Out of My Mindfulness Part 2

silhouette of woman sitting cross-leggedPart 1 of this series told of the ACLJ’s action against Buddhist meditation being forced on school kids.

The ACLJ’s researchers dug into general (not just school-related) reports on mindfulness/meditation. Turns out that with this current craze, mindfulness being trendy and cool, studies don’t report the negative side effects (or they downplay those). That matches info I’d found recently.

One article gave several specifics (and it’s significant that this is a secular article):

  • A guy said meditation made him become more withdrawn.
  • Some people “describe a loss of emotion beyond what they wanted.”
  • One guy said he felt what I would call a “who cares?” attitude about other people’s problems. But then at some point, he swung the other way and became overly emotional.
  • A person mentioned feelings of having no self.

One psychologist said that “the purpose of mindfulness is not to make you dissociated.”

That may not be any given psychologist’s purpose, but isn’t that exactly Buddhism’s purpose? If you study Buddhism’s goal of detachment, it only follows that mindfulness/meditation amounts to being trained not to feel anything and to become enlightened to the idea that everything is an illusion.

This piece notes that many research studies on meditation aren’t even asking about negative side effects. (Doesn’t that mean the evidence is skewed?)

A professor said that when people experience bad side effects, “it’s hard to know what they were doing that caused harm.” It’s hard to know only because the poor professor is unaware of the dangers of false religions.

If you want more . . .

A 2015 report says that a student in a “meditation retreat” had very negative side effects. The reporter thinks this happens quite often but isn’t reported.

This 2017 report has some big words to wade through. But it definitely talks about how we in the West have tried to “secularize” this sort of meditation practice. And that there is under-reporting about bad side effects. The report is careful about placing too much blame, but still gives enough detailed information to make us feel some caution.

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