A discussion on: Meditation, Is it Dangerous or not? 

Is Meditation dangerous? 

Is Meditation dangerous? This topic came up because there was an article trending on social media the other day about dangers around meditation and i know questions come up a lot around challenges with Meditation and Mindfulness. There's a lot of fear around doing it right. So i know when those kinds of articles come out it really feeds into people's anxiety around meditation and mindfulness. So, i thought it'd be useful to really dig into the research, take a look at it, maybe dispel some of the myths or some of the misinformation.

That was going into that article. So the article's title was mindfulness and meditation can worsen depression and anxiety. it turns out the research didn't actually claim that but clickbait am i right there were a lot of lines in the article like this one that suggested, maybe the people involved didn't know that much about meditation. But like why would you want to pay attention to your thoughts. Have you seen thoughts so let's just skip right over the click bait and get into the actual research study. It was a systematic review of previous research on meditation. So what this paper is about is that these researchers go and they get a whole bunch of different research papers on meditation. Maybe it was meditation using it in therapy. Maybe it was you know just getting a bunch of people to meditate to see like did they say, it was good. Did it help them at work? did it help them in school? Did it change their brain? Could be anything. But what they're looking for then is in the data. Did anybody say, hey, after i meditated my head exploded is that bad and then they said that. That is bad and then they record that as an adverse event if you meditate and your head explodes that is what's known as a meditation adverse event.

 So, the study is called adverse events in meditation practices and meditation-based therapies, a systematic review anyway. Here's a high-level overview of what the study found. They looked at 83 studies. 55 of the studies within that larger group of 83 actually reported meditation adverse events. In total that added up to six thousand seven hundred and three participants. Eight point three percent reported something, uh going wrong. So, within that eight point three percent anxiety was the most popular. Hugely popular anxiety depression, uh cognitive anomalies, uh you know 16 percent of the people reported pain. 16 disassociation depersonalization, i'm going to mention why i'm calling those out.

 We'll come around to them. Two things that immediately jumped out to me as strange in they did this in the original. The kind of click-baity article but that also the research study did it as well. They talk about meditation as though it's just this one thing but uh meditation's really a category, uh it's like saying cardio like, it's a there's so many different types of things you can do under the umbrella of meditation. So doing a study like this and just lumping all the meditation together, that's like doing a study on exercise injuries and not differentiating between zumba and olympic weightlifting. Obviously the potential for injury is different depending on the different exercise and the way you're doing it. They also don't talk about like how people were doing the meditation.

The other thing i was shocked by and this  was a surprise but the incredibly low percentage of adverse events. Only 8.3 of people said they had something. They saw as a problem and then within that only 16 of the 8 mentioned pain like, where do you meditate do you even sit bro? you're meditating to learn how to sit with uncomfortable experiences without judgment and change. How you interact with them complaining about anxiety, while meditating would be like complaining about sweat, while exercise. like i i'm pretty sure everything is working humanly. It's just like if i go to the gym for the very first time because somebody told me that, uh exercise and weightlifting is good for physical fitness. So i'm like oh well that sounds stupid but i'll give it a try. I guess so and i go in, and i'm like well, i heard weight lifting is supposed to be good sounds hype to me, and then i get a bunch of weights and then, i drop the weights on my foot and it breaks my foot. I don't then go and tell people that oh weight lifting is stupid, like they said weightlifting was good for physical fitness. But weight lifting broke my foot right, that's  just, that's stupid that's such a dumb A**,. Thing to do but so much of this uh meditation study that's like, that's what it reminded me of.

Sorry, we're supposed to be practicing non-judgment. Here we are all cosmic beings of immeasurably perfect light and vibrations. Actually in zen we practice seeing things as they are, oh okay thanks master eq-- that's good to know. Blaming the exercise for you screwing it up. That makes you a dumba** speaking of physical fitness. This got me thinking about exercise you know as a society all over the world we're pretty into physical fitness and exercise.

Now i wonder what kind of injury rates we see in physical fitness for exercise equipment. So things like the ball in Gym, 468 315 injuries reported in 2019. Bicycles alone again account for over 400 000 injuries. Each year bowling over 16 000. Boxing also 16 000. Wait let's check it out, in the data, yeah there's exercise equipment bicycles, yup boxing 16 071, bowling 16 615. Isn't the entire point of boxing basically to injure your opponent but maybe that's just it. That's why there are fewer injuries reported for boxing because it's part of the game. It's what people are working on learning how to handle and they don't see it as an anomaly as an injury. It's like already i'm super sore my head is bleeding just another day in the ring. I think that's why the number for adverse events reported in meditation is. Also i would say very low at eight percent for the things they mentioned. Uh anxiety dissociation pain eight percent of people experiencing that while having a serious meditation practice and like using meditation and therapy.

 That is low, and i imagine that's because just like in boxing you've got great teachers and when you step into that ring, when you step onto that mat, those teachers ideally are telling you that you're about to experience something that can be quite intense. That can be very challenging that can be very difficult, you know, you've got meditation teachers. Who are saying to you, look whatever you bring to your meditation mat today is going to be. With you on that meditation mat today you're going to come right, up against that trauma, that anxiety that racing mind that pain, that desire that regret. We're spending so much time you know say we're distracting, disturbing, confusing, So busy so busy distracting.

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