Over the weekend I have come across, and been shown a couple of articles about the dangers of mindfulness and meditation. I have tried to read the articles with an open mind, hoping to find out why the people involved had such a bad experience, and to see if I could make sense of what’s going wrong. Hallucinations, paranoia, hearing voices and sounds and general confusion seem to be the main side-effects – but why? Using mindfulness and meditation techniques without a true purpose or direction – in my opinion – is the reason people are suffering from these symptoms. Ok, let’s put it this way: we are happy, everything is rosy, until we start using mindfulness. Why? We all have hidden memories, we have all blocked out moments in our life, moments we’d rather forget than confront, and by using mindfulness we can sometimes bring these memories flooding back with unexpected consequences. It’s an opening of Pandora’s box scenario. For a strong individual who is always in control it can bring feelings of doubt and insecurity – this is natural. Our minds are in the process of changing our whole way of living and our body and mind will naturally want to fight against it. Even by confusing our own senses, it’s our subconscious fighting back. Or, looking at it with a more spiritual outlook; we are getting in touch with our surroundings, we are seeing, hearing and feeling things we couldn’t see or feel before. Maybe we have developed a lost sense of connection with others? Who knows? I have felt all the above symptoms, every one of them, and I understand how scary and overwhelming they can feel – but I interpreted them as a sign that change was happening in my life. I embraced them and welcomed my new sense of peace, connection and separations with open arms, and by doing so I changed my whole life in the process. When we don’t understand something we usually fight it and demonise it, and I think this is the issue that the people in the articles have had; they got scared and blamed mindfulness instead of taking responsibility. I’m not saying mindfulness hasn’t got any downsides – I can’t, I haven’t got the proof to make such a claim. What I can say, is everything has more than one possible outcome – be it good or bad – and all the evidence that I have read and examined about mindfulness makes it (in my eyes) a real and effective way of gaining self-improvement, enlightenment and understanding. I believe the practice of both mindfulness and meditation can have positive effects on our lives when used correctly, and when anything is done with little or no real meaning or care, then problems can occur. If any of the issues we have been covering in this blog have affected you in any way please feel free to contact Byw for more information or guidance.