The benefits of meditation are undisputed and well-known. What is not being talked about as often are the risks in engaging in the wrong kind of meditation. As with all things, it is always best to enter into something new and dynamic like meditation with an open mind. This means understanding the boundaries that will keep you from going beyond meditation as a means of reaching out to God.
The 3 main risks in engaging in meditation without understanding as much as you can about it are:
- You choose the wrong kind of meditation that runs counter to your spiritual beliefs. There are so many different kinds of meditation: religious, guided, Heart Rhythm, among others. In fact, as of 2015, there were 23 different types of meditation and a few more were added since then, including one called orgasmic meditation. Choosing one that is not God-centered will expose and condition you to accept other values that are in direct conflict with your spiritual beliefs. If you believe in God, you should not choose to do yoga or Transcendental Meditation (TM). Here’s why: yoga is based on Hinduism and means to be “yoked” with something divine. However, the danger lies in the fact that yoga is based on pantheism that everything (including yourself, animals, plants, etc) is divine. This means you are god, plants are god, the sky is god – everything is divine.
TM, on the other hand, is based on Hindu form of rejuvenation and relaxation, wherein you sit, do yoga poses and breathing to receive a mantra or a holy word. And the objective of TM is to find god – in yourself because TM believes god and self are one. See how these two types conflict with a belief in a one true God?
- Based on neurophysiologic research at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health and the Thomas Jefferson University, meditating changes the brain. Without prayer, meditation can open the brain to unorthodox ideas that can lead you down a dangerous path. Studies show that meditation can affect the autonomic nervous system and hormones, and suddenly, you stop praying during meditation and start focusing on what you’re doing, how to do it better, chanting, and focusing on self. In the end, it becomes solely about finding that high or state of relaxation that makes you want to meditate.
- Detachment from reality is the third risk you take when you put more importance on the pursuit of a higher state over your spiritual growth. In addition, you could end up putting up barriers between you and others and lose interest in living your life as it is. By focusing on your inner self, you can become insensitive to others and start adopting the mantra, “Let me do my thing and you do your thing.”
Meditation with prayer is a wonderful way to reach out to God and to work on being a child of God – true to His words and directions. But, let’s do it the right and Godly way.