A very common misunderstanding about meditation that can lead to discouragement is that it’s supposed to be all bliss and roses. That is simply not the case on the ground, so to speak. Sometimes meditation is about being with the dark and ugly and anxious parts of our being too. Meditation is about being with the whole spectrum of human psyche and emotion. We cannot know ourselves without becoming intimate with those parts too. That means it’s just not always fun or peaceful or calm to practice meditation. Though it can lead to all those things in time. It can help us learn to live more skillfully in general.
There may also be times for some people in which it’s not appropriate to practice sitting meditation. Yoga or other body based practices may be safer at some junctures and in fact are critically important for many people in conjunction with sitting meditation. I actually think that movement meditations may be the missing piece for many when there are problems with sitting meditation. The body needs to be included in the process.
I’ve collected posts that look at this side of meditation as there are both risks and benefits to understanding the full spectrum of our minds through practice. It’s good to be aware of all that is possible on the journey:
- Mindfulness / Meditation and Complex Trauma: The Rewards and the Risks (new)
- Dark Night of the Soul? When meditation brings it on…
- Risks of meditation
- There is no such thing as a bad meditation
- Meditation can be an emotional rollercoaster
- Finding Peace in the Midst of a Storm
- Meditation and Trauma / PTSD (risks and benefits)
- Freedom To Sit: Welcoming People with Psychiatric Labels at Buddhist Retreats — by Will Hall
- The trouble with mindfulness
- Meditation practice not for the fainthearted
- Life as a meditation: my contemplative adventure
- Problems that can arise in meditation practice
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