in Meditation

Blank Minds and Tramp Souls

Jonathan Kos-Read, Silk Road #7, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

Silk Road #7, by Jonathan Kos-Read, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

A famous yogi cautions his disciples:

“Never sit quietly and make your mind blank in order to become ‘open’ to messages from the other world. This practice makes one receptive to tramp souls that are roaming in the ether, seeking human vehicles for expression and experience in the physical world[1]”.

Christianity warns of “demonic possession”, evil spirits that possess a body or mind.

Meditation students are often indoctrinated with psychologically disturbing ideas.

We're no Here, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

We’re no Here, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The ultimate goal of meditation is total annihilation (for Buddhists) or complete surrender (Hindu Yogis) of “self”. Buddhist students seek Nirvana, the transcendent state of consciousness where no suffering, no desire, or no self exists. Whereas Hindu Yoga students strive to attain Samadhi, the ultimate consciousness where the “self” is surrendered entirely to a Supreme Being. Disturbing ideas.

pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

During my meditations, I’d sometimes worry that tramp souls might enter my “blank” mind. And, I feared accidentally entering a Samadhi meditaton state. Would I snuff-out my “self”? How would “I” come back? These are thoughts that possess minds.

In my post Dark Side of Meditation, I wrote of the potential risks and side-effects of meditation. But this questions about psychiatric problems are not well researched.

Questions for readers: What do you think of tramp souls or demonic possession? of annihilation or surrender of “self”?


1 Paramahansa Yogananda, a famous yogi, discussed tramp souls, disembodied spirits, or ghosts in his writings and lectures. The quote above is from his book, The Divine Romance, ch 27, Where Are Our Departed Loved Ones? a transcript of a talk he gave at the First Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, Encinitas, CA, 28 Aug 1938.

Leave a Reply

  1. An abstract concept of self or God when meditated on can make the mind blank, then crazy shit can “get in” there. This isn’t conjecture or speculation or opinion or theory, just part of a personal experience and the seen experiences of millions of other people. It is very real, even if it’s nature or origin is not known. It could be seen as madness from an objective viewpoint, but if it contains anything paranormal which is verified later, it cannot be ignored.

    My own feeling is that fear attracts perceptions that then become more real with mental repetition. Most trauma is not on the level of epileptic convulsions and shakes. So there can be a physical and emotional and mental basis to derangement too. They seem to be twin bed fellows with a pillow between them.

    Possession isn’t some unknown event that nobody is aware of. It happens everywhere, every day, from the beginning to 2014. It is a hypnoid state of consciousness that is anesthetic and feels no pain, there is no personal will involved but what comes out contains wisdom and intelligence beyond the capabilities of the person themselves. People get into ASCs through various means to allow the god to take over their consciousness, and it manifests in all kinds of ways. Tramps souls are just dead people that are trapped on the earth plane and they are very attached to dirty sensory based pleasures like drinking, and sex and drugs.

    The point I wanted to make was that making the mind blank can lead to consequences of madness or possession states. So meditation has some dangers. You need a definite conception of God before you can surrender to it and if it is beneficial and good it can’t ever be bad and doesn’t signify some kind of abnormal state.

    social life is fast paced. When you are trying to relax it is hard to actually meditate. But fortunately solo solitude meditation is not necessary to know that the social masks people wear are fake. A heart touched by love is not prone to violence against people via hate. I felt that love and I hate nobody and never will and never can. That is a form of suffering through the memory. I can dislike people though. You don’t attempt to please people that are cussing you by being in their presence.

    Sorry for the long post. Won’t do it again!

  2. @David R:
    1) I agree. All concepts are abstract.

    2) All concepts of self or god are abstractions. I’ve investigated Catholicism, Yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism, Existentialism, Atheism, Humanism, many systems and concepts of god and self. So far, they are all abstractions.

    3) Self-Realization Fellowship, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Taoism, Shamanism, are all interpretive systems. Someone is telling us what their concepts are and we adapt our concepts. Not a bad thing. Our brains are built for adapting.

    4) What comes first the concept of or the god or the self? Haha. The what came first chicken or egg question:).

    For me I know which came first.
    When I was a rock musician (before I was a monk) I thought I would die (or kill myself) if I couldn’t be the professional guitarist I envisioned. My self-concept was totally identified with being a rock musician. I was possessed by my concept. It was the most emotional, maddening, and tumultuous experience of my life. Five years later, I outgrew my concept and desire to be a rock musician. Actually, I left rock to find my “self” or god through practice of yoga meditation and self-realization techniques. I took my do-or-die attitude into my self-realization practices and I lived as a monk for 14 years. I was possessed by concept of self-realization and god. I dedicated my life to them, literally.

    For me concepts are, indeed, very real in my head and heart. My concepts and feelings change, my life and choices change, and the world around me changes. Fortunately, for me, my life has change for the better– though a few of my friends think I’m possessed by delusion or satan (concepts).

    I appreciate reading what you have to say and any critiques if you think I may be off in my posts.
    Thanks for following my blog posts. Do you have a blog? If not, you should. I’d like to read what you write.

  3. Me and you are soul mates, scott. I was a guitarist in bands at school, and very accomplished on the guitar, except I don’t do bands any more, and it is just a hobby to me now even though I am better on it than ever.

    I don’t have the slightest clue on how to start up a blog of my own, and I think it would fail ultimately. But I tend to fill up other parts of forums and blogs on the internet with this name, which is my real name, and my lack of creativity is subject to other people doing and saying things. A white sheet of paper before me stumps me.

  4. Amazing, David. We’re also kin by guitar!

    Music: What style guitar do you play? I wonder if playing your music is often a transcendent experience for you. I know it was/is for me. Playing music, as you get proficient, has a unique “flow”. I’d get lost for hours playing in my room and with my bands. I’m like you now and only play for hobby, for myself. I haven’t played guitar much in the last year or more. My new hobby, which I love doing, is writing and blogging.

    Blogging: It’s easy and often no cost to start a blog. But, does require an investment of your time. If you decide you’d like to try it sometime I’d be glad to point you in the direction you’d like to take.

    Creativity: You seem to have plenty of creative ideas and unique perspectives. I’m sure music and guitar is another creative outlet for you too. I know it is for me. Have you read my posts about flow states of consciousness? I have keen interest in the connection between intuition (spiritual experiences) and creativity and plan to write more on creativity and flow states.

    Forums: Do you have any good forum or media recommendations? I’m interested in joining forums or discussion boards that resonate with topics we explore here on Skeptic Meditations blog.


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