Blindly following rules
I’ve been to many meditation classes as well as staying in an ashram for a few weeks in India and although many of these experiences have been amazing, with some of them I felt like I was being force fed instructions — ‘My way is the only way’ problem. This, for me is one of the main dangers of meditation so be careful and make sure you ask lots of questions.
The beauty of meditation is that there are thousands of different ways to do it so if someone is telling you that a particular meditation is the most effective or is better than others, I’d keep an open mind. Never dismiss something without first questioning, but at the same time, never blindly follow. And never feel stupid for asking lots of questions.
When you practise yoga, a good teacher will ask you if you have any injuries. If you go for acupuncture you’ll be asked for a brief medical record. However, a lot of the time when you go to a meditation class or you sign up for a meditation course, you don’t have to communicate any of these things.
Although it looks like you’re just sitting doing nothing, meditation can be incredibly powerful. You don’t know what might come to the surface. I’ve read about people who have said they felt worse after meditation in the following months of doing a specific course only to be told by the teacher that they were likely to have been suffering from something prior to the meditation. Whether this is true or not, there’s no way of knowing unless everyone embarking on a meditation course provides a medical history or tells the teacher of any problems they’ve had.
Meditation hasn’t been explored scientifically for that long despite the fact that it has been practised for hundreds of years.
The dark night of the soul
You might have heard of this term before as it can be associated with meditation or even brought on by meditation. When the dark night of the soul makes an appearance it isn’t pleasant. Whether you want to call it depression, sadness or a loss of meaning in life — the dark night of the soul might come about when you’ve been meditating to gain greater truths about the world we live in and what our true nature is. This, however, is supposed to be a phase that comes and goes despite the fact that it might seem unending and painful at the time.