What is Meditation?

Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state…. practices vary both between traditions and within them.

Meditation may significantly reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and enhance peace, perception,] self-concept, and well-being.

What is meditation exactly? Dictionaries reflect the original Latin meaning of “think[ing] deeply about (something)”;[6] as well as the popular usage of ” focusing one’s mind for a period of time”,[6] “the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed”,[24] and “to engage in mental exercise (such as concentrating on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.

Negative Effects of Meditation?

“Popular media and case studies have recently highlighted negative side effects from meditation—increases in depression, anxiety, and even psychosis or mania— but few studies have looked at the issue in depth across large numbers of people. Sep 25, 2020

“Willoughby Britton, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University agrees, noting that the potential negative effects of meditation— including fear, panic, hallucinations, mania, loss of motivation and memory, and depersonalization— can be distressing at best and debilitating at worst.

“Meditation has amazing benefits, but it’s also capable of unearthing painful memories and general unease, which can be frightening or unnerving.”
-JESSICA DOWNEY, Yoga Journal, April 16, 2018

Victims of Trauma

70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. That’s 223.4 million people. Of those, about 20% will have some amount of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at some time in their lives. Particularly for these people, meditation alone can be a negative experience.

Empatharian is actually a type of meditation, a movement meditation, but it also involves further processes and practices that actually take in 7 of the 10 coping strategies recommended for helping trauma victims to cope better:

– acknowledge that you’ve experienced trauma (in a private journal process)
– connect with others, especially others who’ve also experienced similar traumas. (talking circle, where sharing is always optional)
– exercise (movement meditation of Empatharian)
– relax with stretching, meditation, etc.
– music and the arts (included in the peace arts practices of Empatharian)
– commit to something personally meaningful and important every day
– write about your experience for yourself or to share with others.

The other 3 strategies involve balanced diet, good sleep habits, and avoiding sugar and caffeine. These topics are also part of the wellness curriculum in Empatharian.

It’s different from mindfulness meditation in that there is a trained facilitator involved in the processes, though the processes may be done completely privately. This ensures that when things come up that are difficult or frightening for someone, there’s someone there to reach out to who is aware of the triggering effects of deep work. The trained facilitator is not a therapist, but is aware of the signs of triggering experience. They can help reassure someone, and direct them to professional help, if needed.

We would never discourage a person from embarking on a mindfulness meditation practice- the benefits for people of all ages are huge. Actually, with an Empatharian practice, mindfulness meditation becomes more available and less prone to stressful interruption and negative effects.

Empatharian Peace Arts involve social-emotional learning as well as a meditation practice. Empatharian is delivering ways for emotional intelligence and empathy for self and others to impact your life and promote healing, happiness, and embodiment of your purpose and ideals. It’s a way to access your own core source energies safely and slowly, amplifying luminosity and presence over time.

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