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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 09, 2019 08:47PM

Mindfulness is Not the Answer to Completely Hellish Workplaces

[www.vice.com]

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: MynameisHeather ()
Date: October 09, 2019 11:38PM

Hi Corboy,

Lots to read on this thread...I can't wait to read some of the earlier posts!

Mindfulness meditation and other spiritual practices can be used for what is called spiritual bypassing. (recently learned this cool term.)

For me, spiritual bypassing had been a factor for several reasons. First, my father had a meditation practice, and the way he practiced & lived his life was an example of spiritual bypassing. He is a good man, but he was not a good father. He started meditating when I was 2. This doesn't happen to everyone who meditates, but my father was very neglectful. I believe he didn't want to face problems or responsibilities. He literally checked out.

When I learned the same meditation technique at age 11, I too learned to check out. Monkey see--monkey do.

Later, when I unfortunately had a head-on collision with a cult...I became involved with the cult. I suffered immensely as I was abused by the guru. Through this terrible experience I dissociated to avoid the pain (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) of the abuse. This dissociation, combined with the thought reform, and spiritual practices of setting up an altar to a deity, chanting, listening to lectures (zoning out in a hypnotic state), and following everything the guru said, was spiritual bypassing.

Later in my life, as I was trying to heal from the abuse, I did what I had learned to do to help myself. I went back to the cult mindset and I didn't know I was doing it.

Finally, I got the psychological help I needed to de-cult my brain. The therapy I went through was the healing I needed all along.

Now, I would like to have a spiritual meditation practice because I know there are benefits. However (!!!) I question all of my habitual ways of doing ANYTHING...so I must be very careful not to fall into the cult mindset. No more checking out.

I'm currently practicing yin yoga which is a straight forward, non-elitist form of meditation. It's a moving meditation. The practitioner moves from one posture to the next with awareness and presence of mind. Postures are held for many minutes, the focus is on the breath and noticing what arises. There is no doctrine, no guru. It's a self-led process and it's simple.

I believe meditation is good, but can be harmful if the practitioner has unresolved issues & tries to use meditation to escape the problem.

I think meditation should be more like brushing the teeth...or cleaning the mind as it were. We should use meditation as a tool, not as a way to worship an unseen deity in the hopes that somehow the unseen will save us from what we can't face ourselves.

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Re: Meditation-Induced Psychosis
Posted by: shamrock ()
Date: October 13, 2020 10:06PM

Meditation-Induced Psychosis

Abstract

Meditation is a self-regulatory psychological strategy that is frequently applied in Western as well as non-Western countries for different purposes; little is known about adverse events. A male patient is described who developed an acute and transient psychosis with polymorphic symptomatology after meditating. A literature search for psychotic states related to meditation was carried out on PubMed, Embase, and PsycInfo. In the case presented, a diagnosis of acute polymorphic psychotic disorder was made. Other case reports dealt with either a relapse of a pre-existent psychotic disorder or with a brief psychotic reaction in patients without a psychiatric history. Meditation can act as a stressor in vulnerable patients who may develop a transient psychosis with polymorphic symptomatology. The syndrome is not culture bound but sometimes classified in culture-bound taxonomies like Qi-gong Psychotic Reaction.

H J H Kuijpers, F M M A van der Heijden, S Tuinier, and W M A Verhoeven. "Meditation-Induced Psychosis." Psychopathology 40, no. 6 (February 2007): 461-4.

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Re: Meditation-Induced Psychosis
Posted by: facet ()
Date: October 15, 2020 07:44PM

This is a great thread, I’m glad to see it, there is always another side to every coin as the saying goes.

Much like cigarettes, I think meditation / mindfulness practices etc will go the same way.

Everyone is told to believe that it is a great thing, really cool and then one day it will be a bad thing, with its health hazard labelling.

I have my own saying about it too, that if you ‘meditate’, you become an expert in hyperfocus.

Hyperfocus on any shape or form no good for the brain. Intensity of one direction. It is no good.

I was sorry to read everybody’s experiences and would like to highlight that being told that you’re ‘doing it / something wrong’ is the problem is a load of shit.

I see it not only in dismissive people who just don’t care anyway (shown in what they say, masked in ‘helping’ you by trying to keep ‘teaching’ you) but in controlling teacher / leaders who keep people stuck in this way to keep the persistent use of the person for their own needs met.. monetary, adulation, supporting beliefs, etc.

Meditation supposed to be a brief encounter.. before all of waking life becomes it according to the texts.

For me, I think that the medical introduction of it by suggestion and the fact that it is almost everywhere is completely and utterly horrendous.

- and by the way, that is not because I think it should be a secret thing for a select few (as some believe) but because it is not the answer to problems. A little mystical experience maybe, but the answer and a long term practice? No way.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/15/2020 07:55PM by facet.

