How To Avoid The Dangers Of Meditation

by Asatar Bair on August 10, 2010

You wouldn’t think meditation would be dangerous, right?

Sitting still seems like one of the safest activities imaginable. Heart Rhythm Meditation is inherently safe, but some kinds of meditation can be dangerous, occasionally causing lasting problems that are very difficult to diagnose and treat. These problems are sometimes known as “Kundalini syndrome” or “Kundalini psychosis”. Which is why I created this free downloadable eBook, to provide a comprehensive guide to the kind of energetic problems that can be caused by meditation, such as:

  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Spontaneous urges to move or take unusual postures or positions
  • Localized pain that begins and ends abruptly with no external cause
  • Abrupt changes in heart rate, including tachycardia (rapid heart rate), and bradycardia (slow heart rate), and other kinds of heart arrhythmia
  • Unusually abrupt and intense sexual sensations, pains, and urges
  • Temporary blindness
  • Uticaria and rashes
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Confusion
  • Intense emotions, particularly intense emotional swings
  • Psychotic symptoms, including ideation
  • Spontaneous speeding and slowing of thoughts
  • Spontaneous trance states, where awareness of external surroundings and conscious control are very limited
  • Unwanted and uncontrolled paranormal experiences such as psychic or clairvoyant activity
  • Suicidal and homicidal thoughts
  • Urges to self-mutilate
  • Inability to talk
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • A sense of one’s own thoughts and emotions being foreign and invasive

The Dangers Of Meditation: How To Avoid Them Or Heal Yourself From Them

The Dangers of Meditation is a 25-page eBook which is for anyone who wishes to understand the major physiological and emotional problems that occur for some people who practice certain methods of meditation. These problems do not occur for everyone; most people seem to be unaffected. And these problems do not occur in Heart Rhythm Meditation because of our focus on the physical body, our balanced and safe way of breathing, and our respect for the mind and ego.

Those who have never experienced a problem with meditation may still want to read this guide for its description of how energy flows in the body, and how to heal people who have experienced this kind of problem.

Have you had any of these symptoms as the result of your practice of meditation? I’d love to hear your experience. Please write a comment!

Asatar

{ 37 comments }

Rev. Mary Miller August 10, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I spent 6 1/2 years at an Ashram. I had meditated long before that, but only once a week, for about 20 minutes per sit. Once at the ashram, I was beginning to meditate for a min. of an hour a day, with seeing some unusual reactions to those around me as well as myself.

1. The Yoga Nod…the head literally snaps bob forward like a ’start’. This comes from spending too much time in meditation in one sit.
2. Identity crisis problems: many members couldn’t keep it straight where they were, sometimes dazing around into what exactly they were becoming…some lost themselves into psychotic breaks.
3. The unable to feel the body syndrome: this is when the etheric body is being used so often they often ‘come back’ not being able to literally feel their legs, arms, trunk, hands, etc. Not good. This can cause accidents and sometimes even hours later after meditation can cause the person to just ‘nod off’ without reason.
4. lack of grounding…very different than above..Unable to move themselves back into their root chakras and nadis below, causing a ‘floating sensation’ by anyone seeing them, begins to cause all kinds of accidents from car wrecks to constant leg injuries.
5. Heavy meditation that is like fog. It is sluggish, heavy, makes you feel like you are in muck up to your neck and can’t move.

Learning to meditate properly is so important and not learning the proper techniques of getting yourself regrounded, can be harmful.

leslie gatica August 12, 2010 at 6:38 am

very interesting,wouid love to read the book…namaste. laxmi devi

Asatar Bair August 12, 2010 at 6:41 am

Dear Mary,
Thanks for your thoughts. It seems like you’ve seen some interesting issues firsthand. Can I ask what kind of meditation you were practicing in the ashram?
Asatar

Asatar Bair August 12, 2010 at 6:42 am

Hi Leslie,
Thank you… let me know what you think of the eBook once you’ve had a chance to read it!
Namaste,
Asatar

