One of our students recently wrote to us asking our thoughts about the possibility that meditation is dangerous. She quoted an article that describes the experience of people who had reported that engaging in mindfulness-based meditation resulted in the following negative experiences:
- strange, persistent and obsessive thoughts
- the sense of depersonalization
- extreme sensitivity and vulnerability
- a feeling of being exposed
- anhedonia – the inability to experience pleasure
- lack of meaning and joy
- loss of direction
Like anything in life, meditation can cause problems when it is misused or misunderstood. If you don’t approach meditation with the correct preparation and attitude, you can become excessively introverted and psychological disturbed. It’s also possible to develop physical symptoms such as digestive problems, joint stiffness, muscle pain and metabolic imbalance.
Yogic perspective on the dangers of meditation
From a yogic perspective, these symptoms are described as excessive activity in the ida nadi, the left-hand channel that runs along the spinal chord, which carries mental energy. There are three energy channels running along the spine: ida nadi carries mental energy, pingala nadi carries physical energy and sushumna carries spiritual energy.
For meditation to be successful it’s important to balance ida and pingala nadis, the mental and physical energies, otherwise, your brain and mind can become over-stimulated, and depleted.