Main Points of This Article:
The following is taken from the Whole Life Times article intitled, "The Perils of Spiritual Excess."
"In 1986, Frances Scarpoli was so obsessed with becoming God-Realized [ another word for the Eastern form of medaition called TM] that she spent nearly every waking hour in mediation. Scarpoli had no idea that her imbalanced lifestyle was edging her dangerously close to psychosis." She tells her story.
Frances would like candles and chant the different names of God over and over again. Afterwards she would feel a since of thrill and bliss. Everyday her ritual would last two hours, followed by yoga. She was inchanted with both Christian and Eastern saints, to whom she often prayed to. When she would go into her trace-like deep mediational state and then if the phone were to ring she would be suddenly awoken from her state, dazzed for a moment that she had rudely been yanked from her spiritual world and thrown back for the moment, in the real world, which disturbed her. After talking on the phone,ending the conversation and hangingu up the phone, she would feel glad to get who-ever had disturbed her mediational state out of her hair.
One time her perents came to visit her and they took her out to dinner. They had a very enjoyable time, but later after dinner her father approuched her in private and told her that her over-the-top devotion to her religious way of life was weird and made him feel uncomfortable to be around her even though she was a kind person. Frances became mifted at this, thinking, "Who the hell is my father to tell me that to be interested in God so much was weird? This coming from a man who worships money and material things as his religion?" Frances realized that he only meant well and that he truely loved her and was concerned. But she figured this was all becuase he lacked appreciation for spiritual matters. Life went on for some time very blissfully and peacefully for Frances...untill one day...
Frances was reading the life of a saint when she drifted off into one of her trance-like mediational states. But his time...it was different. She felt a compelling and overwelming feeling of merging with the Divine. When she opened her eyes everything looked weird and unreal. When she looked at the crowds of people they all looked like they were made of plastic like dolls or made of stone or wood with painted on faces like religious images had come to life!
This experienced completely freaked her out. She ran to her mother crying and telling her experience but her mother thought she was merely letting her imagination run wild. "I think you are just overly tired..but if this really bothers you, here is the name and number of a thearapist I know, why don't you give her a call."
Frances feared she might have turned schizoid so when she met the thearapist she asked her of this. The thearapist replied, "No, you are not schiizophrenic, but you are very close to a psychotic break." The thearapist explained this happened because of her mediation practice and that she had worked on this problem with a number of individuals and that Frances' mind had this experince because her mind began to block out reality. The thearapists told her that she was lucky that her form was temporary but warned her that it would take 6 months to a whole year to cure. Frances was told to cease all these mediations.
When Frances arrived back at her apartment to pack up her things and move back with her family while in recovery, she feared that the whole neighborhood would be asking her questions. But instead she was relieved that hardly anyone questioned her. One of her neighbors, a pastor came out to say goodbye to her, when he noticed a mediational card. "So, you are into TM?", he asked.
"Ahhh..yeah, she replied with uncertainity, you know of it?"..."Yeah, my brother was all into..untill he had a psychotic breakdown. It put him out of it for nearly a year. But he's recovered now." Frances heart leaped and she broke down to confied in him. She told him that was precisely the reason why she was going away, to recover from her psychotic break. so the pastor then invited to join his family out to dinner to which she accepted and greatly appreciated. Later the pastor told her he would pray for her, of which she was greatful. Frances also asked her friends to pray for her."
Then finally the day came when Frances thearapist told her the words she wanted to hear. "Frances, she said, you have now passed the danger." Frances began eating three regular size meals a day and going on 3 mile walks everyday. This helped focus her mind instead of trying to altered her consciousness. Frances did recall hearing of a women a log time ago who suffered a experience much like her own.
But she remebers that in the other women's story, she did not end up so well. She followed some bad advice from a guru, who when she told him of her weird experiences while mediating told her to agnore the feelings and continue mediating more and they would pass. this women ended up in a mental hospital. Eventurally frances recovered fully from her experience and she said: Higher states of consciousness had seemed so beautiful that I never thought any harm could come from pursuing them." ....