--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "Dave P" <wookielifeday@...> wrote:
> I understand where you're coming from, but for me the problem is 
> contamination. Since everyone has a desire to be healthy, I don't know what's 
> a healthy way of avoiding contamination and what's an unhealthy way. 
> How do you deal with the uncertainty?
  Hi Dave. All OCD is connected to fearful uncertainty. In your case it is fear 
of contamination. In my case it is a fear that, through inattention, I left the 
stove on, the coffee-pot on, the door unlocked, or any number of other things 
unchecked. Neurologists believe that it is a malfunction of an area of the 
brain called the amygdala. The thing is, most people with OCD realize how 
unreasonable their fears are, yet they are still tormented by them. I'm pretty 
sure you understand that your immune system is quite capable of dealing with 
common germs. You need to recognize that your fear is purely the malfunctioning 
of an area of your brain connected to survival concerns. In terms of 
mindfulness, it is an excellent opportunity to explore the delusion of ego. Is 
not the ego just a mass of fears? The way I deal with the uncertainty is by 
co-existing with it. Key to this was developing the ability in both zazen and 
everday life to just be aware of fears, anxieties and impulses as they arose, 
without identifying with them and without trying to make them go away. Is not 
the ego-delusion all about being pushed and pulled? Here is my practical advice 
to you. It will be very, very difficult. If your OCD fear revolves around 
contamination, then I suggest that you deliberately touch your toilet seat and 
then go sit down to meditate, making the anxiety the object of your meditation. 
Don't wash your hands for the entire duration of the meditation session. Don't 
try to make the anxiety go away. Just look at it. I suggest that you set a 
timer for at least half an hour. During that period, just follow your breathing 
and be aware of the anxiety. When the session is over, make a point to tell 
yourself, "This anxiety is unreasonable. It is purely the result of a 
malfunctioning in my brain." Then go wash your hands briefly and find something 
else to do. Practice this as a routine every day. What you are doing is 
deconditioning your amygdala via neuroplasticity. Each day the anxiety will 
lessen until it will scarcely trouble you at all, imo.
At least give it a try. 


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