A bit of background info in case it is somehow relevant to my current problem: like a lot of people here, my childhood was chaotic. To escape all the bad feelings around me, I'd imagine myself in my happy place (somewhere in nature) and I'd focus on all of my sense there. For example, if my happy place was the beach, I wouldn't just see the beach, I'd feel the sand under my feet, smell the salty/fishy air, hear the waves crashing on the shore, and even taste the salt in the air. When I was there, I was removed from myself. Kind of like I was immediately in front of myself, but not inside. I felt sort of peaceful in comparison to what I was feeling, but I was really sort of just escaping from the feelings; they were just fuzzy and far away. I don't know if this is relevent, but this was happening in my preschool/early elementary school years. At some point during this time, I learned that I could just capture the feeling a got when I traveled to this "happy" place without going through the trouble of actually imagining myself there. This proved very bad in the long run. During a particularly difficult year (both in terms of things that were happening to me and in terms of things that were happening to people around me who's emotions I was feeling), I just captured the feeling I described and stayed there. I didn't feel the pain, anger, sadness, guilt, etc as acutely, but I also didn't feel the happiness, joy, love, wonder, etc as acutely. I still took on people's physical pain and felt a some feelings, they were just far away. This lasted all the way from middle school until I graduated from high school. After I left my family and went off to college, I realized that all the negativity wasn't around and that whatever I was doing to myself was not the right thing to do. I sort of forced myself back into my body. and felt the full impact of emotion. This was mostly my own, I had not dealt with any of my own emotional turmoil from the chaotic childhood or anything that happened to me throughout middle and high school and now it hit me like a knife ripping apart my chest.
This all happened quite a while ago, I was 18 at the time and I'm in my mid 20s now. I had to very consciously force myself to feel and not to escape back to that other place. Now I very purposefully look negative emotions "square in the face" and determine that they will not defeat me, and I let happiness roll over me and radiate outside of me to brighten up the lives of others...
I'd heard of people advocating meditation, but many times they said to ease yourself into it by "imagining a happy place" and basically doing exactly what I did as a child that I had worked so hard to get over. I found non-meditative ways to deal with my troubles, spending a lot of time in nature mostly. Plus, I could easily clear my mind and just be without really meditiating.
I've since moved to a very different environment (a big city with weather that prevents me from going outside quite a lot of the year and without much natural space to escape to). Since my go-to-method of dealing with my empathic self is no longer available I decided that I'd give meditation a try, I just wouldn't start by visualizing a happy place. I did one just kind of general meditation in which you are supposed to become more aware of yourself and self affirm while you are doing so. I came out of the experience happy, relaxed, peaceful, etc. I then decided to try something else. This time it was "mindful body meditation. It didn't tell me to focus on the chakra colors but just directed me to focus on different parts of the body (which directly correlated with the location of the chakras). I saw white light. It was nice and peaceful at first. Oddly enough as I traveled down my body, I started to see colors as well, but not chakra colors. Colors located in areas that physically hurt. My wrist has been bothering me for years; it was green; my upper back and neck which were bothering me from spending too much time at a computer appeared black, and my knees which were a little bothered my some recent exercise were almost turquoise. Also, during this time, when I reached my heart chakra area which was a brighter white than most areas, it sort of shot the white light towards my head and it exploded outward from there (exploded is a much too violent word for what it felt like, but I think it gives the best visual imagery for what I saw.) I know this all sounds perfectly lovely up until this point (I only am sharing all the details because I am newer to the ideas of meditation and have no idea which details may be relevant). The bright white explosion dissipated significantly as I moved my focus further away from my heart.
As I mentioned, I saw the colors in areas of ill-health until my knees. At the knees I felt scared, like I didn't want to finish the meditation. I rationalized that I was just being silly so I continued. A very unexpected thing happened I felt something terrifying and I saw this terrifying looking evil clown. He doesn't look quite like any clown I've ever seen, and I felt afraid to look at him very closely. It is also worth mentioning that since I grew up with a Christian background, and no serious fear of circus clowns, any embodiment of evil that my mind may be imagining should not be a creepy clown, but probably something more like a traditional representation of a demon so I don't think it is just a psychological trick my mind is pulling on me.
At any rate, I panicked for a second then thought the bright white light might help in this situation. I traveled my attention back to my heart then focused that light towards my head until it exploded again. At first he was still there but as I expanded it far from myself, I felt his presence disappear. As soon as let my focus drift and the light lessens, my feet feel tingly, and he is there again. He is always by my feet if I am laying down or have my feet out in front, but if I sit up, he is wherever my feet last were. The part of me that wants to confront the bad feelings (including fear) wants to stare him down and figure out what the heck he is and how to make him go away, but I have no idea what will happen and I'm afraid of losing myself. Maybe he is a manifestation of my fear that somehow only decided to take root when I focused on my lower legs and feet, and maybe he is something else entirely. How do I make him go away? I've been aware of him for several days now and it is freaking me out. Sorry for writing such a long post, but I don't know what may be relevant. If you have advice, please help!
updated by @water-lily: 03/15/17 10:56:31AM