Meditation and mindfulness is promoted as a power to help people put stress out of their minds and live for the moment to reduce fear and anxiety, while allowing the practitioner to be more aware of their space and impact on the world and those around them. The treatment can itself trigger mania, depression, hallucinations and psychosis, psychological studies in the UK and US have found. one in 14 of them suffered ‘profoundly adverse effects’, according to Dr Miguel Farias, head of the brain, belief and behaviour research group at Coventry University and Catherine Wikholm, a researcher in clinical psychology at the University of Surrey.
He said: ‘The assumption of the majority of both TM [transcendental meditation] and mindfulness researchers is that meditation can only do one good. ‘This shows a rather narrow-minded view. How can a technique that allows you to look within and change your perception or reality of yourself be without potential adverse effects?
The answer is that it can’t, and all meditation studies should assess not only positive but negative effects.’ minfulness bias
If you don't want to know more about this perhaps the ideal of mindfulness could use a bit more work, if you are selling the idea then it is a good time to determine your qualifications to do so. Dr Deepak Chopra is a proponent of TM and mindfulness, there is nothing better, he suggests, than letting your mind go into that blank space of nothingness, he is qualified to aid you in discovering that place, he has teams of specialists at his disposal and more than that, over 40 years as a doctor in his experiential bag, but does he leave everything to the meditative solution? the answer is no he does not, he encourages that you discover what you need within but also provides guidance, a listening ear to help with the discoveries and himself sells recorded guided meditations that direct you to live with a greater belief in yourself.
Self diagnosing on the net and then self prescribing with free youtube resources can bring its own problems as when you are in that depressive space or stressed out to the max, you may not be the best person to select treatment, it is easy to go for what appears to be the quick fix and completely miss the point. As an hypnotherapist i love meditation techniques and of course the process of hypnosis, the results are truly dynamic, it has to be said that many times after consultation, I am the one choosing both the target and most effect program due to the natural desire of the client to reduce symptoms. From my perspective those symptoms will disappear once you have eliminated the cause, I am comfortable saying that many failures with hypnosis are purely about not seeking the right target. I can remember a lovely man who came to me for smoking cessation, as we started his induction he suddenly sat up in the chair and asked me to hold his hand, when i asked him why he said, " my dad used to light a cigar after a good day and let me sit on his knee, this didn't happen often, only when he was celebrating success." Clearly he was not going to stop smoking if I used a toxicity technique as in his early years he could identify smoking with both success and love, it was time to find a new target to achieve what this man desired.
Even with Energy Therapy when a client is in pain, I find myself encouraging them to focus on the big picture and not use the energy like a painkiller (and yes this does work) as it will only be a success in the short term, that over a matter of weeks the pain will return, Energy does not know where to go as so many love to say, it goes in your body, where you direct it. If you consciously want a particular result or have a mistaken idea of what the core issue is, you won't get elimination, you will feel much better for a while though. This specifically is why entering a single directed program can have more benefits than you can possibly imagine, whether you are trying to evolve an already okay life, heal the past or rejuvenate a flagging body it is worth seeking out the professional who can provide what you need and guide you through the pitfalls, one of which is being in an ongoing cycle of trying to heal yourself.
When I first started meditating on a regularly basis, I had no plan it just happened and for the next 12 months i was meditating for somewhere in the region of 6 hours a day, not all at the same time you understand, first thing in the morning when i woke, periods during the day while the kids were at school and at night to fill my evening after the children were in bed. It was an accelerated learning period for me, but it was painful. There were times i refer to as 'the cringe', these were those raw moments where i recognized my own behaviours in full detail, they were genuinely horrible. There were times when I heard huge cracks like lightening just a few inches from my body, and still others where I experienced smells, sounds and feelings from another time. These would sometimes take days or weeks to come back from so I would meditate some more. There were times i was exhilarated and others in ecstasy. sometimes there were mind blowing creation realities and yet others where the sorrow of my own life overwhelmed me. Over time my days became freer and I was on top of the world, and then the bubble would burst open and reality of the world beyond would challenge my new found emotional freedom. I personally believe everyone can benefit from being guided through the relevant areas of this but I only had inadequately trained spiritual advisors, mediums, seichim and reiki masters, who could not answer my questions about my experiences, who had not warned me of the potentials of such deep and committed introspection. I fumbled my way through learning about energy, and then fumbled for a few years doing readings and energy work, until the realization dawned, that I was not particularly interested in helping others to have a 30 minute wow, but preferred the idea of a deep and abiding life change that could enhance the life experience. The energy work had already pushed me to do an anatomy and physiology course but I was drawn to something a bit deeper following the drive to train in Clinical Hypnotherapy and to learn the effect of language, both the language I use with clients, but also hearing the words they use to explain themselves or ask for help. Reading the aura and seeing energy changes in the body as a person spoke to me was a bonus as I had discovered over the years, that if you did not know how to interpret that back to your client in an effective way, you could not help them progress. nyehh enough about me.
Before engaging on a program of meditation and mindfulness, make sure you have the help you need, not only in finding the right balance and target but also in being able to relate the experiences you have back to someone who can help you to deal with them. Go in open eyed and ready to take a few blows to your inner belief in who you are or the story you have been selling, and then don't let yourself sit there, giving up because it is too hard, push on through the pain to gain the rewards you are seeking. Don't lie to yourself, a solid meditation practice can improve your attitude, your health and your lifestyle, but it doesn't fix your life, it doesn't remove lifelong triggers and behaviours when you are challenged. You can relax yourself with a 15 minute self-hypnosis or meditation, you can change your mind set for an interview later, but you will not have done enough to make those changes permanent if you haven't addressed the underlying issues. I know we live in an age where everyone wants everything for free, but it is still true that you get what you pay for, even if you want to do it all on your own, you will benefit from having a professional to talk to (not casual others in an online chat), about what you are going through, or even someone to help diagnose and direct you to finding what is suitable for you. Do beware of bad freebies, there are plenty out there that not only don't work, but inroad your belief in your ability to make any necessary changes. It may not be that meditation or hypnosis don't work for you but that those who produced the one you chose were either not good at it, or the one you chose was not the right one for you.