I'd been coping with a severe depression for about a year before I began to meditate. When my therapist and I seemed to stall in our progress, he suggested I give meditating a try in the hopes that by becoming more aware of my own thought patterns, I would be able to isolate the ones that were making me unhappy. What started out as a promising endeavor, though, has proved to be another dead end as I remain crippled by self-doubt, existential dread, and an all encompassing sense of alienation from those around me. The only difference is that now I can shoot fire out of my hands.
I’ve been sitting every day for at least a half an hour, usually entering a meditative state through ujjayi breathing. Once begun, however, I find that my only solace from the onslaught my own negativity is snapping my fingers and making a small fire-figure dance across my palm for my own idle entertainment.
None of the books said anything about this. Most of them promised that after a while I would notice small changes in my day to day life: feeling more at ease over little mishaps, being able to avoid pits of anxiety, and gaining perspective on my problems, but none of them told me I would be able to blast a vortex of flames out of my palms in an unholy display of some long forgotten power.
I never asked for this. All I wanted was to be able to get out of bed without replaying every mistake I’ve made in my life, which I still do, before body-surfing a wave of fire into my bathroom to prepare myself for the long day ahead.
After the fourth consecutive day suffering a panic attack during my morning commute, I tried going to a group meditation for more guidance, but was kicked out when the instructor saw me levitating several feet off the ground, engulfed by flames, fireballs orbiting around me in an immaculate symphony of light and heat.
There is no comfort to be had in this power. My existential woes did not disappear after creating a firescape in the night’s sky for a Michigan township to admire, or after saving a group of children from freezing to death in an Alaskan ice cavern. My circumstances didn’t lead me into depression, my thoughts did, and now my thoughts have more power than ever as I rest on my fire-cloud gazing wistfully down at the strange little world below.
I am told that I’m worshipped as a deity in some areas of the world and that news of my abilities have created somewhat of a stalemate for the world’s superpowers, ensuring world peace for the foreseeable future. These facts give me no comfort, they just serve as proof of the discrepancy between my outer accomplishments and my inner sorrow.
If you're considering meditating to help you through a mental health crisis, I would say seek professional help first, or you too might find yourself easily fighting off an intergalactic race bent on conquering earth, while struggling to cope with a crushing feeling of guilt because of one fight you had with your little brother ten years ago. It’s just not worth it.