Meditation Causes AND Cures Dissociation / Depersonalisation Disorder

  • Meditation can cause dissociation and could potentially contribute to depersonalisation disorder.
  • Meditation can help with dissociation
  • Meditation could help with depersonalization disorder
  • Sounds confusing, right? Don’t worry. You will understand everything by the end of this article.

(Watch the video or read the article below)

Meditation Is Causing You Disociation & Depersonalisation

There is a weird link between meditation, dissociation, and depersonalization. And it could be affecting you and your mental health.

Dissociation is a condition in which you feel disconnecting from your thoughts, feelings, surroundings , and sense of time, according to Jennifer Casarella MD from WebMD. And it can also affect your sense of self identity.

Closely related to this is depersonalisation disorder or derealisation disorder. This is the feeling of being disconnected from your body and mind.

If you suffer from dissociation or depersonalisation disorder, you might feel as though you are not connected to your mind, body, thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.

Many people today suffer from these two conditions, which are compounded by the isolation we have all be subjected to recently.

But there are solutions.

According to the Mayo Clinic, both dissociation and depersonalisation are typically treated through psychotherapy (talk therapy).

However, there is a fascinating link between meditation, dissociation, and depersonalisation disorder.

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Link between Meditation, Dissociation, and Depersonalisation Disorder (And What To Do )

If you look back at our definition of dissociation and depersonalisation disorder, you will notice that they involve disconnecting from thoughts and feelings. And some meditation techniques directly involve disconnecting from thoughts and feelings. So no wonder that we find a link between meditation and dissociation.

Some meditation techniques, like Buddhist Vipassana, make us disconnect from our thoughts and feelings. So it is no wonder that meditation can cause dissociation.

Now here you might have two thoughts:

  • Isn’t it good to remove yourself from your thoughts?
  • And, if it isn’t good to do that, why do we do it when we meditate?

It is a good idea to distance yourself from your thoughts to a degree. For instance, if you are experiencing stressful thoughts, you will find it relaxing to dissociate from them. And indeed, this is one reason why Vipassana meditation helps with anxiety, according to research in the International Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences.

Problems can occur when we start to dissociate from all our thoughts.

As a meditator you might find that you’re always saying to yourself, “That’s just a thought.” And so you are continually training your mind to dissociate from thoughts, which is one of the symptoms of derealisation disorder, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

If you continually ignore your thoughts and tell yourself that they are not real (as many meditators do) then you will learn to dissociate. And this can cause problems.

Research published on the National Library of Medicine shows that meditation can cause dissociation, mostly because it involves training the mind to let go of thoughts. And in some instances, this could lead to anxiety.

You might feel tempted to stop meditating because it can cause dissociation. But there is a solution…

The truth is that meditation is not the problem. The problem is the way we meditate in the America (and in the West in general).

Now here is the truly important thing.

Some meditation techniques are dissociative. And indeed Anapanasati (mindfulness of breath) and Vipassana can be very dissociative. But these are only two meditation techniques. And they should be just two parts of your overall meditation practice.

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Because while some meditation techniques are dissociative, others help us connect to our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.

You need to practice a combination of different meditation techniques. And indeed this is how meditation was traditionally practised by Buddhist monks. They would practise some methods that disconnect us from thoughts and feelings (Anapanasati / Vipassana). But they would also practise techniques that connect us to thoughts and feelings, such as Loving Kindness (Metta), Compassion (Karuna), and ones that connect us to the body, like Kinhin (Zen Walking).

Monks (the masters of meditation) wouldn’t just create an empty mind. They would then fill that individuals with compassion and thoughts of the dharma (Buddha’s teachings). So while they began by dissociating from thoughts and feelings, they then associated with compassion and the dharma. So they’re minds detached from one thing and attached to something else.

If you only do dissociative meditation techniques then yes, you will train your mind into dissociation and depersonalisation disorder. That’s why you need to use a combination of different techniques.

We empty the mind of impurity in order to fill it with purity (compassion and the dharma or your own belief system).

Sadly, far too many people in the West only do one or two types of meditation. Indeed, as a meditation teacher, I have had conversations with people who think that mindful breathing is the only meditation there is.

I blame society, to be honest with you. Ever since meditation became a huge business with apps and videos, people have started treating meditation like candy. They just do whatever meditation they want when they want to do it. No wonder meditation can cause depersonalization disorder.

Sadly, THE DAILY MEDITATION is pretty much the only site in the world that yes, “Yes meditation is good, but you need to do it properly or you’ll have issues”.

So here is what to do.

You need to empty your mind first. And you do that with Anapanasati and Vipassana (and possibly Self Enquiry). But then you must fill your mind too. You fill it with compassion and pure thoughts by doing compassion meditation and other meditations that create healthy thoughts.

Long story short. If you only do meditations that cause dissociation, it could cause problems. So make sure you also include meditations that associate your mind with positive things like love and compassion. And also make sure you connect with your body (through either Zen Walking, yoga, Body Scan, or other Integrated Body Mind Training techniques).

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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