Dear Lighthouse Trails:
This article came up in a feed, and I thought it might be a useful reminder to your readers. It’s a 2017 shallow academic re-run of what LHT has devotedly and thoroughly covered in depth for years!
I imagine a title like:
“Study Names 59 Categories of Unexpected and Unwanted Side Effects Of Meditation”
This is the mainstream article that covered it in 2017:
“Meditation can bring about a wide variety of thoughts and emotions—some are peaceful, others are not.”
Key Quote: “The researchers identified 59 kinds of unexpected or unwanted experiences, which they classified into seven domains: cognitive, perceptual, affective (related to moods), somatic, conative (related to motivation), sense of self, and social. Among the experiences described to them were feelings of anxiety and fear, involuntary twitching, insomnia, a sense of complete detachment from one’s emotions, hypersensitivity to light or sound, distortion in time and space, nausea, hallucinations, irritability, and the re-experiencing of past traumas. The associated levels of distress and impairment ranged from “mild and transient to severe and lasting,” according to the study.”
This is the original study (2017):
“The varieties of contemplative experience: A mixed-methods study of meditation-related challenges in Western Buddhists”
A key Quote: “The vast majority (88%) of participants reported that challenging or difficult meditation experiences bled over into daily life or had an impact on their life beyond a meditation retreat or beyond a formal practice session. The term “symptoms” is used here to denote the subset of experiences that were experienced as challenging, difficult or functionally impairing. Fig 1 shows the duration of symptoms and their associated impairment. The median duration of symptoms was 1–3 years, ranging from a few days to more than 10 years. While 10% reported minimal impairment, impairment tended to mirror symptom duration, lasting from days to more than a decade. The majority of the sample (73%) indicated moderate to severe impairment in at least one domain, with 17% reporting suicidality, and 17% requiring inpatient hospitalization.”
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)
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