many people attended world meditation day

Meditation, A Powerful Approach to Treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

November 9, 2023

By Neal

Research demonstrates that OCD is caused by maladaptive coping strategies (unhealthy behaviors) more often than anything biological, chemical, or genetic. OCD is not always noticeable. It can manifest as only minor obsessions or compulsions. Sometimes OCD can majorly interfere with our lives, relationships, and peace of mind.

Anxiety is a prominent emotion in OCD. People with OCD can experience mild to intense and persistent feelings of fear, worry, and apprehension. They sometimes need to perform compulsive behaviors to alleviate their anxiety. These compulsive feelings and thoughts can also lead to feelings of frustration, shame, guilt, anger, isolation, or sadness.

Some Common Manifestations of OCD

  1. Obsessions:
    • Symmetry and order: A need for things to be arranged or aligned in a particular way.
    • Intrusive thoughts: Distressing, and sometimes taboo thoughts related to sexual or religious themes or violent thoughts.
    • Fear of harm: Persistent fears of being harmed or causing harm to oneself or others.
  1. Compulsions:
    • Cleaning and washing rituals: Excessive hand washing, cleaning of personal items, or repeatedly sanitizing objects to alleviate contamination fears.
    • Checking and reassurance-seeking: Repeatedly checking locks, appliances, or other objects to ensure safety or prevent harm. This can also manifest as constantly seeking reassurance from other people.
    • Ritualistic behaviors: Engaging in repetitive behaviors or performing specific rituals to relieve anxiety, such as tapping, counting, or repeating phrases silently.
    • Hoarding and collecting: Difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, resulting in excessive accumulation and clutter.
  1. Avoidance behaviors:
    • Avoiding situations or places that trigger obsessive thoughts or anxiety.
    • Avoiding certain people or activities due to fear of contamination or harm.
    • Social withdrawal or isolation to minimize distress or prevent intrusive thoughts.
cowering man

Causes of OCD

There are several possible causes of OCD but the causes can be different for each person. It can run in families, indicating a genetic component but in studies no gene has been linked to it. It is probably more likely to run in families as a learned behavior or anxiety. Chemical imbalances of certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and glutamate have also been linked to OCD as well as with depression and other conditions.

Life events and upbringing have a major impact on the development of OCD. Traumatic experiences including physical or sexual abuse as well as chronic stress and major life changes can bring on OCD. Being exposed to situations in which we have no control makes us want to have some sense of control. We might respond to this with a sense of inflated responsibility to control situations or other people. 

Parental behavior can also bring on OCD. Having overprotective parents or parents with high expectations causes perfectionism (fear of making mistakes) and obsessive need to have control. Growing up in a home with family conflicts can also cause a child to develop OCD to deal with stress. We may copy parents that have OCD themselves.


From my personal experience meditation was a powerful method that got right to the heart of the problem. I was not aware that I had OCD. I didn’t feel anxious or perform irrational rituals or behaviors. I felt perfectly fine, yet it was disruptive to my life.

My OCD manifested in two ways. One way was that I was very frugal with money. I felt a sense of guilt whenever I spent money. I didn’t feel guilty buying necessities. I felt guilty spending money on vacations, buying a new car, or even slightly more expensive clothing. 

Shortly after buying a house, I began working two jobs to relieve the stress of having a mortgage payment even though it wasn’t necessary. I basically wasted some of the most important years of my life. The time I spent working would have been more valuable being spent with my family.

Every summer we would typically go to Montauk Point on Long Island for a week. It was a two-hour drive from our house. One summer we went on a holiday weekend and to my surprise the hotel room rate jumped from $150 to $400 a night. I couldn’t see why we should pay so much for a hotel room. So, I turned the car around and went home. My wife was very upset, and the kids, who were looking forward to this vacation, were crying.

unhappy family in car

The second way my OCD manifested itself was that I imposed my opinions on others. I always thought I knew the best and most practical way to do things. My strong opinions made it difficult for others to disagree and for me to truly listen to what others say. This rigid thinking caused tension in my family. All the while I didn’t see how I was causing pain for others.

A third way this OCD manifested itself was the fear of throwing things out. I collected and kept so much stuff my closets, garage, and basement were completely full and unusable. This was connected to frugality, always thinking there might be some value in holding on to something. This led to clutter and disorganization.

How Meditation Ended My OCD

I had always been interested in spiritual growth and meditation since I was a teenager. Aside from reading various books and scriptures from different religions, I occasionally practiced a little meditation along with yoga. In the past, I found it hard to focus while meditating. After five minutes my mind would wander. 

It wasn’t till I was 62 that I found this meditation.  When I went to the first meditation lecture, I shared with the instructor how I have always been looking for Truth. 

I also shared with her all the reading that I had been doing, but found that the readings didn’t seem to help me in my life. She explained compassionately, it isn’t about knowing Truth it is about becoming Truth. She described the meditation method and how this method will eliminate the root causes of our human problems.  

The first thing I noticed about this meditation practice was that I focused better because it was guided. It was explained that we hold the pictures of our past experiences in our mind. These pictures affect the way we see the world and ourselves. During meditation I was able to pull up these pictures and let them go. 

As I pulled up these pictures, I began to see how some of my feelings toward money came from pictures I held of my mother.  She was very frugal, probably because she grew up during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. I could see how I adopted my fear of spending money from her.

woman meditating on dock

The idea that I thought I knew the best or right way to do things came from a similar trait that my mother had. My mother always had strong opinions and seemed to have the most practical advice that could not be disputed. I also adopted this mindset. 

As I pulled up these pictures and released them, the feelings I was holding seemed to disappear. The attachment I had to money and the mindset that I was always “right” began to decrease. Little by little, it was like clouds in my mind disappearing and the sun gradually showing through. I was able to see the source of all those feelings that I had.

As I continued to throw away all these pictures in my mind, it became easier to throw out all the clutter I was holding onto in my house as well.

Now, as for money, I spend it when I need to without guilt or fear. My thoughts and feelings about how I spend money are no longer controlled by the pictures of money that I had  in my mind. 

Since I’ve practiced this meditation I am able to listen more deeply to others. I am more open minded. I accept their ideas without judgment or the need to give advice or opinions. I could see from others perspective and I was better able to be helpful to others. 

This meditation shows you the roots of all your thoughts and actions and it lets you eliminate them. Your mind becomes free of the hidden control that all these pictures have on you. For me, this was an extremely effective way to expose and eliminate my OCD. 

This meditation is much more than just freeing us from OCD, anxiety, depression, and other stressors. It is a way to find true lasting relief from these conditions. I know that sounds incredible but it’s true. When I see the complete turnaround this meditation has made in my life, I want to share it with everyone.