On Avoiding Imbalance from Spiritual Practice

By George A. Boyd ©2002

Imbalance in the inner vehicles of consciousness can arise from meditation practice and Light Immersion. This imbalance may appear in the following forms.

  1. Imbalance of a single vehicle of consciousness – This is typically the result of improperly using a mantra to open a chakra, or using what we call a vehicular bija mantra, a mantra that is designed to unfold the seed atom of a vehicle.
  2. Misalignment of a nucleus of identity – A nucleus of identity is an inner center that is often mistaken for the Soul, or ensouling entity. Through Light Immersion, using bija mantras that effect this nucleus of identity and its associated vehicles, or Kriya Yoga, a nucleus of identity can be misaligned with its overshadowing Soul.
  3. Development of an inappropriate octave of being – Each ensouling entity is attuned with a force that we call the Alaya, which animates it and gives it a purpose or calling. The Alaya, or Divine Will, selects the ensouling entity on the scale of being that is the cutting edge of spiritual growth. Using techniques that affect other octaves of being other than your appropriate spiritual cutting edge can produce profound imbalances.
  4. Neglecting development of one or more poles of being – The works of the four poles of being—development of the spiritual evolutionary potentials of the Soul, awakening the spiritual heart and opening its path, activating the faculties of the Superconscious mind, and empowering the visioning and intentional abilities of the attentional principle—are coordinated in an Integral meditation system. These neglected aspects of being clamor for expression, and often appear as an emergence from the unconscious mind—an intrapsychic cry for recognition and fulfillment of its unique needs.
    • Some systems of meditation only unfold the spirit (Nada Yoga or Surat Shabd Yoga).
    • Some only work on activating the wisdom aspect of the Superconscious mind (Jnana Yoga).
    • Others focus on releasing spiritual powers by awakening the kundalini shakti (Kundalini Yoga).
    • Others emphasize the mastery of focalizing the attentional principle (Raja Yoga).
    • Others emphasize serving and worshipping God (Bhakti Yoga).
  5. Excessive development of one or more poles of being – The complement of neglecting development of one of the poles of being is that certain poles become over-developed. For example:
    • Over-development of the Soul aspect can lead to great detachment from the personality and a reclusive retreat from interpersonal relationships. There is a trance-like absorption in the Soul’s consciousness, which can lead to grandiosity or extreme narcissism—believing that you are a god-like being.
    • Over-development of the discernment faculty (buddhi) of the Superconscious mind can lead to a preoccupation with discerning the meaning of scripture or arcane symbols. Interpretation of spiritual mysteries and deep philosophical inquiry occupies every waking moment, and it becomes very difficult to concentrate on mundane, practical matters.
    • Over-development of the higher octaves of will in the Superconscious mind, by practices used to activate inner powers or siddhis, can lead to loss of control of normal volitional controls of the personality. This can lead to dissociative “possession” states, where an aspect of the higher will begins inappropriately expressing through the personality. It can also lead to spontaneous catatonia, where the sudden activation of the kundalini shakti shuts down the functioning of the personality.
    • Over-development of the compassion or love aspect of the Superconscious mind can lead to over-absorption in the lives of other people, leading to loss of boundaries and neglect of personal needs. It may lead to co-dependency, where you become totally focused in another person or group of people, and forget to take care of your self. It can also produce a martyr complex or savior complex, where you selflessly sacrifice yourself for the good of others, and never consider your own welfare.
    • Over-development of the spirit can lead to spiritual fanaticism, great devotional fervor, and losing yourself in mystic communion with inner guides. You may develop delusional beliefs, and lose touch with your ability to test reality. You may also experience depersonalization (the sense that you are not in your body), derealization (the sense that the world or your personality is unreal), and profound dissociation (the inability to feel your feelings, to make choices, or to think logically).
    • Over-development of the attentional principle through constant practice of mindfulness or concentration exercises can lead to an inner detachment from the external world. This perpetual inner absorption can produce dissociation, a schizoid deadening of feeling and a tendency to remain in inner silence and not wish to communicate with others. An individual who spends a lot of time in inner absorption can seem like a zombie, someone walking around in a trance.
  6. Simultaneous development of more than one octave of being – Problems arise when the development of an octave of being that is not on your cutting edge moves beyond the corresponding state of your current spiritual development. This leads to a shifting of your energy to this other octave of being. One sign that this type of imbalance is taking place is marked by an inability to return to normal waking awareness (you remain in union with the higher octave of being). You may also experience spontaneous shutting down of personality functioning (samadhic trance), and moderate to severe difficulty in focusing and maintaining motivation for the tasks of daily life.

