Mindfulness Area Research: Negative Experiences with Mindfulness
People begin meditation with the misconception that meditation will help them escape from their problems. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, meditation does the exact opposite, forcing the meditator to confront their issues. In meditation, the practitioner tries to quiet the mind. But, in that relaxed quiet state, powerful, highly emotionally charged thoughts and memories are likely to emerge. The strength here is that meditation is a wonderful occasion to begin to deal with these issues. But often the thoughts or memories are overwhelming. At times, professional therapeutic intervention may be needed.
Many practitioners never experience these negative experiences or only experience very mild states. There are, however, few systematic studies of the extent of negative experiences. In general, the research has reported that unwanted (negative) experiences are quite common with meditators, but for the most part, are short-lived and mild. There is, however, a great need for more research into the nature of the experiences that occur during meditation.
Summaries of recent studies on negative experiences with mindfulness can be found at the Negative Experiences link http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/category/research-news/negative-experiences/ on the Contemplative Studies blog http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/ .
Links to the Research on Negative Experiences with Mindfulness
Mindfulness Training can Produce Harm but Much can be Avoided
Yoga Injuries are Common but Most Can Be Avoided
The Variety of Meditation Experiences
Meditation Can Produce Uncomfortable Effects
What’s Wrong with Meditation II – Improper Instruction