Anna Lutkajtis - Dark Side of the Dharma - Guru Viking Podcast

thumbnail
Steve James, modified 3 Months ago.

Anna Lutkajtis - Dark Side of the Dharma - Guru Viking Podcast

Posts: 103 Join Date: 2/15/19 Recent Posts
In this episode of the Guru Viking Podcast I am joined by Anna Lutkajtis author of ‘Dark Side of the Dharma: Meditation, Madness, and Other Maladies on the Contemplative Path’.

Anna is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Sydney who’s research focuses on mysticism, the dark night of the soul, and the healing potential of altered states of consciousness.

We learn how Anna’s own existential crisis saw her embark on a spiritual quest, including deep exploration of meditation and yoga, and close contact with pragmatic dharma teachers Daniel Ingram and Kenneth Folk.

Anna reveals where a senior teacher placed her on the 4-path model of enlightenment, and why that framework is no longer the focus of her personal practice.

We also discuss Anna’s research into adverse meditation effects, explore three different theories of the dark night of the soul, and consider the friction points between enlightenment and psychological health.

Anna then asks me about my experience sharing meditation with others and we discuss my interests in the parallels between mindfulness and mainstream Christianity, the mechanisms of religious conversion, and the pros and cons of intensive retreat.



https://www.guruviking.com/ep91-anna-lutkajtis-dark-side-of-the-dharma/

Also available on Youtube, iTunes, & Spotify – search ‘Guru Viking Podcast’.



Topics Include:

00:00 - Intro
01:10 - Anna’s meditation history
04:38 - Encountering Daniel Ingram and Kenneth Folk
09:53 - Personal outcome of working 1-1 with Kenneth Folk
11:03 - Fire kasina practice and yoga asana
11:40 - Anna’s fire kasina story
15:56 - Anna’s ‘relentless seeking phase’
16:57 - Perspective on the 4-path model
19:22 - Who diagnosed Anna’s path attainments and on what basis?
20:59 - Anna’s dark night, depression, and Daniel Ingram’s help
24:59 - 3 different dark night theories
29:40 - Scripting and experience construction
33:36 - Why are adverse meditation effects ignored?
36:00 - Religious vs psychological friction points
40:18 - Bikkhu Analayo’s critique
42:57 - Defining ‘adverse effects’
44:53 - Trauma and adverse meditation effects
45:51 - Pros and cons of intensive retreat
48:03 - Frequency of adverse meditation effects
52:29 - The goals of practice
55:21 - Further definitions and variables
1:00:02 - Spiritual but not religious?
1:03:32 - Mindfulness as a religious movement
1:05:17 - Peak experiences and religious conversion
1:07:20 - Dangers of psychedelic-assisted therapy
1:07:50 - Encountering resistance during research and publication
1:11:51 - Anna’s psychedelic research
1:12:25 - The life-cycle of the mindfulness trend
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Anna Lutkajtis - Dark Side of the Dharma - Guru Viking Podcast

Posts: 3192 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Obviously, I am very excited that Anna's book and her important work are getting the attention they deserve: may that trend continue, as this is a very important book, and Anna's story and point of view are very relevant to so much of what we do here on the DhO. May Anna's work help many!

​​​​​​​Daniel
thumbnail
Smiling Stone, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Anna Lutkajtis - Dark Side of the Dharma - Guru Viking Podcast

Posts: 216 Join Date: 5/10/16 Recent Posts
Hey Steve,

Nice episode, I enjoyed Anna's balanced take on the different aspects of practice you discussed, as well as your way of conducting the interview.
I must say I thoroughly enjoyed your podcast lately. I listened to Andrew Holecek, Har Prakash, and David Curtis and really appreciated how you could get the deepest testimonies from your interviewees with well articulated questions showing your genuine interest in these topics.
Hum, maybe it's you evolving... or that's me getting in the groove of your style!
Anyway, congratulations for your good work
with metta
smiling stone
thumbnail
Steve James, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Anna Lutkajtis - Dark Side of the Dharma - Guru Viking Podcast

Posts: 103 Join Date: 2/15/19 Recent Posts
Thanks Smiling Stone, I'm happy to read you've enjoyed the latest episodes! 
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Anna Lutkajtis - Dark Side of the Dharma - Guru Viking Podcast

Posts: 109 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
This is absolutely the kind of research I want to do when I'm a psychologist. Meditation downsides, upsides and sidesides. Also, nice to see a fellow Aussie who is into hardcore dharma.

There's some research looking into meditation and its effects on personality traits and vice versa. I have a hunch that the Openness trait on the Big 5/HEXACO is very underappreciated in the literature and has a very specific relationship to self-awareness/metacognition as framed in spirituality. I think looking at how levels of certain personality traits interact with the progress of insight in meditation would be of great benefit for teachers and professionals. It'd be like having a rough prognostic idea of the course/duration of meditation lows and highs. I gotta see Anna's take on POI, her book will definitely be ending up in any literature review I'll be doing for sure. 

I've also have a hypothesis on the side that the POI may be similar to how attention, moods, and awareness modulate in any type of skill acquisition. 

This podcast is definitely going to get the noggin' joggin'. Thank you again Mr Viking, your podcasts are amazing.
Martin, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Anna Lutkajtis - Dark Side of the Dharma - Guru Viking Podcast

Posts: 294 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
One of the things that I enjoyed about this (in addition to Anna's sensible, chill, views) is how we got to hear Steve's views. Steve often appears to be just an ideal interviewer. It's engaging to see Steve as a person with opinions about meditation. 

Breadcrumb