Zoning Out - Meditation or Disconnection?
Dissociation – Disconnection – Zoning Out
Dissociation is much misunderstood because it can describe a state of being or awareness that occurs for
three different reasons.
- First, it is a common occurrence that happens to almost everyone regularly (see below).
- Second, is can be a deliberately induced positive state when meditating or reflecting.
- Third, it can be protective coping mechanism (avoidance of negative or painful memories.
First and foremost, it is important to know that dissociation is not a disorder or illness you “get” or have.
It is a state of "being" that you arrive at, or find yourself in, as a coping mechanism or strategy.
It characterized by an unexpected partial or complete disruption of the normal integration of a person’s
conscious or psychological functioning (which is a neutral description signifying neither good nor bad).
Dissociation is a mental process that disconnects a person from their thoughts, memories, feelings,
actions, or sense of identity: it is a disconnection from one’s inner self and from the “reality” around
Dissociation can be a response to trauma, and perhaps allows the mind to distance itself from
experiences that are too much for the psyche to process at that time (see below).
Dissociative disruptions can affect any aspect of a person’s functioning. Many dissociative disruptions
involve amnesia (not always – but very frequently).
Since dissociations are normally unanticipated, they are typically experienced as startling, autonomous
intrusions into the person's usual ways of responding or functioning. Due to their unexpected and largely
inexplicable nature, they tend to be quite unsettling.
Dissociative amnesia and fugue states are often triggered by life stresses that fall far short of trauma.
This mechanism is mostly automatic, an unconscious activity of the mind.
For some folks, it may be the only, or at least the most preferred method of dealing with the stresses of
There are various degrees of dissociation, which can range from normal to problematic in a person's life.
The Dissociation coping strategy develops in those who have suffered a significant degree of trauma
and/or abuse in their lives. This includes traumatic events such as accidents, serious illness, etc., severe
stress, and/or any type of abuse: physical, emotional or sexual.
For these people the occurrence of trauma or abuse is almost always present in their history when
Those who have been traumatized or abused almost always have dissociated to some degree.
Dissociation in general
1. Common Occurrence:
Dissociation is actually a natural function of normal life.
- Children are very good at dissociation, and this is especially evident in their play.
- They can become completely absorbed in the game they are playing, and for the moment, they
BECOME the princess, or the prince, or the fireman, or the nurse, or the doctor, or the good guy, or
the bad guy, or the cat, or the dog, or. . .
The child simply "becomes" another person, often without any conscious decision to do so, have the
things happen to that person, not oneself . . .