Meditation is great for our well being – but does it carry any dangers?

Article by Itai Ivtzan Ph.D.    Psychology Today 11 March 2016 

In this article Itai Ivtzan argues there could be potential risks to certain individuals, These include:

  • Facing dormant or buried emotions. One profound  experience  encountered during meditation is the interaction with yourself. This can often get people in touch with buried and suppressed emotions for which they are not prepared.
  • Frustration at not achieving the experience which is hoped for. There are many claims of elaborate transcendence in popular culture which can be unrealistic or un-achievable.
  • Being with the wrong practitioner or not in the ‘right’ type of practice.  There are many approaches to meditation, with many claiming that there is only one effective way to meditate. Such claims are just restrictive. Practising a wrong meditation technique or with the wrong practitioner could be a harmful experience for a person
  • Meditation is not a replacement for therapy. If someone is facing difficulties and seeking help, meditation might not offer the support they are hoping for. It might be that they need to see a therapist to feel heard and understood.
  • Not being able supply enough self-compassion . Engagement with meditation can present uncomfortable feelings and sensations within. Practice requires an obligation towards ourselves to be self-compassionate. A peril lies here in pushing too far, too much, beyond the capacity of our heart and soul, at that given moment.
  • Dangers of non-attachment. Non-attachment is one of the building blocks of meditation. It is the skill of taking a step back from whatever happens, or whatever we feel, acknowledging that it is transient, and accepting that it will soon change and transform. However,  such non-attachment does not mean avoiding, repressing or disregarding anything. We should not detach ourselves from the people and activities we love and enjoy, nor should we become passive or inactive.