Seven Popular Myths about Meditation

Seven Popular Myths about Meditation | Skeptic Meditations

Before you swallow the kool-aid, consider the myths surrounding mindfulness and meditation.

This is from an entire blog devoted to the potential negative outcomes of meditation. For the curious, there are many posts to browse through.

Most posts here reference scientific and mainstream media articles, so these writings are not just the opinion of a single individual.  

“It is hard to have a balanced view when the media is full of articles attesting to the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. We need to be aware that the reports of benefits are often inflated… whereas studies that do not discover significant benefits rarely pick up media interest, and negative effects are seldom talked about”, warns Wikholm.

In The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You?,Catherine Wikholm co-author, with Dr Miguel Farias, bust seven common myths of meditation.

The University of Surrey and Oxford researchers in clinical psychology found studies that revealed meditation actually raises stress hormones.

A US study found that 63% of people on meditation retreats had one adverse side effect, from confusion to panic and depression. One in 14 had experienced ‘profoundly adverse effects’.

There is growing evidence that for some people meditation may cause mania, hallucinations, depression and psychosis.

“…Meditation was primarily designed not to make us happier, but to destroy our sense of individual self–who we feel and think we are most of the time–is often overlooked in the science and media stories about it, which focus almost exclusively on the benefits practitioners can expect,” writes Wikholm

Article originally appeared inThe Guardian

Here are seven popular myths about meditation that are not supported by scientific evidence.

Myth 1: Meditation does not have adverse or negative effects. Meditation only changes us for the better

Myth 2: Meditation can benefit everyone

Myth 3: If everyone meditated the world would be a much better place

Myth 4: If you’re seeking personal change and growth, meditating is as efficient–or more–than standard therapy

Myth 5: Meditation produces a unique state of consciousness that we can measure scientifically

Myth 6: We can practice meditation as a purely scientific technique with no religious or spiritual leanings

Myth 7: Science has undeniably shown how meditation can change us and why

I would add to this list other myths:

Myth:  the benefits of meditation can be realized in just a short week-long or at most month-long training

Myth:  pain so serious it requires opioid therapy can be controlled by meditation.

* meditation has been proven to be effective for pain control and if it’s not working for you, it’s your fault – you must not be working at it hard enough or often enough.

Conclusion

Some people may get benefits from meditating. But not everyone. And, occasionally meditation may cause depression, paranoia, and psychosis. Meditation was not designed to make people happy, but was designed by renunciants who wanted to destroy the sense of individual self. When the benefits of meditation are not forthcoming or when things go wrong it’s not always caused by the practitioner. We need better scientific studies and a testable theory for how and why meditation works. We need open public discussion about the adverse (side) effects of meditation practices, not just the benefits.

Original article: Seven Popular Myths about Meditation

One thought on “Seven Popular Myths about Meditation

  1. Kathy C

    They are peddling all of this as an “Alternative.” Since this Industry or the people “researching it,” have no requirement to put any Negative or Adverse events in their “Data,” the beliefs are peddled as Facts. These “Therapies” were never meant to replace Medical Care, yet they have. This is anecdotal, I know a young woman who made repeated suicide attempts and cost our town hundreds of thousands of dollars in ER visits, and Ambulance rides, after she was required to attend a CBT, Mindfulness Group. As a teen she was in a horrible car wreck. She barely survived, and she was paralyzed in one of her arms. She was in excruciating pain, which her Physicians would not treat the pian. She made at least one hundred trips to the local ER, by Ambulance. Many of these trips were suicide attempts. She took OTC Pills, Anti Depressants, since they did not acknowledge or treat her pain. The CBT “Therapy” was supposed to replace Pain Treatment. This was back in the 1990’s. Now this practice is being peddled wholesale. It is really terrifying.

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