Traditional meditation practices help quiet the noise and clutter of our autonomic and emotional brain and mind and strengthen our prefrontal brain-mind. They help us to transcend and transform those aspects of our being and build a refuge in witnessing stillness. In addition, research is confirming, what practitioners of meditation have suspected for millennia; meditation changes our brain in ways that have a salutary effect upon many dimensions of intelligence and therefore our being in the world with ourselves and one another.
However, as many American Buddhists and Yogis have discovered, there is, certainly in this culture, a powerful tendency towards spiritual bypass. There is a tendency to bypass the intense, powerful, and often uncomfortable, knowings of our reptilian and mammalian brain and mind. This constitutes a kind of flight from the challenge, the richness, and the profound wisdoms of visceral and psychological/emotional dimensions of human experience and reality into states of being that are more detached and offer some respite from but little mastery of the moil of our, often messy humanity. In many Yoga and Buddhist communities, this tendency has, in the past, caused great problems. It has frequently led to various kinds of interpersonal boundary violations and abuses of power. These communities lacked the tools to handle some of the profound psychological disruptions that were inevitable when doing powerful spiritual practices.