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Hi there

I am very new to this so please if you can forgive me if I come across ignorant to many points etc.

I am very slowly starting to take up meditation. The motivation is the common one, to find more inner peace, look at things with a wider perspective, and to calm the crazy roller coaster of emotions inside of me which I am completely at its beck and call. I want to be a better person.

As I said I am a new starter to this but I have come across people and info advising that there could be a period of painful growth, were I could be more emotional, erratic and lost. People have said its a sort of purging process.

My question is, can this be avoided? Do I have to go through this? And if the answer is yes, how would I deal with this in the most constructive manner? How long would I be in that state? I very much appreciate your time in answering my question! Have a great day.

Hey Sheridan, everyone is different so there are no absolute rules. FYI, some people don't sit down and meditate but rather, live in a sort of moving meditation. That means staying aware, even while active. This has been called the "double aperture" approach. Possibly that might be better for you.

It's commonly said that deeper meditation can stir up the unconscious. If it becomes uncomfortable, stop. And maybe find a guide, a yoga class, or something of that nature.

I hope this helps.  


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Michael Clark, Ph.D.


I'd prefer to answer questions from seekers rather than those wishing to get into in an academic debate. I do, however, have a considerable degree of scholarly knowledge that may be applied to the inherent complexities - or simplicities - of the contemplative life. But the key word here is "applied."

I tend to agree with these sentiments as expressed by the woman writer on mysticism, Evelyn Underhill:

"Now meditation is a half-way house between thinking and contemplating: and as a discipline, it derives its chief value from this transitional character."

Source: Practical Mysticism: A little book for normal people (1914), p. 46.

Moreover, I strongly believe that all persons possess an essential individuality--not just a superficial, conceptual or constructed sense of individuality. So if you're looking to lose your essential self in 'nothingness,' please ask another expert. I don't believe in that idea.


I began to meditate in the 1980s. I did hatha yoga and studied and taught Tai Chi. I then lived in India for two years where meditation was a way of life. Although my methods have changed over the years in keeping with my personal development, I still consider myself a contemplative person.

Print Media:
My table from "Religions and Cults" at is reproduced with permission in L. Lindsey, S. Beach and B. Ravelli, Core Concepts in Sociology, 2nd ed., p. 157

World Wide Web:
My online article "Letter to God" coauthored with Buddhist monk, E. Raymond Rock, appears on several different spirituality-based websites, including

I've interviewed, as a Christian, a self-proclaimed mystic:

My articles appeared at the former New View magazine and are published at

Ph.D. in Religious Studies
M.A. in Comparative Religion
B.A. Hon. in Psychology/Sociology
For more info, please see my CV and letters of recommendation and my blog at

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