Roxanna L Rutter August 15, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Years ago, actually decades ago, in an art class we used creative visualization and occult visualization
techniques to connect (conjure up?), create, clarify, and enhance inner imagery for later manifestation into sculptural form.
Leaning in direction of highly developed visual field (outer & INNER) anyhow, this was an elixir for my young mind/psyche.
My art thrived; at times phantasmagorical forms emerged delighting my senses and others as well. The era was rich and ripe for exploration in many dimensions and levels of being. Early Seventies in San Francisco.
In a sense, I became addicted to the imagery of a creative mind, an expanded mind ~ in the sculpture studio many of us artists were tapping into the personal and universal vastness.
Later, after years of transcendent, Zen, and Vipassana meditation, I sat with a Buddhist monk from Thailand. Circa 1997, Minneapolis, MN. Several things were revealed to me following this; one of which was that I thwarted my own development through meditation by internally ’seeking’ (desiring and wishing) phantasmagorical images ~ dreamlike landscapes and creatures for the purpose of exploring colour and form in different media . . . and for sensory delight and entertainment, offering me an escape from more difficult thresholds along the path.
Now I practice Heart Rhythm and must admit that, still, sometimes, I wish for the mystical experiences to present themselves through vision. Yet, the growing foundation beneath my feet and in my heart offer such a trusted stability
that I trust the visions shall appear with far greater resonance and integration in my whole being. Seems like a true unfoldment ~ where once luminous, but disparate images prevailed, an unfurling of a pulsation of one whole plant
connects me to the infinite gossamer threads of a magnificent, stunning tapestry of Oneness.
With Love for All Creation, Roxanna

Asatar Bair August 17, 2010 at 10:49 am

What an interesting observation, Roxanna. Thank you for sharing this.
love,
Asatar

Grinity August 28, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Thanks so much for this ebook. I very much enjoyed reading it – it answered lots of my questions.

I’m new to all types of meditation, probably because my earlier encounters tended to exaggerate my natural tendency towards spacy-ness. One nice exception was that in my 20s an acquaintance showed me how to imagine a purple bubble of safety when I felt unsupported. This was useful and I did it many times. I’m so pleased to have come in contact with these ideas. I’m looking forward to learning how to meditation to increase the strength of my heart and ground myself into this life further, bringing all that love from far out places into every moment of my daily life.

It seems to me that if meditation is powerful enough to actually increase health, then – when done improperly – it must also be powerful enough to decrease health. That is just logical, right?

I have the idea that what I have been told are ‘OverExcitabilities’ are a gross emotion, so when I find that I am irritated by being too hot/cold/itchy I seek to use Elemental Breathing to refine my sensitivity, so that I can co-exist peacefully in whatever environment I am currently in, to the level that most people can. I wonder if folks with Environmental Sensitivities such as to perfumes have found this useful.

Thank you
Grinity

Asatar Bair September 8, 2010 at 5:09 am

Hi Grinity, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found the eBook to be helpful. I like your use of the element breaths to tune yourself to the environment. Asatar

Natesh December 23, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Dear Reader,

Meditation is NOT about any specific method or path.

The essence of any meditative experience is to feel a sense of freedom and peace and calm… and if done consistently – to feel so at all times….

Anything which is not resulting in the above essence – because of any method or path or combinations thereof – or improper training or teaching or even prolonged experimentations – will surely lead to unwanted and unforeseen results…

There is danger and risk in everything in life… you can swim in water or drown in water tooo… you can cut an apple or you can cut an abdomen for curative surgery too…

But, it does make sense to choose wisely and be wholly attentive to meditative experiential unfolding – in a way that you should adopt and adapt to whatever suits your personality and lifestyle… the inner insight of your discrimination is the most essential inner power that you need to use at all times in the spiritual path…

And, the reason that Meditation is NOT a path or a method is because – the feeling of freedom and peace cannot be restricted to ANY particular path or discipline – which then becomes contradictive in its very nature.

But, in the beginners’ practices – some kind of preparatory processes need to be done – simply because of social conditioning and to break certain patterns that prevent new experiences.

Any change has its own inherent resistance – and anything new will have to come out of some evolving fresh insight and experience.

The Golden Rule in Spirituality – is to Allow Changes Everywhere and Be Still within.

Love and Good Wishes,
Natesh

Asatar Bair December 29, 2010 at 11:19 am

Dear Natesh,
Thank you for your interesting comment. It sounds from your remarks that you have had good success in your own practice, and may you continue to enjoy the wonder of unfoldment. Each moment is truly an incredible opportunity to awaken.
Asatar

Perrin April 16, 2011 at 9:20 am

I started meditating a few months ago. Being that I had very little faith I treated meditation like an activity that may or may not work. After doing it for a few months I began to feel the energy for the first time. I became overly excited when I realize that the meditation was very powerful. Therefore I began to meditate too intensively. It resulted in a psychotic break with the feeling of a huge pressurized ball of energy moving up and down my body. I have recovered to some degree but need a teacher to assist me in recovery. The water breath works but sometimes it makes the energy ball up into a pressurized centre. I need to heal. I invoke for Maharajji to heal my heart but it is Just my karma to play out. Help please!
Thank You,
Perrin P.

