Community//

Preventing Meditation Hazards: 3 Technicalities to consider.

What I wished I knew before a 10-day intensive retreat as a beginner. Part 1/3

Image Credits: unsplash-logoJens Johnsson
instagram.com/jens_johnsson

  • 2014: I first heard the term ‘side-effects’ of Meditation – in a positive context. The clever wordplay didn’t let me dodge the actual negative implication, if any. This is why …
  • 2010: The worst phase of my life caught speed. A prep for 2012’s phoenix-like rebirth of the collective consciousness, according to the Mayan Prophecy, had officially kick-started. In honor of rebirth, my old way of being was to first – die. Calling it an existential crisis, ‘dark night of the soul’ or depression, would be an underplay.
  • 2011: I was diagnosed with anxiety, and more. The report read, ‘Not in contact with reality’. More than alarm, it validated my struggle and soothed me. This was my reality – the outmoded intangible, identity part of me – dying. I was outgrowing the ‘fake it till you make it’ survival strategy that had stopped working. Yet, another part of me; the rational mind that dreaded losing control, was at war thinking – ‘I’m going crazy’

Amid this turmoil, my colleague pointed out – 
“That Meditation might not have suited you, it’ll make you more aloof.”
Until then I’d never considered ‘rightness, intensity or suitability’ of a Meditation.

He recommended a top Homeopath. In minutes the doctor caught the word ‘lazy’ I’d blurted out. And why not. Even though I wanted help, I didn’t revisit. I’d become so passive, getting out of bed had become an event in itself. Life seemed increasingly meaningless and hence exhausting.

Credit or Blame?

Could an intensive retreat I once attended, be blamed? Was it even blame? Or was it credit in the long run?

2008: The retreat had benefited me immensely; validating my longing for a sacred space, ancient knowledge and credible tools for ‘inner work’. Though I didn’t continue the practice on return, my self-awareness had heightened. I had emerged lighter and refreshed, only I didn’t know how to integrate this in my daily life.

Living permanently in the ashram never occurred to me but I couldn’t function in the city either. The bustle I once enjoyed seemed taxing. Almost everything seemed fake and unnecessary. I was even more disconnected and alone on the path of unlearning. I felt I could never live a lie and not know it.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

Leonard Cohen

I had broken down, crying uncontrollably on the ninth day. A response we were well-informed about. Negative emotions that are deeply buried, in layers, had begun to surface at the exit gate of awareness, to leave once for all. If the purpose of the retreat was to show me this crack or to widen it, it had succeeded wonderfully. But I wish I knew these few things before:

1. Link between Grounded-ness & Meditation form.

Remember my report read, ‘not in contact with reality’? Was that a clinical term for – ‘not grounded’?

Grounding/Earthing refers to contact with the Earth’s surface electrons by walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems, some of them patented, that transfer the energy from the ground into the body. Emerging scientific research supports the concept that the Earth’s electrons induce multiple physiological changes of clinical significance, including reduced pain, better sleep, a shift from sympathetic to parasympathetic tone in the autonomic nervous system (ANS), and a blood-thinning effect.”

– National Center for Biotechnology Information on Environmental Medicine.

While in the science of energy healing, grounding means our ability to be ‘present in our body’ and relate to our experience or reality, here on earth. It deals with the root chakra (energy center at the base of our spine) responsible for survival and belonging, ‘manifesting materialistic safety and security’ – functioning and vitality of physical body and strength for the tangibility of ideas and aspirations (like money, abundance, other goals.

Two broad categories of Meditation (& Suitability):

(Also read my Finerminds article busting Meditation Myths.)

A. Dynamic/ Active (Eg. Twin Hearts Meditation)

Movement is both – medicine and meditation. Since most people today lead a sedentary lifestyle with increased mental activity due to technology, I think Dynamic Meditation would be more effective to most.

Suitability: While I’m blessed with a strong, healthy body, my natural occupation has been of the mind’s ability to think, dream, analyze, dissect, write – you get the point. Having experienced both forms, I can say Dynamic Meditation suits me more.

Eg. Perhaps Dynamic meditation would do good if you relate to any of these – ‘over’ – dreamy, gloomy, scatter-brained, philosophical, spiritual than practical, talker than a doer, find it painful to manifest ideas or to earn despite numerous talents or skills, inconsistent, unsuccessful, engaged in inner, emotional world, obsess about helping or finding meaning of life or when small daily tasks like getting out of bed feel heavy.

B. Passive (Eg. Vipassana)

Suitability: I know a sportsperson who just returned from his fourth Vipassana trip and that works for him.

Eg. Passive Meditation may suit somebody who is already ‘over’ – logical, practical, active, industrious, sporty or focused, or even balanced, dynamic or enterprising. In short, well-grounded and relates easily to functioning, navigating or manifesting on planet earth.

Verdict 1: Allow your grounded-ness to choose your Meditation form.

    The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    12 DAYS IN THE DARK

    by Dan Regan
    Community//

    Rebirth

    by Jeanne Reilly
    Community//

    The relationship between the mind and the body

    by David B. Younger, Ph.D

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.