When do meditation and mindfulness cross the line and become disassociation?  Recently I started to wonder this when faced with painful situations; I have become an expert at taking myself to a happier place.

During times when I am afraid, I can turn into myself, closing out the surrounding world and finding comfort in a fantasy world.  My favorite place is the beach; I can close my eyes, breathe slowly, and find myself there. I can sense the warmth of the sun on my skin, the softness of the sand beneath my body, the sound of the crashing waves, the seabirds, and the gentle rustle of the breeze in the leaves. I feel that breeze against my skin and can smell the salt in the air. It is beautiful.

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But then I’ll hear someone’s voice from far away, it sounds like they are calling me from another shore. It is then that I realize that they are talking to me, asking questions, needing answers. But I’m not there; I don’t want to come back.

Am I meditating, being mindful, focused on my breathing and relaxing my mind? Or have I disassociated? And if I have done the latter, why is that something bad?


  1. Simone says:

    Ahh… Beautiful girl. The difference is purpose. If the purpose of going to another place in your head is to avoid emotional pain, it is unproductive.

    Mindfulness is a skill we are encouraged to learn to inhabit the here and now. It is the art of being in the moment – sensing the air coming through your nostrils, hearing the hum of the refrigerator, seeing the pebbles on the ground. Right here right now.

    Meditation is to slow our minds down and focus on positives. It is something I know less about but seems to me more along the lines you describe. Although that also sounds a lot like daydreaming. So I guess we get back to purpose!

    Dissociation is something people learn when going through significant trauma. Any time we run away from emotional pain, we are running from something that will sit and simmer until we’re ready to acknowledge and deal with it. It will poison us from the inside out if left there too long

    Don’t mistake my holier than thou words though. I suck at mindfulness and meditation and I’ve been known to dissociate as well. Plus I love nothing better than to sink into happy daydreams! But while I have issues to be worked through, I know it’s unhealthy… xx



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