Asatar Bair May 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Hi Perrin,
I’m so sorry to hear of the intense distress you seem to be experiencing. A hands-on healing would be most helpful for you. Your spelling seems English rather than American… are you in the UK? Puran and Susanna are giving a seminar there this weekend. There is a free event as well. More at http://www.followyourheart.org Keep working on bringing the energy down and into your heart with a full, rhythmic breath. Good luck to you!
Asatar

Betty Spencer June 20, 2011 at 6:33 am

I practised yoga for about 5 years. No spiritual experience, mantras,or expectations of evolving. just wanted to stretch and stay limber. For one year I did kundalini yoga. I experienced very dark and disturbing ocurrences. Things developed over the next thirty years. spider-like sensations across my shoulders. burning bones, ulcerative colitus,severe thirst,dry eyes, inner sounds in my head, depressionirritable bowel syndrome,severe fatigue,fibromyalgia.restless leg syndrome. I have overcome or coped with many of these symptoms. I am a born again Christian. I am convinced that yoga has nothing to do with spiritual evolution. It is a deceptive demonic practice. if you claim to be a Christian, stay far away from it. I wish someone had warned me.

Asatar Bair June 20, 2011 at 9:14 am

Dear Betty,
I’m so sorry to hear of these negative energetic experiences you had as a result of Kundalini yoga. The problems you describe are the result of energy flowing in the wrong direction and intensity for you, not demons. Luckily, the energy can be made to flow in the right way by strengthening the energy of your heart, and this is very much in harmony with your strong faith in Christ. Read the e-book for practices which do this, or contact me directly at the IAM office (520) 299-2170 and I will help you with practices which use breath, rhythm, and a concentration on Jesus Christ.
God bless you
Asatar

Dan July 7, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Its been months since my last meditation. I had stumbled accross Kundalini Awakening during meditation. During my first experience it felt like a warm “fuzzy/tingling” intense energy that flowed from the root and bursted at the crown chakra. I could literally feel it bursting and rerising several times for a couple minutes. Sort of lost my self in the experience on purpose. After my shoulders felt like they had a pretty good sunburn and had a red tone to them. I tried several times after to experience the same thing but I could not get it to that intensity. I could feel the energy flowing and each time it would make my eyes release alot of tears during the meditation it self. I began reading that Kundalini was very dangerous and stoped the meditations. But I have been thinking about meditating again and was wondering if my experience was anything unusual. Was I on the “right path” or was a being to wreckless and should I consider a guru or something be for meditating again? Sorry for grammer and spelling errors.

Asatar Bair July 12, 2011 at 8:32 am

Hi Dan,
It’s always safer to meditate under the guidance of a teacher. It sounds like you had a wonderful experience with no ill effects. I celebrate your breakthrough! It is very common to have such an experience, which then you cannot equal again, perhaps for some time. Like waves in the ocean, every so often a great wave comes. But the tide slowly rises, nonetheless. With persistence you can reach even greater peaks.
It also sounds like the experience touched upon some of your heart’s wounded places, and for that I would recommend placing your hand on your heart, breathing deeply and rhythmically, and letting your feelings flow.
Thank you so much for your comment.
Asatar

AJ July 19, 2011 at 5:21 am

This site and your ebook are probably life savers for a lot of people =) my ex suffered from Kundalini Syndrome as a result of a near-death experience, so I have great sympathy for people stuck in the same situation. Anyway I just wanted to say thanks for providing all of this info for free.

Asatar Bair July 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Hi AJ,
I have not heard of Kundalini Syndrome occurring from a near-death experience. How interesting. How has your ex dealt with the condition?
thanks for your comment
Asatar

jz August 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I have not had any experiences like mentioned above but sometimes my hands will curl up and can even be painful. Any ideas about this. It starts out feeling like energy.

Asatar Bair August 12, 2011 at 8:13 am

Dear JZ,
Are you sitting with your hands palm-up? I would recommend placing your hands palm-down on your thighs. Focus your attention on your breath: deep, full, rhythmic, and heart-centered. Try to feel your heartbeat. Breathe in tune with your heartbeat. On the exhalation, send your breath out through your hands from your heart.
Thanks for your comment!
Asatar

C Landon August 12, 2011 at 7:35 am

Thank you for warning your readers about extreme forms of dissociation. As a scholar of world religions (University of Chicago) I can verify that most — if not all — mystical traditions emphasize the need for serious practitioners to balance meditation of any kind with physical work in service to the community.

