By George A. Boyd ©2018
I have taught Integral meditation since 1983, and have published 16 books on this topic. I have observed the following mistakes meditators make:
- Meditating without a clear objective – if you meditate in this fashion, you will simply slip into a state of reverie. While this is relaxing, it effectively wastes your time. Every meditation needs to be done with a purpose.
- Not going beyond preliminary stages of meditation – while many people can reach the stage of mindfulness and begin to become aware of what they are experiencing in the present moment, this is only the first layer of meditation—the Conscious mind. Meditators need to reach the Superconscious mind to do the deepest work of meditation.
- Jumping ahead to practices that are not keyed to your current stage of spiritual development – This all too common blunder has people meditate on a spiritual essence other that your own Soul. If meditators practice powerful transformation techniques along with contemplating this higher essence, it can liberate powerful energies in the mind, and create dangerous splits in identity and perception. You can lose your motivation to pursue your personal goals; you can begin to sense that the world and your life are unreal; you can begin to hear visions and voices that tell you to do odd things.
- Get involved in a spiritual cult – While there are many reputable schools of meditation, there are a number of groups that, in exchange for teaching your meditation, expect you to let the leader of this group completely reprogram and control your mind and your life, and have you dedicate all of your labor and money to him or her. I would strongly advise that those seeking meditation instruction have some knowledge of the dynamics of cults and if you start getting warning signs, get the heck out of there![We have articles about cults in our Library, and those of you who may like to understand this subject more deeply may benefit from reading our book, Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing?.]
- Having only one technique – If you call a handyman to your house, he won’t show up without a whole toolbox. Many schools of meditation teach just one technique. It’s important that you have a whole tool box of methods to use to work on the issues of your personality, to lift your awareness into your Soul, to transform your Soul, to get guidance from your Soul’s intuition.
- Remaining in an altered state of consciousness – Some schools of meditation that cultivate the experience of enlightenment encourage their students to remain fixed in this altered state of consciousness 24/7. This is not a good idea. You can become narcissistic, believing that the whole Creation revolves around your needs. You can become arrogant and grandiose, believing you are a superior all-knowing god-like being. You can become delusional, believing you are a Christ-like being, and expecting everyone to recognize how enlightened you are.
- Not understanding the context or big picture of why you are meditating – It is important to have a long term goal of what you are seeking to achieve in meditation and have the appropriate techniques to help you achieve this. Many meditators get excited when someone does a “guided meditation” and takes them somewhere, but they no clarity about what is the purpose of meditation and how they truly actualize their spiritual potentials. The objective is not to take visionary journeys into the higher mind; the objective is that your Soul will accomplish the Great Work that it was destined to do.
We have developed our Integral meditation system to help you avoid these common meditation mistakes. Those of you who wish to learn a complete system of spiritual development that steers you away from these spiritual detours, you may wish to investigate our intermediate meditation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and they by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.