Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Can Meditation Cause Too Much Introversion?

By Ryanshelton7 @LivingVipassana

introvertI like to regard myself as an ambivert because relative to my loved ones, I fall on either side of the spectrum about half the time. Yet, in relation to the cultural ideal I probably fare more as an introvert.

What I’ve seen happen since starting a regular meditation practice, is that I don’t feel very desirous of external excitement or concerned with how my reclusive behavior might appear. This means I can dive in to spending copious amounts of time alone, which is great for studying or solitary work, but not helpful for making connections or practicing communication.

On the flip side, during my life’s earlier solitary phases I recall actually developing a bit of social anxiety. I actually believed and feared that if I didn’t practice socializing I would forget how! This seems silly, and is completely not the case now, and I don’t feel it ever could be again. Thanks to a present mind and a peaceful heart I can go with minimal contact for months and then adapt myself to pretty much any social situation.

So why make an effort to go out? Though, I don’t think it’s wise to seek externally-sourced happiness, intuition tells me something isn’t right about spending this much time alone. It’s just toooo easy for me; there’s not enough challenge to balance myself. By balance I mean integrating the extremes or polarities that come less naturally, in this case extroversion. This doesn’t mean trying to turn myself into a complete extrovert, but it does mean taking on little opportunities to challenge myself.

It seems to me, for the introvert born, meditation is a double edged sword; it’s up to me to avoid the bypassing and develop myself among people, but without Dhamma I may not have developed a pure motivation for doing so. As for the extroverts who are brave enough to sit a 10 day course, I acknowledge and commend that you’re not only taking on a path to purification, but also an activity very contrary to your nature.

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