This could be as simple as weeding in a community garden or accompanying a senior citizen on a walk. Some people plant and water native wildflowers to restore them to their environment and provide food and shelter for the birds.

If your job and volunteer work are physical, and done with a heart for service, you are already including that component in your life and your prayer life will be both Holy and Grounded.

Too many seekers believe that JUST thinking beautiful thoughts is enough; some think that purifying their feelings are all that is necessary. But we were given bodies for a reason, to practice compassion on the material plane.

‘As above, so below’ Hermes Trismagistus
‘Faith without works is dead.’ Epistle of James, brother of Jesus
‘Right thinking, right action, compassion,’ Buddha

Asatar Bair August 12, 2011 at 8:15 am

Dear C Landon,
Thank you so much for your interesting comment! I like what you say about bringing spiritual practice into everyday life.
Asatar

Rev Claudell County September 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I am so happy to find this article. I have avoided meditation for many years because of some negative experiences I had. I was a disciple of Kriya Yoga, Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago (Goswami Kriyananda). After reading this, I understand what was happening to me and why I could never communicate it. When I was at a camp with Pir Vilayat in 1983, I had a much different experience. I’ve been leading it from the pulpit ever since.I just knew it as breathe in through the top of the head, sweep the breath/love through my body and project out love into the world with the exhale. I have been avoiding individual meditation for a long time. This ebook is a real help to me. Thank you. I have signed up for 101.

Asatar Bair September 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Dear Claudell,
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I’m delighted to hear that the ebook has been helpful. I know that the 101: Introduction to Heart Rhythm Meditation course will be even more helpful!
take care,
Asatar

Shawn April 18, 2012 at 5:27 am

Hi! I recently started meditation. I did my first practice about two months ago but didn’t geticy of an experience. I just had my second practice a few hours ago and all I can say is WOW!!! All the tingling and the weight I felt on my abdomen. It got more and more intense the harder and deeper breathes I took. I do.t quite understand that. I only meditated for ten minutes cause I’m still a beginner, but close to that ten minute mark I felt my eyes getting heavier. Like I was about to go in a trance. I didn’t want to go that far without at least knowing what I was getting into. I’ve also heard that the more you meditate a lot of things will start occurring. Such as you will need to eat and sleep less. You will have more lucid dreams. But I don’t know about all that. Do you happen to know why I felt all the weight on my abdomen?

Asatar Bair April 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Dear Shawn,
Thanks so much for your question. I wanted to give a longer answer than I could just in the comments, so I wrote a whole post on the topic:
Learn the Universal Language.
I hope it helps!
thanks again
Asatar

E. Werland April 24, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Experienced drug-induced Kundalini rising in 2004. Still seeking an appropriate method of “regrounding”. All I can say is good luck to those who are experiencing difficulties with there inner energy. Picturing a flickering candle in your and uttering a familiar mantra or prayer can sometimes temporarily help you. Unless of course you’ve subjected yourself to too many negative thought forms. I’ve lost my natural flowing mind and therefore have nothing. If thought-forms are a problem, I suggest seeking comfort within the Tao te Ching. I hope this helps somebody. Peace.

Asatar Bair April 25, 2012 at 7:49 am

Hi EW,
Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope the ebook is helpful! Let me know how it works for you.
take care,
Asatar

Mitaka November 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Hi all .I am from Bulgaria. I have a Kundalini sindrome from 1 year. My life is terrible.I lost my job.I cant sleep normal. I feel like a dead man walking.Most stuped thing is that nobody warning about danger of spiritual practice. Ther is a many people in the world who suffer from Kundalini sindrome and nobody can help them.I pray every day to Jeses for help .I hope one day I can live a normal life.

Alex December 29, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I’m a little bit taken away when I read about negative effects on meditation.

I’m sure there’s a direct corresponding connection with mental health and meditating. Considering you are entering your subconscious, different doors are being open.

But, I feel you could say this with anything. Too much TV could leave to negative effects, but I wouldn’t go as far to say it turns it into a Zombie….

I’ve been meditating with a help of a guide for quite some time and wasn’t even aware of negative repercussion till now!

Asatar Bair January 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

Dear Alex,
I’m glad to hear that you have not experienced any negative effects. It’s good that you have a guide. Read the eBook to get more detail on what kinds of negative effects exist and what mechanisms cause them.
take care,
Asatar

Vlad May 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Hello Dr. Asatar,

I have began meditation 5 or 6 months ago. I don`t know what kind of meditation i did. I had the ones experience once. After a while from smoking a lot of cannabis i had some panic attacks and after that i got depersonalised. After a while i think i had a spiritual awakening, i started to have panic attacks, big pressure on my solar plexus, feeling of losing my mind etc, after a while those things has disappeared but i developed new symptoms like constant pressure in the head, tinnitus, dizziness. I tried acupuncture too, it helped to lose the panic attacks and depression. And now i found your site and downloaded the ebook. Do you think it`s safe for me to try that breathing technique? I`m a bit afraid not to lose my mind or something.

