Risks of Meditation

At first glance, this topic appears unnecessary. People who have already been exposed to meditation and practicing as well as benefiting tremendously by Meditation, might become upset by even such a thought that Meditation can do anything wrong. Though, that way anything which can do good, can also do bad. If Meditation in itself might not be bad, but the effects of it might depend upon how meditation is applied. For example, the same pill which can save life, can also take life if consumed in excess quantity beyond what body can handle. Excess food or even excess water can be not just bad but can actually become fatal. Knowing the dangers of Meditation is extremely critical and every meditator should be aware of them. It is like living without being mindful that one day we are going to die, which is the reality at least till this writing. So knowing the risks of meditation is equally important as knowing the benefits of meditation.

One of the main objectives of Meditation is to see the ultimate truth. Meditation is one of the means to reach the goal and not the goal itself. Meditation is the vehicle we board for our journey and not the destination itself. If Meditation is the way to attain more clarity and know your own self, it will be a good use of that clarity to know Meditation better also. And not just know Meditation superficially, but know it really well, know it full, in its entirety, the complete ins and outs, the good as well as the bad. Below are some of the possible pit-falls of Meditation practice and an easy way to remember them is the acronym ABCDE, which stands for the main risks of Meditation: Addiction, Blind-following, Cult, Delusion and Excess.

  • Addiction: Meditation is pleasant. So is alcohol and many other drugs. It is easy to get addicted. Addiction of meditation can be called "Mediction". Addiction is something which can be utilized to escape from reality. Meditation can also be abused to be in the false ignorant state of bliss, in which real tough issues are not confronted and rightly dealt. And similar to other addictions, as soon as the challenging situation arises, the addicted runs away from it, taking refuge in the peaceful shelter of meditation.
  • Blind-following: Meditation is liberation. If meditation makes you dependent on some individual such as Guru, then that is not pure meditation. That is corrupted, wrong and something other than real meditation. If some Guru is controlling the practitioners, then that person is not a right Guru. Followers should be beware of such a leader and take full responsibility of the consequences rather than giving Meditation a bad name. If you are getting bounded rather than becoming more free, than that is a wrong direction, away from Meditation.
  • Cult: Meditation is not a cult. Though it can become cult, when the mind becomes imprisoned. Save yourself from such groups and environment where you are forced to follow something without questioning. In cult there is no open-mindedness for difference of opinions and no adaptability for new proven facts and findings. In cult, there is no choice. Either you are in or you are out. If you do follow what others are following, then you are part of the group, else you are out. It is better to be out from such rigid cult groups, the earlier the better.
  • Delusion: Delusion is having unrealistic impossible expectations and unreasonable hopes from meditation. Too good to be true claims are made, defended are sold, which are often based on some unproven written book by some individual. Just because some book is ancient, that does not suffice that anything and everything written in text is true. Again the whole environment is created such that if someone raises a question or doubt, then that person is a bad negative person. Meditation is supposed to do the exact opposite of elimination of such delusions or illusions and an enlightenment for everyone for ever.
  • Excess: Everyone knows that excess of anything is bad and should be avoided. And the secret golden key is moderation. Then isn't it strange, when Meditation is prescribed by some to be practiced all the time? As well as the myth that the more someone will practice, the more the positive faster results. And worst of all, that it will lead mysteriously to World peace. Again one of the main goal of any meditation practice must be to optimize the meditation itself. There is a quantity your mind needs, anything beyond that point is unnecessary and might cause wrong effects. If someone is practicing the right meditation, then ultimately the quantity and quality must become optimized over the period of reasonable time.

Conclusion is to balance the balance. And the job of Meditation is to find balance and the success of practice is to keep that balance balanced. Once in a while, we must meditate on the Meditation itself. It will be better to look at the journey and to honestly access, where we are now, where we were, did we make progress, is the progress in right direction, are we getting better, is this what we need to continue or to seek some changes.

There can never be any reward without taking any risk. The risk is an inevitable entity. Then why not face risk which is unavoidable. Fortunately Meditation poses quite manageable risks. The benifits of Meditation clearly out-weighs the risks associated with it. The worst is the unknown risk. And the best is to take calculated risks and the most rewarding will be to reap the benifits of now atleast known and managed risks.

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