No question re: the value of “mindfulness” (aka, meditative practice). But aren’t there also indications that this otherwise powerful ‘tool’ may actually be “counter-productive” for certain folks, especially those with mental and behavioral issues, and a ‘disordered’ ’ sense of Self and Ego to begin with? And even the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist luminaries have warned of the the dangers of Narcissism in spiritual practice.
In recent years, “mindfulness based psychotherapy” has emerged as a lucrative business with its own brand of tech-savvy, scientific gurus and a literature that relies heavily on psychotherapeutic language for the transformation of Theravāda Buddhist meditation into a secular, Western idiom.
In fact, meditation can actually be harmful; it can precipitate psychosis or release a debilitating flood of painful affect in some seriously disturbed individuals. In others, it can exacerbate obsessive and schizoid traits. Like a drug, meditation must be prescribed with careful attention to the psychological status of the patient.
As Engler summarizes, “you have to become somebody before you can become nobody,” meaning that one needs to have developed a coherent sense of oneself and relatively healthy object relations before one can attain a deeper understanding of reality or of one’s true nature through meditation.