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Support Resources


If you are having a difficult time, feel anxious or just need to talk to someone, please reach out to these support resources. 

  • Information for graduate and undergraduate student support 24/7 (including urgent matters) can be found HERE 

  • Information for staff, faculty, and postdoc support 24/7 can be found HERE

  • If you have any questions about MIT Meditation Lab or the challenge, please Contact Us 
     

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Meditation and its Challenges

 

Although meditation has shown valuable benefits such as stress reduction, increased focus and concentration, pain relief, and easier sleep, among many other benefits, it is also important to recognize the potential dangers of meditation that can arise during meditation. practice. This is especially relevant for beginners, who may experience one of the challenges outlined below and think that something is wrong.

Is there a "correct" way to meditate

 

Some teachers and books claim that their way of meditating is the "correct" way and they even dismiss other techniques and approaches as incorrect. This is a dangerous area, where everyone must be extremely cautious. One of the most beautiful things about meditation is that it can be practiced in many ways and with many techniques. There are many approaches to meditation and you should find the one that is right for you. Flexibility and openness are the name of the game, and claims that there is only one effective way to meditate are simply restrictive. Practicing a wrong meditation technique could be a harmful experience for you; If you try one method of meditation for a while and still don't feel right, you'll need to switch to another.

Facing emotions

The deepest interaction you experience in meditation is the interaction with yourself. As part of that, you may come into contact with forgotten and repressed emotions. Meditation could trigger waves of anger, fear, or jealousy, which have settled deep within you and make you feel uncomfortable. This is a natural and healthy dimension of meditation practice, and these emotions will gradually disappear. However, if they do not realize that meditation can bring up those buried feelings, the practitioner may feel that something is wrong and avoid meditation, under the uncontrollable impact of the emotional wave.

Seeing lights

You may have heard stories about people saying that they see a white light or feel like they are flying like a free spirit when they meditate. Although this could be a side effect of the meditation experience, seeking such experiences is not helpful and is not the purpose of meditation. You would be frustrated if you didn't have the experience you expected. Meditate and let everything else take its natural course.

Exaggerated expectations

You may have expectations of yourself in relation to meditation: sitting for a long time, feeling calm after meditation, and not being angry; the list is long. This is where the danger of expectations lies. We are human beings and, as such, we have moments in our life when it is more difficult to sit down to meditate or feel calm than others. It is perfectly natural.

 

Meditation is not therapy

 

Mediation is a long-term journey that heals and nurtures. However, if someone faces difficulties and seeks help, meditation may not offer the support they expect. They may need to see a therapist to feel heard and understood.

 

Self-compassion in meditation

 

When we engage as part of our meditation practice with uncomfortable feelings and sensations within us, we have an obligation towards ourselves: to be self-compassionate. A danger here lies in going beyond the capacity of our heart and soul at that given moment. It's important to be able to stay still with anything that moves inside you, but you should be able to step back from the feeling or sensation if it's too much or seek professional help.

 

The danger of detachment

 

Detachment or non-attachment is one of the pillars of meditation. It is the ability to step back from anything that happens or what we feel, recognizing that it is fleeting and accepting that it will soon change and transform. This quality of detachment is important, as it helps us not to get carried away by the "drama" of life and to remain calm and peaceful.

 

However, such detachment does not mean avoiding, suppressing or ignoring anything. We should not become detached from the people and activities we love and enjoy, nor should we become passive or inactive. Detachment simply changes the quality of your relationship with life: it allows you to make conscious and peaceful decisions, because you relate to people, events, and yourself in a non-attached way.

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