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July 9, 2013 at 11:03 am #1548
I have read that it can be harmful to meditate when the body is ill. This needs further clarification – an opinion is here given.
If we divide methods of meditation into Active and Passive, then certainly passive meditation should be avoided when ill. Passive meditation involves guided meditation, or journeying into astral landscapes and seeing what happens. Typically these form part of the Magical traditions, working by invoking spiritual forces and being open to absorbing their spiritual energies. Where one is physically unfit there is a danger of sinking into mediumistic states, and of allowing unhelpful forces to influence the psyche (see http://theawakeningself.com/parasitic-entities/ ). Although passive meditation can therefore be dangerous when ill, prayer or mantra directed at positive forces can be recommended in its place, or one might substitute an active meditation.
Active meditation involves the use of active, willed awareness, and these include mindfulness techniques, such as those employed in the Beginner’s Guide to Enlightenment. As long as one has the energy to proceed with the meditation as instructed it will be helpful to meditate when ill. The observable results may not be encouraging, but that is not a useful measure of benefit.
Those who have psychotic conditions (such as schizophrenia) should only meditate under the supervision of a properly qualified meditation teacher, and I doubt if passive meditation would be recommended for obvious reasons. Mindfulness meditation is being tried in such people.
The Path to the Enlightenment involves a progressive de-conditioning of the aspirant, and this results in stress. This is unavoidable, and the reasons for this – and their treatment -are discussed at length in the Beginner’s Guide. Periods of acute stress can feel like illness, and a variety of physical symptoms can certainly manifest. The way of dealing with this stress will include holistic therapies AND meditation. Meditation on the breath, and on the emotions, will become a central part of your life on this Path. Indeed, in times of acute stress, it will be useful to increase the frequency of meditation, and experiment with walking meditations in nature, amongst other options.
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