**NEW – April 2020 ** Online Meditation Groups – Corona Virus Pandemic

Online Meditation Groups – Corona Virus Pandemic

Under the present situation several meditation/mindfulness organisations are generously offering free online courses to the general population.

I am sure they are well intentioned. However as this website shows although meditation and mindfulness practice can be very beneficial, for some people they can trigger severe mental health problems. As providers of such courses we have a responsibility to provide suitable support to any students should they develop severe problems. Under the present pandemic people are likely to be more stressed through isolation and  reduced medical support. This is likely to increase the chances of problems developing for them. I know such organisations often have safeguards in place but I just wonder how effective they would be in dealing with strangers under these extraordinary circumstances. I can’t envisage this being easy and possibly not effective.

In my view it is fine to organise meditation sessions at distance, either through the internet or just being co-ordinated by email/text etc for people already known to you. Having established relationships should be a good safeguard should problems arise for people. If organisations want to reach out to strangers I feel it would be better to have talking groups where you explore how people are structuring their time in these difficult circumstances and in particular supporting them to exercise daily. Some silent contemplation could be incorporated into these sessions to help with putting their intentions into action.

The Cognitive Behaviour Therapy organisation I am training with have produced some excellent guidelines for therapists on coping positively with the present situation. COVID-19 Self Care Guide April 2020.  These guidelines are aimed at therapists but could also be of value to others. The organisation SDS Seminars Ltd, www.skillsdevelopment.co.uk/cbt, provides excellent training and I can highly recommend them.  There is also most helpful information from Time to Change (https://bit.ly/2RxAcgr).

Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul

By Damcho Pamo

Dark night of the soul - meditation difficulties
St. John of the Cross

The concept of the Dark Night of the Soul, Noche Obscura del Alma, was first developed by St. John of the Cross. He was a Spanish Roman Catholic friar and priest of the Carmelite Order who lived from 1542-1591. His exposition of his poem, The Dark Night of the Soul, which he wrote while imprisoned, became available in 1619. His essential view was that our true nature is God and that through denial, attachment and clinging this truth is obscured (obscura) and we enter into the Dark Night of the Soul. Continue reading