Author Topic: The 'side effects' of the meditation: why some people feel meditation is harmful  (Read 1254 times)

Offline Rahul

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In another forum I came across a thread about side-effects, harms, and even trauma that meditation can cause to some people. I am sharing with you my thoughts about this topic, below is my quote in that thread. And I would be glad to hear your thoughts:

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They are not the only people who feel that meditation or mindfulness can be harmful. You can refer to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jan/23/is-mindfulness-making-us-ill

Let me tell you I do not consider myself mentally ill, nor have I been ever diagnosed for any mental issues. But almost everyone of us has, at some point of time, gone through an emotionally traumatic period of life. My experience says that meditation does expose to the practitioner several of the false beliefs, and defense mechanisms that the mind adopts to overcome/escape from (not resolve) emotional traumas. As a result, one may find himself/herself back in to that traumatic phase, because all of the pseudo defense mechanism that they had built, collapsed. In many cases, a person succeeds in evading a traumatic feeling or a nagging issue by distracting his/her mind into more interesting facets of life. But meditation may bring back those forgotten issues, challenges back to them.

In both of these cases, the person is exposed to the trauma again, raw and naked, with all his/her strategies and defenses torn down. Aw... what a hapless situation would that be! With nowhere to go, and no ready solution at hand... you know what happens. Some may get back into a phase of depression, mild or strong. Some may feel it difficult to overcome their emotions and resort to escape mechanisms such as excessive drinking, eating, smoking...

You may want to watch the documentary: Dhamma Brothers: http://www.dhammabrothers.com/. The movie is about two Buddhist coaches who tried teaching vipassana meditation to the inmates of the Alabama Department of Correction. A really strong movie. What happens when some of the most profoundly troubled souls - the most seasoned criminals - of the earth try meditation. Several prisoners found it profoundly troublesome because during the meditation they faced their some of the rawest of their emotions: fears, doubts, past memories, traumas, ghosts of the victims they murdered... what not?

But mind well, this is just the beginning. Those who endure, will find the truth about their emotions, will find way to cope with their mind and the most haunting of the memories. Those who endure will find profound peace, closure, and serenity. Some inmates who endured, were able to transform themselves. One particular inmate in that movie was able to overcome all of his grief, and become so noble that... well, I won't take much of your time. Just watch that movie, and you will see what I mean.

So my friend, it's true: meditation will bring you face to face with the most feared most repressed most troublesome sides of your life, if you got any. And if you don't give up, you will reach the other side of those emotions. You will... transcend!

Amitabha!

« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 04:04:37 am by Rahul »

Offline Pixie

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Quote from: Rahul
In another forum I came across a thread about side-effects, harms, and even trauma that meditation can cause to some people.

To be a little more specific, it was a query about the possible unsuitabllity of meditation for someone who has been clinically diagnosed as having severe mental health difficulties.


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« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 07:34:30 am by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline ground

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From my perspective meditation is overrated anyway. What does not necessarily have beneficial effects should be handled carefully if it may have even detrimental effects.

Offline IdleChater

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From my perspective meditation is overrated anyway.

How so?

The Buddha meditated and became enlightened.  Seems to me, for a Buddhist, meditation would be pretty important.

Offline Rahul

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From my perspective meditation is overrated anyway.

How so?

The Buddha meditated and became enlightened.  Seems to me, for a Buddhist, meditation would be pretty important.

It is!

Offline ground

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From my perspective meditation is overrated anyway.

How so?

The Buddha meditated and became enlightened.  Seems to me, for a Buddhist, meditation would be pretty important.
If it seems to you and you consider yourself to be this kind of buddhist then go ahead.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 08:35:59 pm by ground »

Offline ground

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From my perspective meditation is overrated anyway.

How so?

The Buddha meditated and became enlightened.  Seems to me, for a Buddhist, meditation would be pretty important.
If it seems to you and you consider yourself to be this kind of buddhist then go ahead.

I suppose the form of practice is all up for the individual to evaluate, perhaps not all paths have to be on the same path to reach the same destination.
There are paths that are not even rightly called 'path'. Why? Because they start at the destination.

But from my personal experience, meditation have been the most important aspect of my practice.
If one suffers from agitated mind then calm meditation certainly is usefull to calm down and relax. Because whatever you do or think about is of lower quality if your are not calm and concentrated.

Offline The Artis Magistra

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Is one of the potentially detrimental effects of meditation becoming extremely pretentious and being beaten within an inch of your life mentioned in the study? That seems to be the main side effect I am seeing among many of these people called Buddhist, except for the being beaten up part, I don't hear about that too much unfortunately.

Meditation has long been an extremely important element of practically everything called Buddhism until, I guess, today?

You're right though, it is over-rated, even a Buddhist would agree that it is over-rated, because I just did.

