I must confess. I am one of those wannabe meditators. I know I should. I understand the physical, psychological, spiritual benefits it can provide. I will return to it. But wait. Is there a downside to meditation?
In his NYTimes magazine piece of 1/14/14 Dan Hurley discusses the risks and benefits of focussed mental attention (meditation) versus the usual mindless daydreaming that seems all to natural to us. He offers clear examples of the benefits of meditation. Even the military has exploited its benefits for achieving concentration and resilience during war. He refers to Jon Kabat-Zinn’s pioneering work in the West on stress reduction and physical healing from mindfulness meditation. Even improved test-taking can seemingly benefit from it. So where’s the problem? Ah, it seems as if the flip side of concentrated mindfulness, “spacing out” is actually good for the creative process. Also, something call “implicit” learning seems to be impaired by meditation. It is the type of activity that becomes routine and habitual, below our consciousn awareness. So what is the answer to life’s challenge to meditate or not? Ah, once again it seem as if the middle way, a balance between periods of meditation and times to let the mind roam free is the answer. But it is clearly the meditation part of the equation which needs our mindful attention, being mindless comes naturally to us all.