Meditation and dissociation… A couple of years ago I attended a sonic meditation exercise.
In a partially darkened room, we were invited to find a comfortable position on the floor, while sounds–bells, soft cymbals, tapping on wooden blocks, were alternated, as the guides circulated around the room. At the time, I choose to sit, rather than lie on the floor, because it was easier to breath (allergies), but now I believe there was more to this.
I first practiced meditation when I was 18–motivated by reading about Zen, and have, off and on over the years– since… but never sustained it for long. I was thinking about this at the end of the sonic meditation exercise. I had found it, unsatisfying… more than that. Disturbing. What was it that I was feeling?
In looking back at times when I meditated in the past, I recalled, that when I had finished…( I started to write, ‘recovered’) — I would at first feel transported, removed, elevated–but should I be disturbed in that state, interrupted–I would often explode in anger. The meditation, which at first made me feel at peace, left me more vulnerable, less able to deal with normal irritations. Something connected in this sonic exercise. I even wrote about it to the leaders of that evening, and not long after, to Timmy Dunn, on why I didn’t think I could join in the meditations he was hosting at the time at A-Space… that it felt — or seemed as though — meditation, rather than integrating my mind-body in the present, was wakening latent trauma–and the feeling I’d come to identify with mediation, was more like… no–was, in fact, a state of dissociation–very like what happens in situations of crisis, where one’s full attention is demanded. Emotional response will be, for the time, repressed. Then, when the crisis is over, and it’s safe to let out feelings that had to be withheld while dealing with it.
What then, was the connection, between meditation–the emotional reactions that would often follow–reactions all out of proportion to their provocation, and the healthy flight-fight suspension of emotions in a crisis… followed, by normal, healthy release? Could it be, that the mental state that had become familiar to me in meditation–was dissociation from trauma or crisis, remembered, and unresolved, and the post-meditation vulnerability, was emotional release–misdirected? I’ve wondered since if this is something that’s been studied?
Today, I found the article in this link.