The Dark Side of Meditation.

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With the benefits of meditation becoming increasingly accepted throughout mainstream medical practices, the dark side of meditation is often overlooked and unacknowledged.

In this video, “The Dark Side of Meditation” neuroscientist Willoughby Britton and Yoga/Buddhist Teacher Michael Stone discuss the potential problems that can arise from meditation as a result of a lack of knowledge and training.

The Dark Side of Meditation from Centre of Gravity on Vimeo.

A regular meditation practice can produce a wide range of positive changes and overall benefits; however, without proper guidance and instruction challenges may arise such as cognitive challenges, changes in sense of self, hyperactive emotions and resurfacing of traumatic memories.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise

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About Michael Stone (Centre of Gravity)

Centre of Gravity is a thriving community of Yoga and Buddhist practitioners integrating committed formal practice and modern urban life. We offer weekly sits, text studies, yoga practice and dharma talks. Retreats, guest speakers, online courses and audio talks deepen the feel. Each week Michael Stone dishes a talk, often on primary texts by Dogen, Patanjali, and the Buddha, that are collaged with today's headlines and psychological insights to produce an engaged shape shifting dharma, at once historical, personal and political. Notes on these talks by Mike Hoolboom form the heart of this blog. Michael Stone is a yoga teacher and Buddhist teacher. He travels internationally teaching about the intersection of Yoga, Buddhism and mental health. He has written four books with Shambhala Publications on ethics, yoga's subtle body, inner/outer pilgrimmages, and the sometimes uneasy blend of social engagement and Buddhism. Please check out the website at www.centreofgravity.org .


5 Responses to “The Dark Side of Meditation.”

  1. Padma Kadag says:

    It sounds as if His Holiness was commenting on the lack of "selfless motivation" so prevalent in this nebulous western definition of "meditation" these days. Discussing meditation means something quite different to His Holiness vs. our western "self help"version. You need an authentic guru in my tradition to guide you. Problems arising in meditation is actually the best result from meditation as we face our concepts and with authentic guidance liberate them. This is the path. When our meditation is comfortable then most likely we are not meditating. Meditation is the root to applying methods of liberation in our daily lives and our daily lives present us with challenges 24 hours.

    • Padma Kadag says:

      I would like to add that within the tradition of Mahayana and vajrayana traditions the meditator is taught that there are pitfalls in meditation one must be aware of. Each individual reacts differently within the methods of meditation and these pitfalls usually are those which through meditation have the capacity to entrench the ego or selfishness even more with pride, and dullness, to name a couple. In the above mentioned traditions it is the path to "tear down the hut of mind", which is uncomfortable for most. The issue really is the term "meditation" which is too broad and covers too many traditions.

  2. sara says:

    Thank you so much for this. I am several months into a meditation practice, and have been experiencing some difficulties. I have been taking small breaks to deal with them, and going back to the meditation when I feel ready, but I am very comforted to know this research is occurring.

  3. Frank Jude says:

    "Problems will arrive when people don't have enough theoretical preparation." EXACTLY. This was the argument Georg Feuerstein made in critiquing contemporary yoga in the west. The context is all! Look at the so-called "problem" of "change in sense of self." That's EXACTLY what one would expect from authentic (buddhist) meditation as it's designed to bring insight into anatta! However, if a student is not prepared, it will be terrifying and/or completely disorienting.

  4. randolphr says:

    Only 4 comments ?

    I very much hope to read more postings on this.

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