Practices like pranayama, prayer, mantras, concentration meditation can be addictive because it focuses on something outside of you. If pleasant and illuminating feelings end when you finish your meditation it may be a sign of addiction. A remedy for this is to be grounded in the present moment and bring a mindful quality to your meditation practice.
Can You Really Get Addicted To Meditation?
I know this may sound a bit incongruous in light of me touting the benefits of mindfulness meditation for so many years. There are many kinds of meditation and mindfulness meditation is less prone to addiction than other forms of meditation.
Although I have seen mindfulness meditation addiction in rare cases (usually caused by a misunderstanding of approach) I have seen meditation addiction in many other cases. Some of the meditation approaches, I am speaking of are the mantra, visualization, breathing meditation or exercises like pranayama, prayer, progressive relaxation, and concentration meditation that puts focused attention on something outside of you.
The reason these types of meditation can be addictive (but not necessarily) is because they can be very pleasant and can facilitate “escaping from situations that are unpleasant.
This is really the way all addictions start. We find ourselves in a situation that we don’t like and we look for ways to disconnect from the unpleasantness. Granted, there are much worse things to get addicted to, but ultimately we want to rid ourselves from these ways of disconnecting, come into the present moment and fully experience what life has to offer….pleasant and unpleasant.
Ways To Identify Addiction To Meditation:
When we are having great, pleasant, illuminating meditations that end when the meditation ends we can suspect that there may be an addiction or attachment to it. There is also a tendency to spend more time than necessary in meditation. I’ve seen many people over the years who have great meditations but when they return to daily life there is no spillover of the experience.
But for others who may be addicted to meditation, there is a return to the unpleasant situation that they left prior to meditation. In fact, they are using the meditation as an escape from their everyday life.
Can You Consciously Move Away From This addiction?
As I mentioned before, all these different types of meditation don’t have to be addictive. The remedy to this situation is to be anchored in the present moment while exploring “other” experiences through the various types of meditation. As long as we bring this mindful quality to our explorations we avoid falling into the addiction/attachment/escape of our meditation adventures.
Mindfulness is really too broad to be considered a meditation approach but in the kind of world that we live in it is so different than the norm that for now we can call it mindfulness meditation leading to mindfulness in daily life…the successful spillover of the meditation into every aspect of living.
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