Meditation and Mental Illness

CK has often had the privilege of working with young spiritually inclined individuals – many high school and college aged.  These amazing people are students of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, Shamanism, Spiritualism and many other isms, including hallucinogenisms (yeah, a CK-ism).

Through meditation, ceremony, ritual these people have experienced life-changing and mind-blowing awakenings.  To divinity, consciousness, transcendence of time, space and other 3-D normalities.  Their consciousness illuminated, hearts open, their young, impressionable minds light up and scintillate with the expansiveness of the experience, and the euphoria and stimulation overflows.

And because the individual’s behavior, temperament and disposition are often significantly altered, hospitalization and psychiatric evaluation sometimes results.

Please know that meditation is not inherently dangerous.  It takes concentrated effort for most to achieve the transcendent states that some of these young people are experiencing.  It is in part their innocence that creates the potentiality for the awakening that is occurring in their lives.


Please understand.  CK advocates taking appropriate steps to anchor and stabilize an individual who demonstrates extreme and uncharacteristic behavior and disposition changes.  And CK is not a judge, so she can’t determine right or wrong choices.

What is vitally important is that these precious young people receive support, training and reassurance that meditation does not generate mental illness.  Often the questions and dialogue that ensues goes along these lines:

What happened to me?  I was meditating 2-3 times/day and having some incredible experiences, and then everything tilted and I found myself in the psych ward.  Am I really bipolar?

I’ve been seeing spirits since I was little.  Sometimes it frightened me to see them, and yet, I wouldn’t want the ability to disappear.  Am I really unbalanced and in need of these medications?

The plea that I am making is that parents and clinical practitioners do what’s necessary (without judgment, shame or making wrong) to stabilize their children, patients.  And then – get these kids in to see a qualified energy practitioner who can teach them energy hygiene and self-care skills.

Last year a lovely young man contacted CK after a series of episodes that were diagnosed as ‘manic”.  The episodes followed his ongoing intense meditation practice. A beautiful young being, he had deeply accessed the Cosmos, his spirit and his connection to all mankind.  He also knew that he had crossed some sort of line and was unable to find his way back on his own.  (Like most, embodiment and energetic boundaries were important pieces for him to learn.)

He was abundantly clear that his diagnosis (bipolar) was the best that the therapeutic model could offer, and he’s grateful for the intervention that took place to stabilize him.  Yet he knew that his experience was not about mental illness.

With his psychiatrist’s help, he weaned off of the medications and attended training at EHI. He received practical tools for self-care and hygiene, is now anchored deeply in his body, and has a more refined spiritual practice.   He is NOT bipolar.  He is completing his college education, and is once again in his life in profound and beautiful ways.

These young people are our future.  They deserve to be honored for their commitment to themselves and to conscious awareness.  And they need to be supported in their practice with clear, coherent tools and resources to handle their energy bodies effectively.

This is a call to clinical professionals and parents to look beyond the therapeutic model and the diagnosis of mental illness.  We can help young people get the training and information they need to heal, grow and work with meditation and spiritual practice through embodied awareness.

Imagine having adjunct staff skilled in chakra-based energy therapies in psychiatric settings to support people who have these intense spiritual awakenings!  What a gift to the mental health community and their patients.

Do you have a story about how energetic self-care helped you or someone you know find their way into deep, embodied spiritual practice?  Please share it with us.

And keep your vital energy flowing!

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4 thoughts on “Meditation and Mental Illness”

  1. This is such an important and (characteristically) well written piece. I wish it could be broadcast somehow to parents everywhere. It clarifies. It reduces fear. It offers an alternative perspective and hope around the stigma of mental illness. Will keep it on hand as a future resource.

    • Thanks, Blair. I agree. Parents often feel helpless and uninformed when their children, teens, young adults have these transcendent experiences. Yet healers well versed with energy hygiene protocols and practices can make an enormous difference in the healing process – the whole family, in fact. Please feel free to forward this on to anyone who would benefit. I’ll look into publication in therapeutic and parenting journals.

  2. I had a spontaneous Kundalini rise in a Pranayama class in my 20’s. It opened all my circuits and I was seeing/hearing things I had no idea what to do with. I thought I was going crazy, so I went to a therapist. Luckily she recognized what had happened and suggested I see a colleague of hers who did energy work and taught energy healing.

    It made all the difference. I needed to learn how to shut the circuits back down, to selectively open them. I wasn’t crazy, I just had a very intense spiritual opening before I had the skills to manage it.

    Such important work you are being called to here.

    • Hi Christine,
      Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It’s clear you are well-versed in what I described in my post. How wonderful that your therapist was so well attuned to what you had experienced, and that the energy body needed support and management while you soothed your psyche through the realization that you weren’t mentally ill or unbalanced. Shutting the circuits down, opening selectively is energy hygiene of the highest order. People have no idea how differently they could experience themselves and their lives through the simple process of selectively opening and closing the circuitry of the chakras.


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