Types of Meditation: A Guide for People with BPD

July 10, 2012 Becky Oberg

Types of meditation, like mindfulness, are an important part of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a popular treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD). Other types of meditation may also be helpful in controlling symptoms of BPD too. But how do you meditate? What type of meditation should you use?

Three Types of Meditation

There's lots of ways to meditate, but I'll cover three. Mindfulness meditation is watching your thoughts come and go, like waves on the ocean. Religious/spiritual meditation is thinking about a sacred text. Finally, there is traditional meditation, which is associated with yoga.

Mindfulness Meditation

You don't need a lot of bells and whistles for mindfulness meditation. It's just you and your thoughts. You let your thoughts come and go without judging them. Some will be disturbing. Some will be uplifting. Both are normal and okay. They don't make you good or evil. They're just thoughts. Being "alone with my thoughts" is mindfulness meditation.

My favorite place to do mindfulness meditation is the City-County Building in downtown Indianapolis. What a lot of people don't know about this place is that there is an observation deck which is open to the public. The observation deck features the best view of Indianapolis in the entire city; everywhere you look on all four sides is more of the city.

This place is peaceful for me, and as I look out at the city, I reflect on my mortality, my place in the world and my life in the city. I just stand there and let my thoughts wander. It's very relaxing, and I highly recommend you find a favorite place to do mindfulness meditation.

Religious or Spiritual Meditation

There is a great wealth of sacred writings and religious/spiritual books. They all have much to say about the human experience. Meditating on what these books say can help with the more self-destructive symptoms or low self-esteem common to borderline personality disorder.

Some examples:

"Hold to forgiveness, command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant." (Qur'an 7:199)

"Brooding about sensuous objects makes attachment to them grow; from attachment desire arises, from desire anger is born. From anger comes confusion; from confusion memory lapses; from broken memory understanding is lost; from loss of understanding, he is ruined. But a man of inner strength whose senses experience objects without attraction and hatred, in self-control, finds serenity." (Bhagavad-Gita, 2:62-64)

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Bible, Isaiah 40:29-31)

These are just three examples worth meditating on. You may find your own. It's important to use what's right for you.

Traditional Meditation

The good news is you don't have to get in a difficult yoga pose to meditate, although poses have their usefulness. My favorite pose is to kneel, with my hands on my knees. Then I close my eyes and focus on nothingness. I find this very peaceful, and the pose is easy to maintain.

You can also focus on a mantra, which is a word or phrase you repeat over and over again. A mantra is a very personal thing, so you should chose something that meets your needs, or, if you have a teacher, something he/she recommends. Mantras can add power to traditional meditation.

Regardless of which type of meditation you choose, you may find it to be immensely beneficial to you. For example, mindfulness meditation has been shown to change the shape of the brain and even help with physical problems. Meditation is a powerful healing tool for people with BPD. You have nothing to lose by trying it, and you have so much to gain. Good luck!

APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2012, July 10). Types of Meditation: A Guide for People with BPD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Becky Oberg

