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.
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.
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