Dave P,

You are absolutely correct that we are (at least I'm not) an expert of OCD.  
You should be consulting someone who is (medical doctor or psychologist) for 
any real suggestions of theraputic treatments.

On the other hand you are also absolutely right that irrational fear is a 
common experience for all of us.  By saying that you are implying that OCD is a 
term that doesn't really describe a qualitative abnormality, but merely a 
quantitative extreme.  In other words you are implying that people with OCD are 
not actually different than those without it; but that they only display the 
same  symptoms that define OCD as everyone else, but in a more amplified manner.

Since I tend to agree with that thought - that OCD is not a distinct state but 
rather an extreme on a broad spectrum of behaviour, I will offer some 
suggestions - actually just one suggestion:

Sit.  Sit zazen, which for me implies shikantaza - clear mind.

The problem I see with that for you is the same problem is was for me in the 
beginning, and probably is for everyone else: It's very difficult to sit and 
not think of anything.  We're just not used to doing that.  We're used to 
having are mind busy all the time.  In some zen circles that is called 'monkey 
mind'.  It's a mind that constantly chatters away and swings from this side to 
that side never ceasing - like a monkey in a cage.  How do you quiet that 
'monkey mind'?  That is exactly what zen practice is all about - quieting your 
'monkey mind' (which I usually refere to as your 'discriminating or rational 

Zen and Chan Buddhism have come up with a lot of techniques that help lead you 
to this state.  I'm only really familar with the Japanese Soto and Reinzi Zen 
Buddhist schools, but they tend to use only a few techniques.  The 
zazen-related ones I am familar with are: counting breaths, chanting (including 
repeating a mantra, both verbally and silently), bowing, koan study and 
introspective observation (just sitting and observing your 'monkey mind' doing 
it's thing, but keeping 'your self' apart from it - like an observer).  

Of these the ones I that worked best for me were counting breaths and koan 
study, although I've done all of them at one time or another and have benefited 
from all of them.

To properly do any of these you should probably engage a teacher - another 
expert like the doctor or phychologist - but you can still get some benefit out 
of counting breaths, chanting, bowing or even introspective observtion on your 

The biggest challenge you are going to have is to feel that it's okay, that's 
it's safe to just 'let it all go'.  To let all that thinking and planning and 
worrying just melt away - and believe you will still be okay without them.  For 
that I could only personally assure you that is will be okay, in fact it will 
be a whole lot better.

If you don't beleive me you can hear the same thing from countless people who 
have experienced this.  One of the best I've read comes from the Desiderata by 
Max Ehrman:

"Beyond a wholesome discipline, 
be gentle with yourself. 
You are a child of the universe 
no less than the trees and the stars; 
you have a right to be here. 
And whether or not it is clear to you, 
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."



--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "Dave P" <wookielife...@...> wrote:
> I've been trying to keep up with the zazen, mostly with success, and keeping 
> up with the mindfulness, but I still have the nagging question that troubles 
> my OCD:
> What do I do when, in order to confront my OCD, I must do something that 
> feels "wrong," that feels like I'm endangering myself?
> I know you're not experts on OCD, but you must have had some experience with 
> a fear that seemed completely rational. It is, of course, the uncertainty 
> that hurts the most. Any suggestions?


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