Many turn to meditation as a way to escape their pain. And at the surface, meditation does seem like this calming practice that lets you disconnect from the world — to an extent, that’s true.
But there’s also the hardship part of meditation since it’s not a walk in the park. And that’s the beauty of it. The more you learn to face suffering, rather than turning away from it, the easier it becomes to overcome it.
So no, meditation is not escapism. It’s the opposite of escapism. If you are using meditation as a way to escape pain, reconsider doing it.
Because while you can experience extreme bliss through meditation, especially once you enter a deeply concentrated state, detach any expectations from the practice and you’re more likely to enter the flow state. It’s also more likely to happen sooner.
In this case, I’ll outline how escapism and meditation differ, and how you can benefit from meditation if you are resorting to some form of escapism today.
Hopefully, this article gets you to stop, so you can ultimately overcome the source of that escapism. At that point, you’ll no longer need to resort to escapism and you’ll be able to enjoy the present more at peace and make it something that you enjoy.
Meditation Can Replace Escapism
If you are using escapism, it’s because you are turning away from something that might range from slightly uncomfortable to severely traumatic.
In any case, this will often stem from the past, or might stem from an uncertain future you have no control over.
You don’t want to obsess over things you have no control over, since that’s only gonna make you feel powerless and further amplify any feelings of impotence.
I say that because it used to happen to me, but meditation can in some cases mimic the same feel-good endorphins you might get from the escapist habit you have. Except that meditation is actually good for you and helps you grow, so not only do you get to experience the best of that world but also grow personally.
Of course, the blissful aspect I’m talking about with meditation doesn’t come without going through a lot of pain beforehand, but it’s almost breaking through a wall that, once you level up, can no longer hurt you.
Unlike escapism, which often leads to addictive habits, meditation is not addictive and is something you can do at your own pace, with a meditation that you feel helps you.
However, you’ll get so used to the feeling of constantly leveling up and overcoming your fears that you won’t want to stop — that’s different from addiction and is nothing but blissful.
Escapists Should Meditate The Most
Of course, with whatever purpose you do meditation, it can be seen as a form of escapism or not. But with meditation, you don’t always control what’s gonna happen in the experience, nor how you’re gonna feel.
You might be fortunate enough to experience relief from meditation, but that relief will not result in any growth and you won’t be overcoming anything from meditation. 
That’s not to say you should deliberately seek out pain with meditation, but more, let the experience happen. If there are fears stored inside you that you need to overcome, more often than not, the mind will find a way to bring them to light.
And it’s only then that you first experience that discomfort that, upon pushing through, gets easier over time.
At first, it can feel like a nightmare, but the longer it goes undressed, the longer that nightmare is gonna amplify.
But it can relatively quickly go from a nightmare and feeling scary to giving you the biggest feelings of accomplishment since there’s nothing better than overcoming a part of you that was holding you hostage from the present.
Neither the future nor the past can hurt you if you don’t allow it, but the keyword here is allowing.
In a way, it sounds like I’m implying that pain is optional, but at one point, it gets to that point. Sure, in one way or another we’ll all experience some discomfort and pain, it’s part of life.
But there are also ways to mitigate that same pain by shining a light on it, rather than turning away from it, as many escapists would try to do.
Of course, you probably won’t go from escapist to meditator from one day to another, but you will condition your mind to stay in the present long before you run away completely. Taking gradual steps is better than taking no steps.
Most people should meditate, regardless of if they are turning to escapism or not, but this is especially true if you turn to escapism.
Because I believe most do in one way or another, and there’s a lot of joy in becoming your best version and knowing that what once hurts you is treated just like another thought you’d learn to show indifference to with meditation.
Embracing the pain doesn’t seem like an attractive idea, but there’s a beauty that comes with embracing that pain and growing stronger as a result of it. Sometimes, facing that fear can make us feel more vulnerable and weaker, but what influences it is our mental preparation.
Mental preparation, in the first place, comes from consistent meditations, stepping out of your comfort zone, and doing things you deep down want to do but overall don’t feel like doing at the time.
That’s the ultimate strength of greatness and what separates high achievers from those that stay in the same place.
The Pain Can Stack
If what you are feeling that propels you to turn to escapism isn’t addressed, it’s only gonna stack on. You might not notice it at first.
For instance, with negative thoughts, it’s very easy for those to stack on and affects our quality of life. But these thoughts depend on your reaction, so subtracting your reaction from the equation takes away those negative thoughts’ power over you.
It’s like starving them, and you’re becoming freer in the process, more in the now. Many glorify the present moment without ever living in the present moment.
Because it’s a process, and there are other aspects, other than just negative thoughts that can prevent people from living in the now. One of them is our conditioning and having to get used to living in the now.
But the aftermath of living in the present is that the negative thoughts that accumulated up until this point will not stack any longer.
And tackling the problem becomes easier. The sooner you face your fears, the sooner you tackle what’s making you want to turn to escapism, and the easier it is to get rid of.
At one point, bad memories and fears can feel so overwhelming that tackling them seems like a mountain to climb. And it’s never too late, but it gets harder, which is why I often vouch for meditation to be picked up at an early age.
I like to compare it to homework stacking up, the sooner you do your homework, the less it’s bothering you at the back of your mind. We shouldn’t treat traumas or pains stemming from the past any differently.
Meditation doesn’t only give you freedom from an environment that’s taunting, in the form of becoming less reactive, but it also makes you free from a part of yourself, keeping you stuck in the same loop of pain.
That loop won’t go away on its own unless you do something about it, and meditation is something you can stop at any moment, so it might provide some base-level comfort in tackling the pain. Over time, you stop being ruled by fear and start being ruled by your true will.
Almost as if you are changing what your car runs on, with you being the engine. Meditation is like feeding your body and mind a diet that is difficult to adopt at first, but once you are there, you don’t want to turn back, because turning back would mean sabotaging all the progress you’ve made up until this point, and most would agree that it’s a good kind of fear to have.