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Re: Meditation-Induced Psychosis
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 15, 2020 07:59PM

My rule of thumb is that if anything is powerful enough to have beneficial effects, it is powerful enough to produce unwanted side effects.

That is why even a bottle of over the counter medication has a printed list of side effects.

Thus if anyone claims meditation is good for everyone, that's to be taken as a red flag.

It is also why meditation should *not* be made part of workplace culture.

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Re: Meditation-Induced Psychosis
Posted by: facet ()
Date: October 16, 2020 01:46AM

“My rule of thumb is that if anything is powerful enough to have beneficial effects, it is powerful enough to produce unwanted side effects.”

I like this, it’s a good rule of thumb, I’m taking note.

People get hurt and still get hurt. I got hurt.. and it hurts that others got hurt.. and it is still a free for all.

I’ll be observing for the points in which societies current general message about meditation changes.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/16/2020 01:56AM by facet.

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Resilient ()
Date: October 21, 2020 02:54AM

Meditation has always come with a "warning label", but Westerners ignore it or are taught improperly by poor teachers. If we follow the basic buddhist mindfulness instructions, it is a very boring practice - or a 'basmati rice' practice, as my teacher put it - very plain. Day in-day out - same basmati rice. In order to make it flashy and flavourful enough to be sold in the West, we have to add all the bells and whistles and make it attractive to our target market and create "certification" programs and have symposiums with neuroscientists, and so on. Gurus and charismatic persons (even Western yogis) can easily gain influence over you with promises of healing and empowerment via meditation. We bring all of our expectations and cravings and problems to the cushion and expect meditation to smooth things over for us, but we don't do any contemplative practice or follow the basic meditation instructions in the context of living a life of freedom, contentment, equanimity and kindness. The fruits of the practice show up as creative, loving action in community - not hide alone in the dark avoiding the world. We're expected to do something. This is why John Welwood wrote about spiritual bypassing - identifying the tendency of Western spiritual seekers to use meditation to bypass deeper issues that need addressing. Meditation is NOT for everyone, especially if you're going it alone or going online. The Dalai Lama even endorses secular mindfulness, but not without proper study and instruction - it's too easy to delude ourselves (even if we've been meditating for years-trust me on this). It is a terrible tool for institutional practice, since it is often used as a means to control unwanted behaviours (ie, grade school classroom, poorly managed workplace). Too many teachers are ill-equipped to identify students who need practice modification, a different technique, or try something else entirely.

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: facet ()
Date: October 25, 2020 05:17PM

Decided this morning, I’m interested in taking myself around the merry go round once again, it will be an interesting way to note any differences in the basics of the journey.. and to see if it lands me in the same psychological and physical place again, and at what points in connection to previously.

I spent a long time getting myself better, so it’s a big risk but for my own research, one I’m prepared to take.

I don’t see it going anywhere differently in its process, though remain open to alternative possibilities.

I’ll return to spiritual circles to locate a teacher, and see everybody here in a year.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/25/2020 05:36PM by facet.

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: zizlz ()
Date: October 25, 2020 08:02PM

Quote
facet
I’ll return to spiritual circles to locate a teacher, and see everybody here in a year.

Hi Facet, are you sure you're better off getting a teacher? You made a lot of good points in previous discussions about the possible harmful effects of the whole spiritual teacher business.

Personally, I think the best spiritual teacher you can find is yourself, your inner wisdom. It can be snowed under by the superficial self-referential repetitive thoughts we humans tend to engage in, but regularly devoting some time to tune into stillness helps to counteract that.

Sure, sometimes other people can trigger insights that might not have arisen otherwise. So I think it can't harm to listen to other people w.r.t. spirituality once in a while, but to devote yourself to an outer source of insight and value that over your own intuition is unhealthy, IMO.

The cases I see meditation having negative effects usually involve meditating for the wrong reasons: the belief that "there's something wrong with me, and I have to un-wrong myself by meditating." A more healthy attitude IMO is to meditate because you love connecting with the stillness that underlies all experience but usually goes unnoticed. Or curiosity about the nature of awareness, self, and the mind. If meditation isn't done in a loving/fun way, I think it's better not to do it at all.

BTW, pertaining to the title of this thread: on Reddit I stumbled upon what seems to be an instance of meditation-induced psychosis that resulted in attempted murder: [www.reddit.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/25/2020 08:04PM by zizlz.

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: zizlz ()
Date: October 26, 2020 03:42AM

Quote
zizlz
Hi Facet, are you sure you're better off getting a teacher?

Sorry Facet, I misread your post. So you don't believe getting a teacher will benefit you but you'll do it as an experiment. I'm curious about the research you mention doing. Are you going to write some kind of publication about it? Is there a particular research question that you're exploring?

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