By now, most of us are familiar with mindfulness.

Along with those lauding the benefits of mindfulness come those who give accounts of negative experiences. So, what’s the truth, can mindfulness hurt us?

People do sometimes have negative experiences

For many, sitting still can be uncomfortable. People who rush around, filling each moment of their day with some activity, will have the most difficulty adjusting to mindfulness. But even these folks rarely report a serious negative impact.

Meditative awareness is a mind state

Think of meditative awareness as a state of mind rather than some magical mental phenomenon. This illuminates where the cause of negative mindfulness experience truly lies. Doing meditation hasn’t created some monster that will hurt our psyche. Meditation has uncovered our denial and now we see our ghosts. Ghosts of trauma, guilt, repressed emotions, shame, etc.

Through meditation, we’ve given ourselves an opportunity to work with these issues, because we see them.

We can always put the genie back in the bottle, so to speak, if we refuse to address our issues. But we really can’t place the blame on mindfulness. The blame lies with our denial. When we deny our emotions we create future pain.

Mindfulness meditation isn’t the culprit here, it’s our friend, even if we’ve had a negative experience. With a little courage and help with our latent issues, we can make progress on our path to healing.