An article I read describing the experiences that long-term practitioners of meditation achieved shocked me! I had to read it several times to be sure I read it correctly. The article reported the results of a study conducted by world-renowned authorities on meditation. I’m sure the results of this study will shock you as well, as they are the total opposite of what I expected and what I think should be expected from a long-term meditation practice. I have to ask, “What are these advanced meditators doing while they are sitting in meditation presumably for hours every day?” You won’t believe your eyes when you read the quote.
This is the quote from an article in Yoga Journal, May-June, 2001, page 174.
“Boston psychologists Dan Brown and Jack Engler, coauthors with Ken Wilber of Transformations of Consciousness, conducted a fascinating study of yogis at advanced stages of practice. It revealed that, contrary to our mistaken Western assumptions about enlightenment experiences, even very advanced practitioners continue to experience conflict, fear, anxiety, depression, addictive cravings, interpersonal dependency struggles, and so forth.” “What does change,” the report continues, “is not so much the amount or nature of conflict, but awareness of and reactivity to it…[with practice] there is greater awareness of and openness to conflict but paradoxically less reaction at the same time in an impulsive, identificatory, and therefore painful way…[the practitioner] may note the intense desire until it passes, like every other transient mental state; or he/she may act on it, but with full awareness.”