Fantastic interview up on the Waking Up app: The Dark Side of Meditation. I’ve listened twice so far, since I listen while multitasking, inevitably missing out on portions, but this topic rarely comes up (Let’s face it, in our day-to-day circles, there are already enough detractors, so who wants to fill the inspirational space with downsides?).
Nonetheless, it may be a good sign we’ve reached this point in the conversation; we can draw from systematic research (ongoing) into the disparate effects of spiritual practice. Which seems particularly important since many people are gleaning the larger part of their information and practice instructions online. When they hit an issue or disturbance, there may be no one there to directly help evaluate whether it is something that will pass naturally, or something needs to be immediately addressed. There also may be no one there to help hold awareness of ‘the whole’ of a person’s life as they become focused on bringing forth changes, making it difficult or even impossible to integrate the new knowledge and ways of being.
Maybe we can call this a wine skin crossroad of awakening?
But here’s the thing about this point in the journey: to discard the old wine skin makes sense at the beginning. Just as a person in recovery from addiction may need to separate from old friend groups and hang outs, there is a time not to look to the left or right. However, we are (seemingly at least for now) finite beings sharing one globe – not to mention roads, buses, stores, political systems, etc. We can’t help but matter to each other, want to be seen by each other… care.
What comes to mind for me is the community required when a new baby comes into the world. There is the mother’s and baby’s experience, which rightfully may be most important just then, but also the father’s, the parents’ as a team, siblings’, grandparents’, etc. It is an entire ecosystem!
So I love that the interview begins with the role of emotion, and the way many people come to meditation and spiritual practice because they can’t get a handle on their emotion. Mitigating the negative MAY mitigate the positive as well, and there is a point at which this must open up further beyond those two, or else the effect may be disconnection… inability to deeply feel, or to feel about. I love that more of us are standing up for our emotional responses.
I’m not saying there is any way around the reality that when one changes, there are reverberations, but it is crucial to look soberly. And anyway I just wanted to chime in a little. 🙂 Now I’m off to pick up sandwiches for a work party, feeling grateful for my own re-entry, if you will.