Pitfalls of meditation

Veer Gill
5 min readDec 23, 2020


Okay, let’s get into this.

Meditation, these days, seems like the universal remedy for all your problems. Like jogging and weight lifting got their due in the 60s and 70s, people everywhere are starting to realize the health benefits of meditation; and these benefits are being touted to be much greater than those physical forms of exercise. But I want to talk about a side of meditation that’s, what I think, is not only interesting enough to share with people, but also important to me personally.

So… let me first clarify what I’m not talking about because terms like meditation and yoga have evolved to mean different things over time. I am not talking about the 5–10 minute meditation sessions popularized these days by influencers and corporate execs, in which you go try to calm your mind, maybe focus on your breath, and simply aim to stop the constant mental chatter to give you a sense of being present in the now. This leaves you mentally refreshed and helps you organize the clutter of information in your mind; essentially helping you become more efficient in your daily tasks, therefore bringing you closer to your overall goals. It’s also known to help with physical conditions like hypertension. This is a very beneficial exercise, that’s more important in today’s distraction and stimuli filled society than ever before, so I’m absolutely for it, but this is not what I’m talking about today.

I am talking about a dilemma that you will face if you take meditation seriously; if you take the next step beyond these 10-minute refreshment sessions and use meditation to its full potential. I wanna talk a little about the nonphysical benefits of meditation, but mainly, I wanna talk about the potential negative side of going down this path.

Meditation, no matter what a “guru” tells you, is not a physical venture. The multitude of physical benefits it has is just a side effect of it. In reality, it’s a path to reach an otherwise elusive state of being that’s immensely peaceful, which some people choose to call enlightenment. It’s such a cliché that I personally prefer to simply say awareness. If you are able to sustain yourself in this meditative state for longer and longer periods, a state where you just experience your immediate surroundings, you simply exist, in the now, and you stop hearing that inner voice, acting as a commentator, constantly catching whatever stimuli that’s floating around you and analyzing it to its death, and you’re not burdened by the things you have to get done that week or that month. Eventually, you’ll reach a place where you’re able to delve deep into your own mind or your consciousness; you lift all the veils, and break-up all the facades that you’d created over the years between your outer, materialistic self and your innate, true self. And when I say materialistic, I don’t mean it in the general sense of the word meaning someone who is simply motivated by material things, I mean someone who’s been shaped over the years by living in the physical, material world, both in the way we look, and more importantly, our character as a person. And by that definition, who amongst us, isn’t material?

When you start to meditate effectively & consistently, finally you start existing in the now, with no filters, no inner voice, even when you’re not meditating. Basically, the way to enlightenment is breaking yourself down completely and then rebuilding yourself based on what your inherent self deems important. And herein, lies the problem.

The reality of our world is that most of the interactions we have with each other, are on subjective topics, things that you might interpret differently than me. We learn about the objective truths of our world during our early life, about facts such as the earth revolves around the sun. But that’s not what we argue about with each other. Objective truths don’t factor into our social lives, and hence, don’t define us as a person. What defines us is our view on subjective issues, whether it's politics, religion, the meaning or purpose of life, how best to raise your children, or even mundane things like which coffee chain is the best. Your peers, and even your partner and your family, will identify you through these belief systems. These are what makes you, you; different from everybody else.

During the enlightenment process, you shed much of these beliefs, simply by realizing that they are purely subjective and your opinion would probably be different if your circumstances were different. You would probably feel differently about immigration, if you were born in south-east Asia, Africa, or Eastern Europe. The perspective with which you used to see the world, and your whole belief system, changes. You become much more understanding, and therefore accepting of other people’s beliefs. Essentially, you after getting “woke” is a much leaner version of yourself. You don’t even want to debate, let alone argue with others because you start to understand where they are coming from and appreciate their journey. There is no right or wrong for you anymore, just situations & reasons.

The problem is, that this leaner version of yourself is a loner in the world, because you have no interest in which team won the super bowl. Your net of what you consider small talk gets much wider. People you are surrounded by, people you love and who love you, don’t really understand your situation as this is something to be experienced, not explained, even though I’m attempting to do that. You feel less interested in the everyday struggles of life and feel disconnected from the people who are living that everyday reality. You go to work, you’ll probably still do a good job at it too because you understand that others don’t think like you and they have expectations from you, but you do struggle to be worried about the usual stuff, like deadlines.

As far as my understanding goes, people have two options at this point, both with risks to the normal life they always thought they would lead. Either you keep going on this path, and risk the relationships you value because they ARE going to get affected. Some will become stronger, but most will become weaker. Or, you scale it back and come back into the material world, at least to some extent. But this can possibly lead to resentment because you’ve seen the other side, you’ve touched the feeling of not being bound by the challenges of everyday life, and you miss it.

Which option would you choose, if you were in this situation? And, is there a third alternative, one that allows you to keep on this path but to also balance your relationships? I didn’t mean to end this on a rather gloomy note. But I felt this is a topic worth discussion because we generally don’t hear or talk about the flip side of meditation.