It also has great Yelp Reviews, and appropriate statements made about it, rather than over-rates, which might be a glitch on Yelp or whatever.

Here is the great thing about meditation, you actually get to do something, and do it well, hopefully, haha and the great part is you're so good at it.

Everything is "dangerous and detrimental" for "dangerous and detrimental" people. A fork is "potentially harmful" too for someone whose mind is going wacky.

Meditation and the meditative mindset is a big deal in Buddhism around the world, it is often over-rated, it is also well-rated, and most people who do anything, praise what they do in some way.

Can you be a Buddhist without any form of meditation or a meditative mindset or the sort of weird over-rated Buddhist practices in any form? Uh? No, I don't think you an be a Buddhist if you don't do anything Buddhist at all, don't say anything Buddhist at all, and don't practice Buddhism in any form what so ever.

Oh oh! Let me add another one.

Do you think being a Buddhist is just reading the Pali Canon? Haha, HAHAHAHA! What an Arrogant and Evil laugh that evokes. HAHAHAHA!

Hey look at me, I read a book, and I became Moby Dick! Yes, a big one!

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Haha, HAHAHAHA! What an Arrogant and Evil laugh that evokes. HAHAHAHA! Hey look at me, I read a book, and I became Moby Dick! Yes, a big one!

Debate is part of Buddhist traditions. The Buddha would have debates with audiences watching. These often occurred with non-attachment & humour. That is why when the topic is appropriate, people here have a few laughs, occasionally. But only when the topic is appropriate.   :lipsseald:


Offline The Artis Magistra

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Yeah, Buddhism can and should be fun.

Offline Arkena

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I read buddhist material when unknown to myself i was deeply disturbed and had bad mental health...buddhism was harmful to me then because when the unbalanced mentally ill mind reads...the world is an illusion it takes it literally and starts to doubt reality...its not too far a step from there to walk in front of a car cause you dont think it is real. I didnt get that mad but simply showing that to a disturbed mentally ill mind anything can be dangerous.

Meditation has helped me so much, i consider it most important part of my practice

Offline The Artis Magistra

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How do you personally meditate? What are the steps and activities involved? Couldn't saying just about anything to a mentally disturbed person set them off in a harmful way or be interpreted in a way that might be troublesome to them or others?

Offline Arkena

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If you go on youtube and look up a meditation video called Samadhi i wuite like meditating to that , it is a breath concentration type meditation.

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Couldn't saying just about anything to a mentally disturbed person set them off in a harmful way or be interpreted in a way that might be troublesome to them or others?

There are certain thngs more likely to trigger someone who is unstable ...things that can be interpreted in a very bad way if taken literally etc....basically their minds arent working properly and process things in a twisted and crazy way eg paranoia...

i encounter new age people who have mixed buddhist teachings with misunderstanding and ended up with crazy interpretations like the universe is a hologram and fundamentally matter doesnt exist it is a simulation of sorts. If someone doesnt have a firm grouding in reality they can believe all types of nonsense.

...you get people who loose perspective when playing games or children who are easily impressionable....and leads them to becoming violent. This is why there are age restrictions on violent films etc as it can have a harmful effect on children. I have seen my cousins become violent because they were exposed to violent films too early on.

Offline The Artis Magistra

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Alright, thank you. The idea that things are illusory is kind of common in Indian Philosophy, and with the internet, teachings of all sorts from all sorts of people are now widely available.

I know this might be controversial to say, but what if the looney tune people are right? What if when they go and get hit by a car, their "game" restarts at the point where they don't go that direction? Some might say, we are playing out various simulations or meditations or possibilities, that the thoughts we think might even matter in the same way that we think we ourselves matter.

Yeah, it would probably be dangerous to give hyper-reactive people prone to mis-construing or rather, taking action, ideas. I think it might be better to tell them "I think you are crazy and dangerous, and possibly might react to anything I say in the wrong way, and since I don't want blood on my hands, I'll refrain from saying anything to people I deem to be mad and incapable of sitting still when told about Maya or Illusion", I might not say it to their coocoo faces though.

I do try to avoid crazy people, but they seem to flock to me. So I say to them "not so fast, not so crazy". I might tell them, "I want you to take good care of yourself, your body, and do not be an extremist, even in moderation" but I haven't had much luck with mad people, except maybe keeping them around or out of prisons a little longer, imagining that to be somehow nicer than their deaths or that they are locked up.

Offline ground

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Meditation has helped me so much, i consider it most important part of my practice
Great.
Isn't it astonishing that many people today assign much importance to physical fitness but totally neglect mental fitness? Meditation can be a good mental fitness training. Of course it has only temporary effects. If you stop the training the fitness deteriorates.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 11:20:00 pm by ground »

 


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