Enough has been said about meditation and the wondrous change it can bring in an individual. People have some completely life changing deep meditation experiences and there is tons and tons written about How to meditate, Why to meditate and When to mediate. We get it…..meditation comes with innumerous benefits. But did you know of the dangers of meditations?
Yes, you heard it right! Meditation is not sans unwanted side-effects. Sure, most of these do not hamper your physical health. But quite a few of them can actually be mentally, emotionally and spiritually disturbing. They come unexpectedly just when you thought that meditation has changed your life for the better, and they can be frightening…equally ‘life-changing’ in their own way, if I may say so!
The Unexpected Dangers of Meditation
Meditation is rather subjective; hence there are no right answers when it comes to compiling a list of the dangers of meditation. Everyone, after all is different. Meditation might bring up trauma or unresolved issues from the past for some people, at which point they might need to see a therapist or the meditation teacher. For others, jumping into a practice too soon can result in feeling overwhelmed or a brush with the disturbing experience of ‘kundalini’ energy awakening.
Danger#1: The Lack Of Complete Knowledge
When you practice yoga, a good teacher will ask you if you have any injuries. If you go for acupuncture you’ll be asked for a brief medical record. However, a lot of the time when you go to a meditation class or you sign up for a meditation course, you don’t have to communicate any of these things.
Although it looks like you’re just sitting doing nothing, meditation can be incredibly powerful. You don’t know what might come to the surface. Some people have reported feeling worse after meditation in the following months of doing a specific course, only to be told by the teacher that they were likely to have been suffering from something prior to the meditation. Whether this is true or not, there’s no way of knowing unless everyone embarking on a meditation course provides a medical history or tells the teacher of any problems they’ve had.
Danger#2: Following Rules Blindly
With some meditation experiences, you can feel like you are being force fed instructions — ‘My way is the only way’ problem. This can be a serious danger of meditation, so be careful and make sure you ask lots of questions.
The beauty of meditation is that there are thousands of different ways to do it. So if someone is telling you that a particular meditation technique is the ‘most effective’ or is ‘the best way to meditate’ as compared to others, it helps to keep an open mind. Never dismiss something without first questioning it, but at the same time, never blindly follow. And never feel stupid for asking lots of questions.
Danger#3: The Rising Of The Dark Night Of The Soul
This term is not always associated with meditation or even brought on by meditation. However, when the dark night of the soul makes an appearance, it isn’t pleasant.
Whether you want to call it depression or a loss of meaning in life — the dark night of the soul might come about when you’ve been meditating to gain greater truths about the world we live in and what our true nature is. This, however, is a phase that comes and goes despite the fact that it might seem unending and painful at the time
Danger#4: The ‘Kundalini’ Awakening Experience
‘Kundalini’ energy is the coiled serpent power that lies sleeping at the base of the spine. Certain meditation practices as well as ‘kundalini’ yoga help to awaken this dormant energy.
However, sometimes it can awaken spontaneously which can be a frightening experience. Some side effects may include a pressure in the head, tingling in the spine, buzzing in the ears, seeing snakes everywhere, mood swings and more. If you feel that your Kundalini has awakened spontaneously, it is best to stop meditating for a while. This energy MUST awaken slowly, so that your mind, body and spirit is prepared for its powerful force.
Danger#5: Becoming Too Detached
In many meditation practices, it’s believed that to reach enlightenment or nirvana, you shouldn’t attach yourself to the things in life you enjoy or love. Practically speaking, getting rid of all your material possessions and go and live in strict isolation for years is kind of an extreme scenario.
However, equally, if you take non attachment literally and stop doing the things you love doing, you could end up feeling very detached from the world and people around you. Aggressively stopping the things you enjoy could be incredibly damaging to you in the long run.
Danger#6: Trying To Perfect Everything About Yourself
As a beginner, most people trying out meditation are more honest with themselves and acknowledge that they are a human being with imperfections, like everyone else. But, as they continue with their meditation practice over many years, there might be a tendency to try to hide imperfections or pretend they’re something they’re actually not.
Just because you’ve been meditating for many years does not mean you’ve failed if you still get irritated or feel anger. Also, don’t put anyone who has been meditating for a long time on a pedestal — treat everyone equally.
Danger#7: Getting Attached To A State Of Complete Contentment
Many people who have an incredible meditation experience cannot stop thinking about it and would try to get back to that state through meditation repeatedly. As is obvious, you cannot always get to a state of complete contentment and that can bring with it inner turmoil caused by disappointed.
Attaching yourself or letting the ego identify itself with your meditation experiences could hinder your spiritual growth. Never think you are special or gifted just because you’ve had an interesting or mind blowing experience with meditation. Always be willing to learn more.
Danger#8: Scary Dreams
Regular meditation sessions give you such an abundance of energy that it can start manifesting itself though strong intuition as well as powerful, very clear dreams. Dreams can become almost real and more colorful than they were before, so you feel their full force.
Such dreams can be so clear, so real and so symbolic that you may feel a supernatural presence in them which may scare you. Such dreams can even cause you to jump from your bed in sleep, or you may awaken with a puzzled mind without knowing what to do next.
Danger#9: Trying To Use Meditation As A Substitute For Therapy
It’s unfair to expect meditation to cure all of your problems or think that it’s an easy fix. While meditation might help, ask yourself if you should also speak to an expert or seek the advice of a therapist. You are the best judge of this.
In fact, when you start to meditate regularly, suppressed emotion or things you haven’t thought of for years might come to the surface of your mind which might be difficult or upsetting to deal with. Never use meditation to escape from existing or underlying problems. Just because you’re sitting silently, not thinking, doesn’t mean all your problems will go away on their own.
Summing It Up….
Meditation CAN be bad for you, even dangerous at times. Unnatural phenomena can leave you disturbed for weeks at end, and your second-nature of detachment can bring about negative changes in your relationships.
Meditation hasn’t been explored scientifically for that long despite the fact that it has been practiced for hundreds of years. There are scopes of errors…and dangers…
I don’t want to discourage anyone from meditating. It truly helps you beat stress, become more self-aware and focus better on improving your life. However, I do think it’s best to proceed with caution!