I need some help from you.

Thank you very much!

Asatar Bair May 21, 2013 at 6:48 am

Dear Vlad,
I am so sorry to hear that you have been experiencing all these negative symptoms. I’m glad that acupuncture has been helpful. I think the water breath described in the ebook will be safe for you to practice. But to be sure, I would like to talk to you further. Please call our office at 520-299-2170. We are there M-F from 9-5 Arizona time. It is always best to practice meditation under the guidance of a teacher.
warm regards,
Asatar

Lindy July 27, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I’m a psychology major in college. Cannabis, believe it or not, is connected to developing psychotic symptoms further. If you were already genetically predisposed to any anxiety or panic disorders, cannabis will worsen these disorders because your body becomes dependent on the drug to relieve those symptoms instead of using techniques in an attempt to naturally relax your body such as meditation. Can you guess what happens when you’ve stopped smoking cannabis? Symptoms worsen more so with cannabis than with anti-anxiety drugs because cannabis does two things for you: relaxes your body AND provides you with an inner happiness that you do not have to provide yourself naturally. Without cannabis, severe depression and panic attacks can occur easily if you are a regular smoker. Feel free to research the psychological effects cannabis smoking can lead to in relation to anxiety and depression.

Asatar Bair July 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Dear Lindy,
Thank you for your comment. Yes, I believe that there are many such substances which act as a kind of crutch, making us weaker internally as we lean on them. I appreciate you pointing that out in detail.
warm regards,
Asatar

mike September 10, 2013 at 3:15 am

Hello.

I started practicing TM in january and after a week of trying, i did reach some sort of eternal thought. Deep down in a quite mind i asked myself how long it would take to learn everything and just accepted that it would take an eternity. wich mean that i had already happened. All of a sudden i transcendented and i understood the difference between time and enternity. It was totally amazing. Over the next few weeks i was in a spiritual emergency questioning everything I had ever learned and gaining more and more knowledge. As soon as i had a question in my mind i could tell you the answer, and in an allmost timeless mind it didn’t take weeks to ponder difficult things of life but it took no time at all.

after seven days I got pride into my mind. I thought that if i had this mind i could do all things. And this is when it started to go wrong. My thoughts started to become wierder and things didn’t connect with reality anymore. I ended up in hospital and some doctors called me bipolar some dont.

I don’t like that diagnose…

anyhow. i had no idea this could or would happen. it was the most beautiful experience and i wish everyone could experinse this thought of eternal inside their mind. It gives answers to all things really.. i know it might sound wierd. But once i started to reserach mystics and yoga and the message of christ more closely i see that the endpoint of all religons seems to be for people to reach enlightment within. the problem is it can never be taught. The path can be shown but spiritual awakening of once self, once spirit nature seemss to be the missing link to most people. After it time becomes a pleasant ride. Im in the process of writing this experience down.

I can see the problems with the darkness that can occur when meeting the inner self, it is important to focus on the light when this happens.

Now its like i belive in god, or something unnamed, cus I saw it.. or heard it or experienced it. its deep with in if one dears to listen.

It was truly a lifechanging event. so treat it with respect. Now i back to normal and just reflects on the greatness of life…

Asatar Bair September 10, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Dear Mike,
Thank you for sharing your experience of unity with me and the readers of this blog. An experience of unity is marked by its lack of limitation, where you experience life in a way that is unbounded, through the experience of eternity, perfection, and/or infinity, which are each slightly different. I agree with you completely that the state of unity is the goal of all of religion, philosophy, and mysticism. It is the meaning of the word “yoga,” often translated as “yoke,” but what it really means is “unity.”
There is a certain danger in widening your consciousness to the infinite without the help of a teacher; it is possible that your mind is not prepared to integrate the experience. Doctors may consider this bipolar, because the gap between your experience of unlimited reality and your personal thoughts and feelings, which are quite limited, may seem vast indeed.
Mike, if we can be of service to you in any way, we are here for you. Our school is designed to help students cultivate and integrate the experience of unity, so that all our thoughts, words, and actions reflect the reality of the oneness of Being. Please give us a call at 520-299-2170 or send us an email at info@iam-u.org.
warm regards,
Asatar

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