Meditation can harm
Water is essential for health. Yet drinking too much is likely to damage the kidneys. This is one of the great lessons that I try to never forget. Nothing is completely good, neither completely bad. Everything is relative.
But there is one thign that generally escapes the rule in the media, it's meditation. Meditation is necessarily good. It is a practice which must undoubtely bring peace, love and harmony inside of oneself. Of course it's not true, for everything is relative. If it is properly used then it can do a lot of good. If misused then it cas cause a lot of harm.
Some websites are beginning to point the finger at one of the negative effects of meditation, namely violent psychological shocks. If you live with conscious or unconscious traumas, meditation can bring them back to the surface too abruptly and psyche is toppled. This is how people who are used to living a quiet life end up at the psychiatric hospital overnight.
I experienced something similar when I discovered mediation. I took part to an intensive 10-day session. We were starting at dawn, then meditating all day, no talking during the entire stay. Quite violent things actually happened to me, some were beneficial, others were not. I got out from there, overwhelmed by an intense and unexplainable feeling of deep hatred. I was forced to draw to release what I felt towards this "spiritual" junk food.
I was mad at the "holy man" who was leading this international chain of industrial meditation centers. Here's how I saw this filthy stinking fat pig. Meditators are crammed into rooms like a herd, fattened from morning to evening with moral lessons recorded on CD like cattle is with hormones. We meditate, we meditate and then? What if something unexpected comes up? If it is an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny tears bursting, we can talk to the monitors. But if it is serious we have no choice, we have to cope alone. The menial servants who run the place volunteered to sell a so-called free service on behalf of their foul master. Short mediation can bring a kind of well-being. But the fools who have fun setting intensive sessions are playing with fire. Such events should always be organized in collaboration with qualified psychologists and psychotherapists to pick up the pieces if a participant ever get scattered on the way. A meditator who breaks down must be monitored on the long term after the session.
After this experience, I have often wished that there could be a secular and clean intensive version of meditation. There should be a place where one can meditate, not to achieve illusory enlightenment, astral bliss nor other fanciful liberations. Here, the goal would only be to explore oneself. Learning observation and self-mastery, while being supervised by professionals of emotional, physical and mental health. Observing and controlling one's thoughts and emotions is vital to direct one's life instead of being a slave. Nobody can do it for us. Nobody can give us this ability by magic. It is an intimate personal long-term hard work.
Then I recently discovered another potential adverse effect of meditation. Meditation techniques are to focus on something to the exclusion of everything else. That's what it takes to train to mobilize the power of concentration at will. So what? Where is the danger? The aim is precisely the danger. When we are able to focus on whatever we want whenever we want then we can control the body, the thoughts and the emotions. This control may hurt inside us and outside us.
We can unconsciously use meditation to silence the physical, mental or emotional pain. It can be silenced as soon as it occurs, so as to not even be aware of. But pain is a vital alarm that seeks to draw our attention to some problem, something that needs to be solved. If we are able to automatically ignore the life saving but unpleasant signal then we can move towards dramatic situations. I would like to remind that most of those who are considered to be great spiritual masters died of cancer. Cancer is not a trivial disease. It is the body which destructs itself because it has no other choice. Ignoring the cries for help of our body, our mind and our heart can only lead us to ruin.
We can also use meditation for selfish purposes. When we control our emotions, we can pretend anything, we can manipulate people, pull the wool over their eyes, pull a kind and nice face while all sorts of vices are ravaging our hungry heart. I would also like to remind that most of those who are considered to be great spiritual masters were at one time or another accused of rape, embezzlement, brainwashing and whatnot. In their presence we are struck by the contrast between the powerful emotions that stir us within and their supernatural calm. It's normal. They are also stirred by intense emotions, we feel their turmoil but the mastery of meditation allows them to fake absolute quietness and ultimate bliss. Mastery is very good. But its use may be problematic.
Personally I think that meditation can do much good if it is properly used. To begin with, I consider that it can absolutely not be used to achieve divine stuff. It is a workout that allows to learn to examine and master oneself. As for handling oneself to reach specific states of consciousness, I don't consider this as spirituality.
Once we are able to master ourself, we must avoid to fall into the trap of comfortable selectivity. We must remain able to still listen to everything that the being expresses, even if it's painful to sense and feel. Using mastery to put oneself on a pedestal and screw people, now that's such a pathetic use! The scam-masters who engage in this kind of career are chasing an illusory and expensive glory that locks them into the luxurious jail that they themselves built to amaze and retain their devotees.
The mastery provided by meditation can be used to evolve, to calm the inner turmoil to better perceive what is happening inside, to clean in order to see more clearly, to rummage around inside ourselves to find our own spirit. Seeking our own spirit, this is what I personally consider to be spirituality and nothing else, I consider that this is the best use we can make of meditation.