked. Someone said things, that I could not understand, and invited you to send him a personal message if you wanted more information. So, he did not introduce himself properly - it was more like intruding. Matthew was so kind and alert to ban him within very short notice.
And then, someone reacted to that person, when he had been banned. Someone that at least introduced himself afterwards.
Weird.

Such intrusions are never mentioned on the path of meditation.
(They are mentioned on the path of shamanism, and that is a reason why I told you a moment ago to stay away from it.)
So   . . .   how to say this.    . . .    Is this something that is familiar to you, that someone can cross your boundaries from the outside? And if so, how do you recuperate normally? If it happens more often, does it happen more often that someone else steps in to protect you?
Well, you see, a waterfall of questions is coming.

In the mean time, take care of your body, take care of yourself in daily life.

god_is_good

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2015, 04:59:18 PM »
"shamanic" is a term which is often used to refer to the practice of leaving one's body to accomplish things in a spiritual world which affects the material one.  The term is somewhat disputed, that's a quick and dirty definition.

I would strongly advise you, given your current predicament, to avoid practices that use that as one of their key descriptors.

To disclose my prejudices, I lean towards believing that there is an objective spiritual reality (my handle is probably an indication of this).  I am nonetheless skeptical in general of claims of the supernatural.  However, advanced practices which may touch on things like vajrayana (buddhist tantra) or shamanism were generally undertaken in a cultural context and student teacher relationship that provided the practitioner with a framework of support and guidance.  So, I would avoid anything labeling itself tantric, shamanic, or, really, offering any kind of supernatural benefits (as opposed to the natural ones of equanimity, insight, and clarity).

In conclusion:  I would avoid things that have strongly religious connotations that are unfamiliar to you, and stick to the basic practices that are widely disseminated, like mindfulness of breathing meditation.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 05:04:35 PM by god_is_good »

Matthew

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2015, 10:02:32 AM »
I am trying really hard! I promise I am! I just want to feel like me again.  I really dislike hearing anything negative now. It puts me in a bad place. I will look into some different types of mediation and ease myself back into it.

Be sure your "trying hard" is not forceful. Relaxed awareness is important. Also don't spend too much time in the "spiritual supermarket" - the calm-abiding instructions on the homepage are well tested: I used to teach a modified version of them to students and staff at a local university to deal with work and study stress, anxiety etc.

Kindly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

truth39

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2015, 07:14:01 PM »
Although I have not tried to meditate since my terrifying experience. One day last week I woke up out my sleep with all kinds of weird energy flowing through my body. It was frightening. I have never felt anything like that and I am not sure what is was. It traveled from my legs through my body and it lasted for hours. I stayed awake because I could not go to sleep.  Was this anxiety? If so why because I felt fine when I went to bed.
Love Is Best :)

Quardamon

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2015, 05:21:43 PM »
For the next five days, I will not have the time or rest to give a proper reaction.
When I had an experience that was maybe comparable, my teacher reassured me, that the Blessed One went through all types of weird experiences. And that I could trust the process that I was in at that moment. That happened when I was on a retreat with him, so he could look closely what was happening.
From what you write, I suppose that this was not anxiety. Maybe you reacted with anxiety / with fear. But that is a different thing.
Are you, generally speaking, good friends with your body?  :) Do you take care of it, is it healthy? If so, that is a good support.

truth39

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2015, 07:31:34 AM »
I still wake up with the weird sensations. Is there anyone willing to personally chat with me and I share a little more about how I am feeling. Inbox me.
Love Is Best :)

VipassanaXYZ

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Re: Terrible Experience Now I'm Scared to meditate! Help!!
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2015, 12:46:58 PM »
Hello Truth39

I am afraid my response is going to be a different from others.

In India, when meditation teachings are given traditionally, it is given after invoking the Buddhas of the past. The place is a monastery where people have meditated in the past and cleansed the energies and usually there is an able teacher to guide you through.

Here are my suggestions:
1. Be calm and occupy the mind with noble qualities of Buddhas (liberated people).
2. Join meditators: may be look for a Vipassana centre near you. You can searc here: https://www.dhamma.org/en/locations/directory

I heard of some people in India who could come out of their experience with dark energies once they took a meditation course.

3. Visit a 'holy' place. I find places like Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Lumbini overflowing with supportive energies for the meditators and dark energies dont stand a chance there:)

4. Stay away from intoxicants. Sending you link for paritta suttas, read with your whole heart:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/piyadassi/protection.html

In the practise of Vipassana: people undertake the five moral precepts, and take refuge in Buddha, dhamma and sangha. Having a strong base in meditation, having a direction to apply the mind, being at the right place as we begin meditation -  all this is important.

Let me know if I may explain further.

Remember your good deeds, times when you helped someone or stood by the truth, recollect your strengths consciously eg. times when you received pure love (from mother for example) - these recollections are all "bright" recollections that drive away dark matter, do this from a deep place in your heart. Light a lamp, clean the place, bring some flowers for good energy and go out in sunlight. Eat light food for some time, fruits, salads etc.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 12:51:58 PM by poojavassa »