Meditating on Stigma

In Zen meditation (Zazen), one often meditates Holistically (mind/body) on the irrationality of the thoughts that come randomly, while sitting.
Nothing can be as Irrational as the self judgment that is brought on the by “stigma” of Mental health Management.
What are my experiences in Mental Health Stigma in the past?

  • Being turned downed by A jobs by Human resources that I am way over qualified for, because I am  a burden on the insurance.
  • Some acquaintance  who don’t want me around their family, because of hearing the term “Bipolar Disorder” tagged with criminals in the local nightly News seemingly weekly.
  • Coworkers who cannot deal with their own malcontents, who attempt to use my Mental health management as a slur against me in the work place.
  • Slurs and Jokes about Someone else’s Mental condition by supervisors right in front of me…Forgetting that I myself am Mental health  manager.
  • And the act very act of keeping my Health Management private and secretive, as if it were a Scarlet Letter.

Stigma, in fact, can come in many forms besides health:Race, Age, sexual orientation, gender in the work place, and faith.
No matter how one learns to manage “Stigma” in their Day -to -Day life: one a cumulates a large amount of Self defeating thinking and  self judgment from this…. guilt about things one cannot control(as in this case Health problems), Sometime esteem and self image problems.This virtual Self Stigmatization is some of the most irrational thinking there is.

Zen Meditation is sitting in a confident, relaxed and attentive physical posture, while letting go of thoughts that come into awareness in present time. Zazen, like most forms of meditation requires repetition and the willingness to be disciplined.

Recently, while meditating, irrational thoughts and memories of the stigmas issues I’ve dealt with. I have experientially recognized them as irrational self judging and self defeating.(* this recognition comes also with journaling and speaking privately with friends and support)
When these thoughts come during Zazen… I explore them including feelings of apprehension, worry, guilt, resentment…the bodily feelings of Anxiety… all in the context of the here and now..become aware of them accept them and then I let them go,
and continue sitting with clarity and peace.

In this sense, I meditating is only for clarity and peace, I am meditating for my own self awareness.


About chris
I write because I'm not good at it. I share because, writing without sharing seems empty. Thus, I write and share what I think is meaningful.

One Response to Meditating on Stigma

  1. thanks for this post. i’ve included it in this month’s buddhist carnival, which focuses on buddhist approaches to mental illness. here it is:

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