Risks of Meditation
Sure there are at least 10 articles on Mastery of Meditation and Yoga detailing all the wonderful benefits of meditation. Here are 2 of these, Top 10 Profound Benefits of Meditation and Amazing Health Benefits of Meditation. I am also sure there are thousands of such articles all over the internet and that is how it should be, since meditation is the best and most important part of human life. But meditation can also lead to problems in your life and in order to deal with these problems, it is important to be aware of them.
So, in this article I am going to discuss the risks of meditation and give you some tips on how to deal with them. In particular, I am going to focus on 3 affects of meditation which could create problems for you. These dangers of meditating are surprisingly more applicable to the serious meditator, than to the casual dabbler. So if you are just starting out with your practice, here are some potential challenges you will have to learn to deal with.
3 Risks of Meditation:
1. Using Meditation for Escape:
Using meditation to escape from the harsh realities of your life is not the purpose of this practice. Meditation is the profound art which teaches you how to live with great compassion, wisdom and composure IN your life.
By practicing meditation, you are developing into an entirely different type of human being. A human being who is free from the clutches of the ego and endless selfish interests. Such a person is then a force for greater good, and is available to life to use as she sees fit. Hiding in the corner of your house, concentrated on your mantra or breath, is not the objective, no matter how peaceful that is.
So who are the people most in danger of confronting this problem? Let’s discuss that next.
Concentration Meditation Junkies:
This danger is most prevalent amongst those who practice concentration techniques. Don’t get me wrong, concentration based techniques are an important part of the meditative process, as with a "monkey mind" jumping all over the place, you are not going to get much meditation done. But, once you have developed expertise in this type of meditation, you know as well as I do, that it can become a handy form of escape, when life gets too much to handle.
To some degree this too is ok. As getting a break during a difficult time is life, can be refreshing and healthy, but the danger lies in this becoming a pattern or addiction. In other words, as soon as life gets difficult, you run away from the problems, by indulging in your meditation. This is then just like using TV or another form of escape to avoid the challenges in your life. This is not the purpose of meditation.
Again, I want to emphasize that developing concentration is an important part of meditation, it is a prerequisite to real meditation, but be careful in letting it became a form of escape from life.
2. Misusing Meditative Powers:
Meditation is known to bestow a great many blessings onto the practitioner over time. Some of what one obtains from long term meditation are various psychic powers or abilities. In addition, to these paranormal powers, the meditator certainly also evolves in various other ways, growing both in character and persona. The risk here lies is the misuse of these of powers and abilities.
I have written about how to approach psychic powers previously and emphasized that their use should be only for spiritual growth or truly helping others. You can read the following 2 articles for more on this topic, The Right Way to Acquire Psychic Powers and Free Psychic and Clairvoyant Development Tools. But, the other "enhancements" one gets from meditation should also be wisely used.
Meditation certainly makes a person charismatic and attractive. It also gives the person great power and magnetism. There are other character enhancements as well and what is important is that the meditator does not use these blessings for selfish and wrong reasons.
So, be on the lookout for this as well. Don’t get tempted into doing the wrong thing. Don’t fall into the trap of becoming a master manipulator or one who influences the weak or vulnerable for personal gain and pleasure. We have all read about various Gurus, Priests and Swamis who have abused their influence and powers in this way. Lets not fall into their category .
3. Becoming Robotic:
Witness, witness, witness. Stay in the moment. Listen. Power of the now. Watch your thoughts. Observe. Be aware. Stay alert. If you have read this blog or wandered around the spiritual landscape for any length of time, I am sure this advice has been impressed upon you. This is good, because in witnessing lies the answer, but there is a consequence to all this witnessing and thought/feeling watching, and that is it can make you detached and apathetic.
This is a very real danger of endlessly standing apart and bearing witness to that which is taking place. Not getting drawn in, means that not being emotional and not getting attached. This can then lead to becoming robotic and cold. Fortunately, the path eventually leads to love, compassion and joy, but there will be phases when you will feel and appear quite dry and machine like.
So, be aware that such phases will come and that it is not something bad. It is just part of the process as well. As I have mentioned in the past, a balanced person is a very rare occurrence, so be patient in your practice and just allow your spiritual work to work on you. In time you will have evolved into a true masterpiece, which life will then hold up for all to marvel at.
The last thing I want to do of course, is dissuade you from meditating. Meditation is the answer to all human suffering, but I do want you to be aware of the risks that come with meditation practice, so that you are more prepared to handle these situations when they arrive. So use the tips and suggestions above to help yourself navigate though these problems that meditation tends to create.
If you are new to meditation and want to learn this profound art, here are some good starting points.
If you are looking to make meditation a greater part of your life and are interested in uplifting the world, then I suggest joining the Mastery of Meditation Meditation Certification Program. Here is the link to that.