If you have been practicing correctly, even for a short amount of time, you will know that true Yoga and meditation (and certainly the higher state of consciousness known as Samadhi) is marked by greater presence, wholeness, awareness, and connection to your true self and reality. “Being in the world but not of it” is not the same as disconnection from your self and/or from reality itself, which in psychology is often referred to as a state of dissociation.

Dissociation, in the psychological sense, is marked by a disconnection from your self and reality due to extreme stress and overwhelm that creates the subconscious need to escape from, and tune-out, presence as opposed to increasing it. This “tuning-out” allows an overwhelmed psyche to more effectively cope with the intensity of life or a stressful situation, bringing temporary relief which may prevent an affected individual from “falling apart” while he/she interfaces in/with the world.

While dissociation creates a sense of separation and detachment from oneself and reality–almost like being in a dream-state while remaining “awake,” a state in which one perceives one’s consciousness as being separated from, and not fully present in, one’s experience in one way or another–true Yoga and meditation generate an internal experience that creates a deeper connection, and stronger presence, in oneself and “reality.”

This presence creates greater awareness and understanding, more peace, and a healthier ability to cope with the stresses and uncertainties of life and the world as opposed to diminishing one’s presence in the world to escape the stresses of life. Dissociation, therefore, creates temporary (and unhealthy if left unchecked) relief from suffering, while Yoga and mediation create more mental resilience to effectively manage stress and suffering and successfully rise above it.

This is a key differentiation.

Being in the world but not of it,” in Yoga and meditation, is an experience marked by stronger connection and awareness of oneself (one’s true self) and greater acceptance and understanding of this self and “the world.” Yoga and meditation do not create lesser presence and awareness in the world through detachment and a fragmented sense of identity.

These practices help you to come into your true and full self without overidentifying with the illusory projections of your mind and/or society and they help you to become a more effective distinguisher of illusion and reality as well, which, in turn, allows you to more effectively navigate within the world.

To put it simply, Yoga and meditation are not intended to make you a better reality-escapee; they are designed to bring more wholeness and integration into your life (and being) so that you can more fully live life, as opposed to unproductively creating a feeling of detachment, separation, and disconnection from your self and the world which can turn you into a “walking dead” human-being.

Always remember that meditation and Yoga are not supposed to create a mental daze, a fog, or a sense of a floating, fragmented, identity.

Meditation, Yoga, and Samadhi are all about becoming fully present, and aware (awake and conscious), whole, and complete, in your body, mind, and with your true “spiritual” expression while seeing the illusions of the world and recognizing your inextricable connection to all of creation.

Being aware and present is different from being disengaged, and non-attachment is different from being detached from yourself and the world.

So, if your meditation or Yoga practice is not marked by full presence and awareness, if it is not marked by a deeper sense of peace that comes through/from this awareness, you may simply be dissociating/separating from yourself and/or reality, as opposed to coming into yourself and reality, and it may be important to ask yourself “why” this would be, and seek professional help if necessary.

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