Can Meditation Pose a Threat?


I meditate for last 8 years and I have encountered several benefits. These days I have reached a point where I see meditation as dangerous and intolerable. When I meditate long enough a few hours actually I feel a v.v.very strong feeling intolerable. I feel I am going to die I am going to enter another world. I feel v.very fearful and shocking experience? I have stopped meditation to avoid this experience again. Can you help me to understand what is this?

—Inam, Pakistan


Dear Inam,

Taking into account your situation, why not meditate for shorter periods of time? At the same time, however, I can assure you that you are not going to die. What you are on the brink of is actually a great step forward; a great gift. However, the autonomic nervous system and the ego-mind balk, fear, and reject any state or step that would seem to threaten its existence — truly an existential experience but not a true threat to your existence. I say this partly because you don’t mention any biological symptoms that suggest actual death but more of a mental and/or nervous system response.

It’s like climbing K-2! Most need oxygen to reach the top but some can climb without oxygen. One has to be practical in such potentially life-threatening matters. The life that is threatened in meditation is the life of the ego. It is essentially devotion and grace powered by a deep faith that allows us to enter what seems like total annihilation.

But for now, so long as it seems a threat, then back off. It is not a sign to discontinue meditation but that you are probably pushing too hard with willpower alone, and perhaps without the devotion and self-offering necessary to deepen your faith and bestow divine grace to ascend the next step.

Whatever you do: be practical. Use common sense. If it seems threatening, then for you it IS threatening. Sometimes we get a glimpse of the “beyond” and find it terribly frightening. No problem. Take your time. If you truly feel the need to discontinue meditation, then by all means do so. You must take responsibility for your actions. But my thoughts are based on my experience and how I’ve been taught. Okay?

Smile: for what seems dark may actually be light!
Nayaswami Hriman