No matter how much people like to read and listen about spiritual episodes that others experience, such stories are merely a subjective view at some personal events and, therefore, remain for the listeners only a more or less interesting and credible story. Likewise, many stories about the negative or positive effects of meditation are mostly statements based on the subjective thinking of people who maybe even meditate only occasionally, and thus lack the overall insight necessary to understand the effects more deeply.
There is no doubt that stories are always informative, but they also have the potential to convey the wrong messages. So, diverse opinions and judgments that either overly criticise or exaggerate the effect of meditation will not affect a mature meditator who is protected by personal experience but may strongly influence those who have just begun with the practice. Thus, stories can bring up false expectations or fears, and with this hinder right development of the practitioner. This is especially true for people who need more than meditation to stabilize their body and mind.
As long as people do not recognise their own nature, they behave like unconscious drivers rushing to the edge of the abyss with their eyes closed. The faster they drive, the closer they will get there, without even being aware of it. In this way, and as long as they have not opened their eyes, they not only remain unconscious of the danger, but also of the possibility to avoid it. So, the key question is not when they will fall into the abyss, but if they will open their eyes early enough to prevent it.
With that, the importance of opening the eyes becomes apparent, and one of the tools that helps with this, is meditation. Not reading about it, but actual practicing it! Although a meditation is not a guarantee that you will open your eyes before the edge of the abyss is reached, it is nevertheless extremely useful especially for those people who are going through life at an accelerated pace. Unfortunately, it is exactly these people who will show the strongest resistance to anything that can slow them down or force them to stop. However, if they overcome that first impulse that stirs the thought and feeling telling them that meditation is just a waste of time, they will soon realise that this is precisely what they really need.
Nowadays, the ego has reached enormous dimension and power, creating the illusion that everything can be mastered only if we use ego-driven strategies. At a certain level of human life, these strategies seem to work well, but they cannot be used when you want to deal with your original nature. In that case, if the ego is not discarded, failure is inevitable. If you allow the ego to be in the driver's seat during meditation, you will not develop enough clarity that is necessary for a proper interpretation of everything that is going on inside of you. Without the necessary clarity, the true value of meditation remains unused, and in addition, irritation, instability and fear will often develop. As a result, your progress will be hindered and sustainable happiness unattainable.
There are many factors that can influence the effect of meditation: the depth and type of meditation, the personal state of mind and body, mental and emotional maturity, karma. Knowing these factors means knowing yourself. However, knowing one's self is not so simple, which is why spiritual cultivation is necessary for everyone's personal evolution. Unfortunately, restrained by discriminatory and dualistic understandings, people mistakenly believe that spirituality is reserved only for those people who attend meditation or yoga classes or engage in esoteric techniques. It is even assumed that spirituality cannot coexist with intellect. But what we call spirituality is an essential aspect of human existence, and just as we cannot escape the processes of intellectual and physical development, the same is true of our spiritual maturation. In fact, it doesn't even matter whether we recognise the process as such or how we call it.
Still, as long as your eyes are closed, it will be safer to travel with a trusted teacher by your side. Someone who can guide you, who will speed you up when you stop moving or will stop you when you get too close to the edge. And finally, someone who will be willing to let you fall into the abyss, if that is the only way for you to wake up.