Mad over Meditation

I’m teaching a six-week meditation workshop at a yoga studio in our town. I’ve probably taught about a dozen of them over the past eight years and have heard lots of different reactions along the way. Some say they just can’t quiet their minds for more than a second or two. That’s a common reaction since we are so focused in our everyday lives on doing, not being. They realize the benefits of meditation are substantial, but are frustrated. I tell them to just keep at it and watch what happens. On the other extreme, I’ve heard stories from others who are meditation-prone, and possibly mediumistic,  about spirit contact taking place during meditation. Usually, it involves contact through a vision or a voice with a deceased loved one.

But this time, after the second session, I was approached by two students who both experienced something else altogether following the first class. They both went home and became angry, really angry. One of them said she got enraged at her husband over some insignificant matter. Why did that happen, they wanted to know. Meditation, after all, is supposed to be about finding calmness and inner peace, not blowing up!

Well, not always. Sometimes the process of meditation—deep relaxation and focusing inward—can release buried energy in the form of anger over old issues, possibly something that happened during childhood. It seems that anger is the opposite of what we expect from meditation, but the release of buried negative energy can be cathartic, and once it’s out, it’s gone for good.

In retrospect, I have the feeling that other students over the years have had similar experiences, but didn’t say anything about it, probably because they thought they were doing something wrong. In other words, they might’ve thought that if they were really meditating, they wouldn’t have such a negative reaction.

Although I can’t recall experiencing that reaction to meditation myself, it is a ‘thing.’ Meditation teacher and author Tom Cronin explains it this way: “When your body is calm and descends into a deep level of metabolic rest (as it does in deep meditation), it’s going to restore balance and release stresses that are stored in your body. These stresses are actually stored in the form of energy and like all energy, it can’t be destroyed. It can only be transformed.”

The key is to be aware that the object of your anger is not necessarily the source of it. But releasing it can have positive results. Cronin gives five suggestions at the end of his article for releasing pent up anger. You can find them here.

For more on meditation techniques….

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to Mad over Meditation

  1. Laurence Zankowski says:

    Rob,

    This goes along with the “Bach Flower Remedies” activation, ( except in pets, probably ) the Dr. Bach told folks that the expression of deep trauma needs to be released to allow the natural state of life to come forward.

    I would be like the the two students you have, anger, frustration. I guess it would take a very conscientious instructor to see these attributes come up, give guidance and let the process take over.

    Be well

    Laurence

    p.s. please take no offense, I write what is coming to my head.

    • Trish and Rob says:

      Thanks Laurence, Like I said, I have not heard that reaction to a meditation class very often—probably because the experiences thinks she/he was doing something wrong to attract that kind of emotional response. While it might seem disturbing to the person who experiences it, it can also serve as a cleansing of buried emotions. Here’s another response, of a different nature, that I just received from a student who attended my class last night.

      “Last night’s meditation was more experiential than the previous sessions. After the relaxation exercise you guided us through the 10 minute meditation. During this time, visions of faces and magenta/purple colors like a lazer light show danced around. During the crystal room meditation and looking into the mirror brought tears of joy and happiness. Thank you for guiding us and teaching us how to reach these enlightened spaces.”