Today’s blog refers to Alice G. Walton’s article “7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change the Brain“. Be sure to read the article before or after reading Dr. DeHaan’s comments.
When people talk about meditation and the ‘dark night’, it is sometimes referred to as one of the ‘dangers’ of meditation. One of the main purposes for meditation is to go within and truly know yourself. To know yourself means to find any negative aspects about self that may need healing. As you might imagine, when you get to the depths of all the things that are in our hearts or souls, it isn’t always that pretty. In our modern society, it is polite to ask people how they are. What is the standard response? Well, politely you say, fine. Even if that is not honest or truthful, it is polite protocol. But our insides don’t generally match that answer. Has everything in your life always been peace and love? Unlikely. And how likely is it that you have truly faced all of the negative things that have ever happened to you? If you have never faced them, felt them, and allowed them to process through, they are still somewhere in there festering … and guess what, THAT is almost always the true depth, the true cause of physical disease.
The thing is, we view ourselves, humans, as very strong. As small children we must endure things that the parents think ‘will make is strong’. But we are all born fragile and gentle and every aspect that toughens us up, is creating pain. It might leave traces of fear, resentment, abandonment, etc. Our entire psychological profile is set by the time we are 7 years old, which means that everything that happens to us before the age of 7 IS what molds us into the mental-emotional creatures we become later in life. This means that all the decisions we make may actually be somewhat faulty because the proper emotional ground work was never set. If this is correct, we are compounding the pain and hurt and it continues to form until it takes its toll on some level, either emotionally, psychologically or physically.
In my opinion, one of the only ways to find and heal some of the things that have our foundation set up incorrectly, is to meditate. Not all forms of meditation are the same, but that is the topic of another day. For now, you decide if the ‘dark night’ is dangerous, or actually eye opening and relieving to our soul, and weight off, a deep sigh of relief (once you face it and get through it, that is.)
picture by Moyan Brenn on Flickr