September, 20 2017 at 8:38 pm

I recovered through one year of Zen meditation. Twenty minutes at night. Twenty in the morning. I was under a Dharma teacher named Mark O'Leary from the Cambridge, MA Zen center. It was during a time where I was held in prison on a probation violation detainer. I later beat the charges and as a result, my probation was ended. I got back into a toxic relationship with a female sociopath. An actual sociopath. My symptoms came back. I chose not to continue my practice, and was love bombed. I fell into that spell, and it was taken (the love and acceptance) from me by my sociopath. Borderlines that are spiritually atuned, can get addicted to that feeling. Meditation taught me how NOT to grasp. The neglect, invalidation, and judgemental subterfuge made me stop relying on letting go and observing as a source of comfort and present moment awareness, because I became dependant upon hope. That hope fused into my belief of faith moving mountains, love conquering and prevailing over all things and changing lies to truths that would be revealed and set us free of toxicity. But reading through forums on made me release that I was perfect supply for the sociopath who became the mother of our son. I met another borderline, and we fell in love and got married. This woman who became my wife was another empath, who suffered severe sexual abuse as a child. The love we were after was given to us. We got what filled the emptiness and made that feeling of not belonging go away. It was not intentional. The only thing that was intentional was the fact that my now wife, was the abused and maltreated lover of another sociopath, who had subsequently been cheating on her with my baby's mother who was apparently cheating on me while I was being severely emotionally raped and taken advantage of. I found out about everything during a fight where my baby's mother had accused me of cheating (which she later found out was not the case). She tried to say that it wasn't the truth after, and she was only trying to upset me. I confronted that person to ask if it was true. He said that it was. I then seduced his victim and fell in love in one hour. So did she. We got married 60 days later. Our love is like a myth. But I'm not here to talk too much about that; and as much as I wanted to believe it would cure our bpd symptoms, it did not. Yet, it relieved the severity of them. We trusted. We did not fear. We had synchronicity all around us (multiple signs and things that are so undeniable it would make our heads spin) , confirming and validating our feelings and love for each other. Both of our vulnerable inner children were out and exposed, ready for that inexplicable closeness and unconditional feeling of love that is all understanding, acceptance, and quick forgiveness. We had done EVERYTHING to prove our love was real to our partners. And they did nothing but abuse us, which sadly we positively reinforced by loving them more strongly, in ways we new they would never find in another. We were so alike. When we fell in love, our ex-lovers teamed against us, threatening, abusing, trying to tear us apart. They both were arrested and charged. Her ex is in jail awaiting sentencing for multiple assault charges on my wife, possession of heroin (he delt it), and restraining order violations with witness intimidation. My baby's mother violated the restraining order I have on her as well, several times over and was also arrested. She was released and began secretly establishing contact with my wife's baby's father. And neither of us knew. When we found out about it, I had to inform police and my DA representation of third party contact and intimidation, because whatever she had said made my wife's baby's father stop dropping her son off to our house where we live after his weekend visitationwith him was over. My baby's mother did the same with my son. They truly never stop, even when breaking off all contact with the sociopath, as all my research suggested. It's been overwhelming and both of us felt the urge to use drugs, but did not. Because we already went through that in the past. So I've been wanting to meditate again, with my wife. And I came across this column while studying the benefits on the brain that meditation has. It creates "nueroplasticity" in the brain, and allows it to not only heal past old self destructive patterns of thinking, but develops physical changes in the brain where new pathways in the synapses open up and learning can happen again. Healing happens; both physically and spiritually (spiritual change cannot be measured by scientific equipment as of yet, however the changes in the brain can). I am excited to get going again. But one of the things Zen teaches is that conceptualization is useless, and thought content is automatic, yet focus and attention can be trained by simply using the free will of attention, to focus on breathing. This trains the brain to be able to stop judgements and convictions which stimulate emotional and mental grasping (the cause of suffering) to a past that no longer exists, and a mariad of futures which do not yet exist, and possibly never will at all, aside from death and taxes. Mediation is truly the answer. Thing is this: when you feel unworthy of happiness and have devalued yourself as deserving of it, it's pretty hard to go back and practice it. Because the first thing that happens when you begin to meditate again and sit with your thinking, the mind first visits the trauma that caused the turmoil within you. The practice eventually allows you to sit with those thoughts and feelings without the feeling of internal burning. Then it teaches you not to grasp at concepts and memories that carry ALOT of conviction with them. You become able observe without trying to look away. You see that what you try to avoid mentally only blows