Dissertation Title:

The Promise and Perils of Meditation


Caroline Helene Schairer

Date, Time & Place:

July 17, 2023 at 11:00 am


Although meditation is a contemplative practice that can engender individuation, spirituality, and enlightenment, it also lowers the threshold to the unconscious and allows unconscious contents to enter consciousness. With the lowering of the threshold to the unconscious, there is the potential to encounter the demons of the unknown, hidden or shadow aspects of ourselves. Through understanding and the integration of this psychological material meditators become more whole and participate in soul-making.

This dissertation provides a critical inquiry into Buddhist meditation, depth psychology, and neuroscience to promote a deeper understanding of the transformative process. In addition, this inquiry describes the promise and perils of the meditative experience to help meditators navigate the deeper aspects of what may be encountered along the way so that the experience can be a safe and satisfying journey.

  • Program/Track/Year: Mythological Studies with Emphasis in Depth Psychology, I, 2015
  • Chair: Dr. Patrick Mahaffey
  • Reader: Dr. Dana White
  • External Reader: Dr. Gregory Mahr
  • Keywords: Meditation, Buddhism, Eastern Philosophy, Psychology, Depth Psychology, Mindfulness, Neuroscience, Dreams, Active Imagination, James Hillman, C. G. Jung, The Red Book, Unconscious, Enlightenment, Spiritual By-passing, Spirituality, Transcendent Function