Is guilt a good thing or not?
More on the reason for the question in a moment,
Get our free mobile app

Meditation And Guilt

Last week I got a text about a Bible-based meditation to listen to before going to sleep.
I checked it out and it was great.
It was very relaxing, with good messaging, and is a perfect physical/spiritual nightcap.  Highly recommended.
So naturally for me, my curiosity kicked in and I started thinking and reading about meditation in general and was reminded of the role meditation plays in certain religions and a meditation caution from the Pope.  Turns out his Holiness would be backed up by UDub Husky researchers.

The Church Cautions For Prayer

About three decades ago, (1989) the Catholic Church gave out some guidance on the practice of meditation.
The Vatican warned Catholics... that such methods as Zen, yoga, and Transcendental Meditation can ″degenerate into a cult of the body,″ and it urged proper Christian prayer....increased attempts to fuse Eastern and Catholic meditation pose ″dangers and errors.″... avoid the danger of falling into syncretism - the merging of different religious practices.
So coincidentally (or not), today I ran across another "caution" about what's called "mindful meditation" coming from researchers at the University of Washington. And this is where the concept of "GUILT" enters the picture.

What Is Mindfulness Meditation

EurekAlert defines Mindfulness Meditation as:
stress-management practice started in ancient times and cultivates nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, often by directing attention to the physical sensations of breathing. It’s also a popular practice lately-- part of the self-care movement
What's interesting is that U of W scientists found that this "mindful-type meditating" can reduce feelings of guilt.  What's bad about that?  Guilt helps us "navigate social situations and maintain relationships"..so if there's no guilt, there's potentially no (or less) governing of what would normally be guilt-producing bad or unpleasant or unproductive behavior.  Researchers call it "relaxing the moral compass."

The Experiment Yields Results

Quick example - Two groups each faced with a disagreement that required some kind of monetary reparation or compensation.  Both groups meditate.
they listened to either an eight-minute guided mindfulness meditation recording that instructed them to focus on the physical sensations of breathing -or- an eight-minute control condition recording in which they were instructed to let their minds wander....the mindfulness recording participants reported feeling less guilt compared to those in the mind-wandering control group. Those with mindful meditation offered 17% less (because of less guilt) than the other group
"These and three other, similar experiments established that mindfulness meditation reduces the tendency to make amends for harming others."
Some fascinating details about the kind of experiments used in the research can be found HERE.

CHECK IT OUT: These words were born in the '80s