up bigger and becomes more powerful when you put energy into avoiding it. This overwhelms borderlines. This is also the heart of the issue. When that is eventually eliminated through daily practice and nueroplasticity begins to take place, the brain begins to wire itself differently. It's the practice itself that creates new thought patterns and processes which changes your patterns of action, yet it is not immediately noticeable at first. You begin to be able to pay much better attention to people and subjects. Because the mind is not afraid of anything that those people might bring up, which could trigger unwanted memories or convictions. Judgements become slower and far less negative. You realize the subconscious mind already has things analyzed beyond your understanding and better than any computer in the world. It's almost like driving. When you drive and pay attention to everything you see in front of your face, in parts, and being to analyze and judge and worry about all the obstacles seen and unseen, you become overwhelmed and your driving performance declines. You become stressed and before you know it, your bpd makes your driving suck. You're half in the mind in pasts and futures and half taking in information about your surroundings in a fashion that causes wreckless driving. But if you relax and let yourself be in the moment while staring far ahead of you as you drive, the car will then begin to straighten out automatically, and the eyes see everything in front of you, so that by the time it registers in your peripheral eyesight, it's already been taken in and observed. Your awareness is sharp and in tune with the flow of the moment. Your breathing is steady and relaxed. Your vehicle is moving precisely and accurately. Your car isn't all over the place, and your thoughts and emotions are easily flowing with assistance to your driving performance. Your reaction time is in sync as it should be. There is peace and calm. Life slows down and is enjoyable. Driving can be used as a meditation; most especially, on a motorcycle. Because of that high awareness and alertness. It puts you in the moment as you use your hands and feet to operate and whip through the wind smelling the scents of autumn foliage. God... I love motorcycles now. Never owned or drove one until about two months ago. Now it's like I've been doing it my entire life. I only regret not owning one sooner in life (I am 32 going on 25 lol).
But yeah... There is most definitely not only a cure for this bpd crap, but so many more benefits physically, mentally, and emotionally when meditation is practiced daily. No medications or drugs can fixed what has been caused for damage spiritually. The fact is that ALOT (nearly 90% of heroin or alcohol addicted adults) were sexually and or physically assaulted as children. A child is all soul and forgiving acceptance come easily for them. When that child is damaged in the soul by a pedifile (like my wife's father did to her, or like my step-grandfather did to my mother, aunts, and uncle (an Uncle who injust found out has been molesting his daughter and passing down that disease) it will not heal without love, forgiveness, and truth. And neither of those can be had if there is drugs in the way of emotionally digesting the content so true understanding takes place within. It is only when the borderline can no longer become metaphysically harmed by invisible thought content that illusion lifts the way it should. When you gain access to this, you wear that change all over your face. Your smiles are meant. Your ego is tamed to the point where the judgements or assumptions of judgements from others no longer mean anything harmful or hurtful. They no longer can rule and distract. The attention and focus of the brain is no longer in autopilot mode; and, although you learn to face anything without suffering, you are able to change focus and awareness to a flow that is similar to the way I described driving a vehicle correctly without being overwhelmed. Everything is still there, but your performance is different and your perceptions don't become exhausting concepts that are attached to meaningless destructive patterns of thinking (which cause suffering). Hopefully, this was helpful to someone else as it was for me to write it out. Us bpd people are research gurus. And when we write it helps us put things into much better perspective. It feels good. And that also is a form of meditation. Let me say also that I did yoga around that time as well... And what a phenomenal transformation that had on my body and mind. It was definitely complimentary to the meditation. And the meditation took me a while to get down to the point where it was effective as far as noticeable results took place. But, the journey and process itself is where the joy comes from. We all belong there. And when we are able to return to that state at will, during the day, wherever we are and whatever we are going through... You'll understand the pricelessness of that simple state of being. You'll see that things are notnas difficult as you once perceived, and that you are allowed to enjoy things like "regular" people do. Being an addicitve personality is a definite plus if you can get through the discipline and dedication it takes to practice twice daily, every day, without a break. It took one year of this. And all symptoms dissipated. All things became more interesting. And I was very involved with people and things without exhaustion. I can't wait to have that again. You guys excited to get started on it yet too? I seriously hope so, because it's what reveals life.

February, 23 2016 at 1:02 pm

Last bit got me choked up. I'm desperate for change.

December, 20 2012 at 7:56 pm

Thanks for your blog posts. I am finding them quite useful and validating.

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