Silence meditation – watchouts

Meditation is now becoming a buzz word.  Everyone is expected to do meditation and there are lot of alternatives – in terms of techniques – available to us for meditation.  I personally believe, meditation is not easy and must not be taken as “passive, silence driven activity where one is forced to calm the mind !”.   The meditation is an outcome of several activities that you perform. In other words, the method is as important as the outcome.

What does the research say about “silence” based meditation? 

Of course, meditation provides huge benefits.  The research over the past several decades has demonstrated enough evidence on the improvement in mood, reduction in anxiety, and increase in focus and an overall improvement in heart rate variability/autonomic nervous system [1][2][3]. However, the studies have also indicated some negative implications of meditative practices

A recent research identified that out of >1100 respondents surveyed across several countries, 32% reported disturbing feelings of fear, dread, or terror during or as a result of their meditation practice [4][5].  Hence, the meditation may take you deeper into a “state” which could be negative and there are implications of that.  This is the reason behind not prescribing silent, seated meditation for individuals who are depressed !

What should I do? 

The research indicates a need that Active interventions such as slow and coherent breathing, hypnotic suggestions or guided imagery have demonstrated an improvement in HRV parameters indicative of relaxation and increased cognition [6][7].  For novices, we recommend specific activities which are likely to result in increased probability of achieving the meditative state.  More on that in some other article….

If you are interested in learning more about the science, you can refer to the list of references below.  We also conduct “Free Sound Bath Meditation” and also study how supine or seated meditation impacts our mind and the body as compared to the silence. We also teach a self-hypnosis based meditative protocol (SEE Protocol) during Module 1 of Regression Therapy & Life Coaching Certification.

For reading about our own research, you can click below links:

Publication: A Comparative Study of the Impact of Himalayan Singing Bowls and Supine Silence on Stress Index and Heart Rate Variability

Publication: Sound Bath Meditation with Singing Bowls: Mood and Heart Rate Variability

So just remember, meditation is not an activity alone, it is an outcome (a state of being) !

Best regards

Gunjan Y Trivedi [email protected]


References for further reading:

[1] Julia C. Basso, Alexandra McHale, Victoria Ende, Douglas J. Oberlin, Wendy A. Suzuki,

Brief, daily meditation enhances attention, memory, mood, and emotional regulation in non-experienced meditators, Behavioural Brain Research,Volume 356,2019,Pages 208-220, ISSN 0166-4328,

[2]Manocha, R et al. “A randomized, controlled trial of meditation for work stress, anxiety and depressed mood in full-time workers.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2011 (2011): 960583. doi:10.1155/2011/960583

[3]Shapiro, Jr. Meditation: Classic and contemporary perspectives. Routledge, 2017.

[4]Vieten, Cassandra et al. “Future directions in meditation research: Recommendations for expanding the field of contemplative science.” PloS one vol. 13,11 e0205740. 7 Nov. 2018, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205740

[5]Marco Schlosser, Terje Sparby, Sebastjan Vörös, Rebecca Jones, Natalie L. Marchant. Unpleasant meditation-related experiences in regular meditators: Prevalence, predictors, and conceptual considerations. PLOS ONE, 2019; 14 (5): e0216643 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216643

[6]Ramazan Yüksel, Osman Ozcan & Senol Dane (2013) The Effects of Hypnosis on Heart Rate Variability, International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 61:2, 162-171, DOI: 10.1080/00207144.2013.753826

[7]Boselli, E., Musellec, H., Martin, L. et al. Effects of hypnosis on the relative parasympathetic tone assessed by ANI (Analgesia/Nociception Index) in healthy volunteers: a prospective observational study. J Clin Monit Comput 32, 487–492 (2018).