The Dark Side of Meditation

Meditation, also known as mindfulness or mindfulness, has become popular. This practice has been included in joint gym classes, but it has also begun to be part of the tools used in some psychology consultations. The reasons are clear and its benefits are, right now, well known. But why does nobody talk about the dark side of meditation?

Although it seems strange, the practice of meditation has a less pleasant part that has been wanted to ignore during all this time . However, the studies and experiences of some people are there. Therefore, today, we want to dedicate an article to the dark side of meditation.

3 negative psychological effects related to meditation

Research on this dark side of meditation, Studies on “Adverse Effects” related to Meditation, has detected some undesirable effects derived from its practice.

He has called them “negative psychological effects” and it is important that we talk about them before entering into the experiences that different people have related.

1. Negative psychological effects

As the study points out, these consist of ” psychological reactions that cause discomfort in the individual or in their personal relationships, but that do not necessarily trigger psychiatric problems.”

Some examples are the weariness that can cause meditative practice, emotional stress, confusion or disorientation.

In certain circumstances, there may be cases of dissociation of one’s emotions and lack of connection with the emotions of others, resulting in an important problem of empathy. Also, excessive introversion or isolation can occur that can generate feelings of superiority .

Finally, meditation can become a form of self-deception to avoid resorting to psychotherapy, for example.

2. Psychopathological alterations

Sometimes, as the study mentioned indicates, ” psychopathological alterations triggered or aggravated by meditative practice have been detected “. In fact, as he explains, up to 7% of the subjects have manifested serious alterations related to depersonalization, derealization, perceptual alterations and intense stress conditions.

In fact, the study shows that the symptoms of depression that have resulted in some suicide attempt have been enhanced in some cases.

It is also exposed that, after intensive meditation practice, patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or psychosis have suffered significant relapses .

3. “Negative” spiritual effects

The study calls in this way the effects that can arise from the meditative practice, but which can lead to something positive.

For example, negative emotions , such as anger or anxiety , may emerge , but this may be an important part of the process to externalize and manage them in a better way.

However, he warns that sometimes it may be necessary to leave this practice for a while to avoid the negative psychological effects in meditation. However, it also suggests that it may be interesting or appropriate to have a person acting as a guide.

Testimonials on the dark side of meditation

Some testimonies about the effects caused by the dark side of meditation are collected by the BBC newspaper. One of them is that of Suzanne (not real name) who decided to perform a meditation retreat in Manchester, United Kingdom. They were 10 days in a row in which one could neither have eye contact nor talk with other people. When he had been a week, Suzanne had a panic attack.

According to her, she felt as if she was separated from her own body, that is, she experienced an episode of depersonalization. The people in charge of the retreat told him that what he needed was to continue meditating, but when he arrived home after finishing this retreat he collapsed. I couldn’t get out of bed and I wasn’t hungry either. In the end he had to enter a psychiatric hospital .

According to the BBC article, although many people benefit from these practices, others such as Suzanne have claimed to feel deep anguish, a “terrifying dissolution of identity” and a person was sincere saying that after meditation he felt “close to the psychosis ».

As we can see, the dark side of meditation exists and, in some cases, that practice may not be useful. For this reason, although meditating has many benefits, we cannot forget about face B. Well, perhaps meditation can transform our lives, but perhaps not in the way we expected , as happened.