Imbalances in the vehicles of consciousness produce several untoward effects that may arise from misalignment of vehicles or nuclei of identity, and inappropriate spiritual development—either through neglect or over-development of one of the poles of being, or transformation at an inappropriate octave of being.

Warning Signs

Whatever type of meditation or reception of spiritual energies you are doing, if you are doing it inappropriately, it can lead to imbalance. Signs that imbalance may be occurring include:

  1. Loss of motivation for activities of daily life
  2. Excessive absorption in your inner life, spending too much time processing your issues and problems
  3. Difficulty in concentration and remaining focused on tasks at hand
  4. Difficulty in making choices
  5. Deadening of your feelings
  6. Obsession with your failures, shortcomings or sins
  7. A sense that you are out-of-your-body, that your personality is unreal
  8. An inability to return to grounded, waking awareness
  9. The fixation of your attention in an altered state of consciousness for most of your day
  10. Spontaneous shutting down of your personality functioning
  11. Unthinking adoption of beliefs that may be irrational or delusional
  12. Visual or auditory hallucinations
  13. Obsession with spiritual ideas or with reading and interpreting scriptures
  14. A sense that you have become a savior, or a god-like being
  15. Adoption of fanatical beliefs, e.g., a conviction that you must convert or evangelize every human being to your faith, or a conviction that only your path is true and others are deluded by the devil
  16. Paranoia, the sense that others are out to harm you

What You Can Do

First and foremost, stop whatever you are doing that is causing the imbalance.

  • If meditation is driving you nuts, stop doing whatever meditation is causing the problem. Take a break for awhile.
  • If you are spending too much time in prayer, cut back.
  • If you are obsessing about spirituality and spiritual ideas, take a change of pace—read a history or a science book, or a novel.
  • If light immersion or darshan with the guru is flipping you out, stop going to the sittings.
  • If listening to crazy ideas in sermons and satsang is making you wacko, excuse yourself from the lectures.
  • If you discover you are in a religious cult, leave.

Second, return to grounded awareness. Do physical activity, exercise, or dance to keep yourself grounded.

Third, re-own your faculties. Focus on your feelings and reactions. Think and analyze for yourself. Listen to your intuition. Practice setting goals and carrying them out. Decide upon what rules and values make sense to you and which you can live by. [A meditation consultation can help you rehabilitate your neglected faculties.]

Fourth, see the coach if necessary. You may need exit counseling if you have been in a cult or psychotherapy if you are starting to get strange ideas and beliefs. If you are starting to really go off the deep end, you may even need to temporarily take medication.

Fifth, try to determine from where your imbalance arises. You may need to modify your practice to address neglected aspects. You may need to add practices to balance the four poles of your nature. You may need to abandon practices that are not on your cutting edge of spiritual development. You may need to do transformative inner work to rebalance vehicles or nuclei of identity that are misaligned with your axis of being. [A meditation consultation can help you identify and work with these issues.]

Sixth, ask God to put you back on the right path and to help you correct the imbalances that you have inadvertently created by your over-zealousness. [A soul attunement guidance channeling can sometimes dynamically rebalance you if the misalignment is not too severe.]

Seventh, change your lifestyle so that you can keep your spirituality in perspective. If you are becoming fanatical, schedule other activities that keep you grounded, connected and in touch—and that take up enough of your time so you don’t get lost in the cult or go gaga with the guru.

Given the plethora of available spiritual beliefs and practices, it is understandable why an aspirant may sometimes unintentionally produce imbalances. If this has occurred to you, you may be able to correct the imbalance and avoid further imbalances by following integral meditation principles in your future spiritual work.