Continuing on with the discussion of the flashbacks and the cold shelf.........How does this apply to what I've learned about how and why meditation seems to help PTSD in some people?
Meditation plugs you into the "now".
It trains your brain for what you are feeling, hearing, seeing, smelling, and being right now in this very moment. Let's try something for a moment. As you sit and read this I want for you to think about your left hand or your left foot for a minute. Don't move it or change it from the position it's in, just think about it. As you think about it you may begin to feel a little heat or weight in it. Okay, now think about your right hand or your right foot. You should have the same or similar response. Now before I told you to think about your hand or foot, were you aware of it? Did it feel warm or heavy? Probably not. Mainly because I have your attention right here on the screen. You see, perception and attention really matter. We have the ability to shift what we pay attention to, that in turn can help change how you feel., but it's more than just thinking about feeling better or thinking about living better. You have to start small. What can you bring your attention to in this moment? Did your foot fall asleep as you are reading this? Can you wiggle your toes and notice how they feel? I encourage you to experiment with that. Draw your attention to a part of your body and see if you feel or sense a different sensation than before you thought about it.
When something is stressful it draws a lot of our attention and a lot of our energy. The stress of having an intense flashback is so magnetic that the brain truly believes that whatever it is you are sensing, seeing, and feeling is happening right now. You are there. You are in danger. You are not in the present moment. The magnetic pull of that is frightening. It feels like you can't ever reach safety no matter what you do, then there's the anxiety that comes after as you wait for the next trigger to cause another one. When will it happen? Where will it be?
Sitting in meditation there can be a magnetic pull, as well. You sit down to meditate and now you have a flood of thoughts, a flood of sensations, and you think...........this will never work. It's not for me. I can't turn off my brain. Nope. You can't. That's for sure. But based on the exercise that I shared with you above, you can shift your attention to where you want it to be. So in meditation if you get fidgety, honor it, it's okay. I get fidgety sometimes too. Try not to focus on the fidgeting, but maybe focus on your right hand as it rests upon your lap. You see there is a choice present. Something no one ever told me. You have a choice when you have PTSD. A concept that you have to roll around a few times in your brain before you can actually even begin to believe it.
Your choice wasn't to have PTSD, but you can make small choices as to where you put your attention. Always remember that. Try it next time something comes up. Make your brain do a quick check of its' attention and see what happens.
If your target is on your right, you aren't going to shoot left.