A Study of Illusions Produced by Delusive Meditation and How to Be Free from Them
From the author’s preface:
“Over and over people have mistaken trivial and pathological conditions for enlightenment, written books, given seminars and gained a devoted following. I have encountered quite a few myself, including people who believed they were the Divine Mother, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, Saint Francis of Assisi, Archangel Michael, Lucifer and assorted famous masters of the past. One called our monastery and left lengthy narratives on our answering machine about herself because, she said, she did not want to die without anyone knowing about her experiences and attainment. Another one wrote me a note that simply said: ‘I am the Goddess!’”
“I have known more than one person who believed all their dreams were revelations of truth. And I have known some that continually predicted their imminent death for decades. Others told me how enlightened they were, including the one that had whiplash from ‘crashing into the divine light.’ What did they all have in common? They had an experience! Not of one of them was an intentional fraud. They believed their delusions based on their experience.”
“Most of these unfortunate people were completely unreachable with reason. Yet there are those who can have an experience and realize that it really cannot be real, but a vagary of their mind. Some may not understand that on their own, but can be shown by others the truth about it. For them and those that may one day be in danger of meditation-produced delusions I have written this brief study.”
“Right from the start, this little book gets right in your yogi face. The author details a “difficult and ugly exposition” of the dangers of misguided forms of meditation and their various temptations and distractions. …Any well-intentioned yogi might be surprised to glimpse his reflection in this spiritual funhouse mirror.
Take heart, because Abbot George also explains in detail how to disengage from negative influences, reverse the effects of improper training and break free from negative mantras…Simply and directly, he outlines the steps of Soham Yoga Meditation, ‘the most ancient and universal method of meditation.’ Your money stays in your pocket, you answer to no guru, and you just may see your God-self in the mirror instead of your ego-self. ”
– Rev. Gerry Nangle
Excerpts from Dwelling in the Mirror: A Study of Illusions Produced by Delusive Meditation and How to Be Free from Them
Satirical as the title of this section may sound, it is absolutely true that there are systems of meditation whose sole appeal rests in the experiencing of buzzes and zaps–not resulting from their “power” as their practicers assume, but from the fact that they produce conflict and confusion in their neurological and psychic systems.
When a person applies such practices he becomes “zonked” and disoriented, much like a drug high. Such practices are literally like slapping oneself in the face or beating oneself over the head with a hammer. “Wow! this stuff really packs a punch,” exults the innocent victim. After a while the detrimental effects of such practices can no longer be ignored.
But when the practicer consults with his instructors he is told that he is simply “going through a cleansing process” or “burning up karma.” If he continues, the reward of his good faith is a definite breakdown mentally and physically–an expensive price to pay to eventually discover the facts.
After a good deal of observance of those in the grip of thrills and chills and buzz bombing meditation, I realized that there was a very simple explanation of their wowie zowie cataclysmic experiences.
If I have a water hose turned on full force and I direct it through an open window there will be no disturbance or splashback. But if I it direct it onto the wall then there will be noise and a tremendous lot of water flying back all around and soaking me. In the same way, when a practice is correct, the higher energies move through the proper channels without inhibition.
The energies of mistaken practices, on the other hand, produce conflict in the subtle bodies–especially in the astral “nerves” (nadis)–and splay out in all directions, causing disruption and disturbance of the nervous system very like the effects of taking drugs. The experience may be quite dramatic–but so is the ultimate negative result.
One indication that a method of meditation is producing a pathological state in the mind is the experiencing of a high degree of sensitivity without a corresponding degree of psychological stability.
Those suffering from this pathology boastfully say things like: “The experiences and insights I’m receiving in my meditations lately are so profound they are hard to bear–it’s almost painful.” Such persons are usually prone to violent and mercurial extremes of emotion, as well, usually without any cognizable cause or basis.
Another common form is: “I just can’t bear being around Charles because I pick up so strongly on his suppressed hostility about Helen leaving him.” “I can’t stand going into the bank anymore–the materialistic vibrations are so intense.” Sometimes noise or crowds or heavy traffic will be cited as what “nearly blows me away.”
And the sad part is the self-congratulatory contentment that accompanies these assertions which are really confessions of instability. This problem is usually produced by both the euphoric and the up-and-out types of meditation.
Symptoms of Being Out of the Mirror
We have already said that sobriety produces a balanced perspective regarding our present spiritual state. It also does the same in relation to spiritual progress.
Healthy physical growth is a steady though oftentimes imperceptible process. Evolution of consciousness is even subtler and longer in its duration. Any physician can bear witness to the fact that rapid growth or development in any part of the body is pathological. So, too, with meditation and spiritual advancement. Also, growth is often not perceived simply because it is natural and “makes no waves.”
So what will the correct meditator experience as far as spiritual growth is concerned? It is true that he will not likely be astounded by great and rapid growth. Rather he will perceive much of his development through retrospect. That is, he may not feel the change, but when he looks back and remembers his former condition he will see a very real difference.
Read the first article in Dwelling in the Mirror: Preface
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