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‘Mindfulness’ - A Dangerous Deceit of the Devil (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

Part 1: What is Mindfulness & Should Christians Practice it?

Mindfulness is a relatively new therapeutic meditative relaxation technique that has been popularised at an extremely rapid pace since its inception in the 1970’s. It is now being promoted just about everywhere, in fact it is probably more difficult to find somewhere where Mindfulness isn’t being endorsed! Schools and universities, health and social care settings, law enforcement and defence settings, movies and television programmes; alarmingly, it is also being recommended by ministers and pastors within evangelical and reformed churches as a means of relief for the members of their flock who are experiencing stress, anxiety and low moods due to their trials, losses or other adverse circumstances.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is the American founder of a contemporary meditative technique called ‘Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction’ (MBSR); Kabat-Zinn states that whilst MBSR is based on Zen Buddhism, he is not a practicing Buddhist and he is extremely keen to stress the secular (non-religious) aspect of Mindfulness in order to widen its appeal to everyone regardless of their beliefs; however, this explanation is disingenuous and superfluous because Zen Buddhism already promotes itself, not as a religion, but as a way of life that can be undertaken by anyone; Kabat-Zinn freely admits that he regularly practices Zen and he is also a founding member of the Cambridge Zen Centre in North America so there can be absolutely no doubt that Mindfulness in all of its forms, is very closely associated with Eastern mysticism/occultism.

MBSR has an equivalent technique within the United Kingdom and is unashamedly based on Kabat-Zinn’s Zen Buddhist Mindfulness. This is called Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and has been developed by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale. MBCT is currently promoted enthusiastically throughout the Health and Social Care sectors of the UK as a remedy for the increasing number people presenting with stress, anxiety and deep melancholy.

Although Mindfulness is a contemporary form of meditation, it is by no means a new concept as there is historical evidence that meditation was practised in 1500BC by Hindus, Indian Buddhists and Chinese Taoists.

The following are just a few false religions and practices that have developed their own mystical meditative techniques: -

Islam: Sufism- a belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find divine love and knowledge via a mystical meditative experience of God.

Judaism: Kabbalah- It is generally believed that Judaism was infiltrated by Gnosticism and this led to Kabbalah, a mystical form of Judaism that seeks to explain the nature of God and existence through a mixture of meditative techniques and theological knowledge.

Shamanism: This is blatant witchcraft developed in Siberia, North Asia and these early Shamanists are known to have practised meditation since the 3rd Century AD; their meditation was often accompanied by hallucinatory drugs in an attempt to induce a higher state of spiritual self-awareness and to improve their capacity to connect with nature and the spirit world. Regional forms of Shamanism continue to be practised within the indigenous tribal communities throughout the world and the Hippy Movement of the 1960’s has a very close correlation with this pagan religion. Shamanistic techniques and theories have also been employed within alternative medicine for many years now and have also made their way into contemporary medicine, with Shamanistic meditative techniques frequently being recommended for reduction of stress and anxiety. “The influence of Shamanism in New Age medicine is significant… The burgeoning field of holistic medicine shows a tremendous amount of experimentation involving the reinvention of many techniques long practised in shamanism such as visualisation, altered states of consciousness, aspects of psychoanalysis hypnotherapy, meditation… Not surprisingly then shamanistic techniques are now increasingly used at modern medical health centres… Introducing shamanism into modern medicine is ironic because of its essentially antiscientific nature such as its occultism and irrationalism.” (emphasis ours)

Hinduism: Dhyana- employed in yoga as a means to self-knowledge. Transcendental Meditation – this was developed by Hindu Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and popularised by The Beatles and other celebrities in the 1960’s

Roman Catholicism: Lectio Divina means Sacred Reading- meditation is just one of four stages within Lectio Divina and it is undertaken by intensely focusing on a single word/phrase of Scripture or an icon in an effort to promote knowledge and bring about communion with God; this is nothing like meditative Bible study, which involves, with the help of the Holy Spirit, a thoughtful and prayerful consideration of God’s Word in order to learn more about the Lord Jesus Christ and to receive grace to live a holy life in obedience to God’s Word.

Roman Catholic mystics such as Benedict, Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Thérèse of Lisieux, Ignatius Loyola, Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton all practised Lectio Divina but Origen of Alexandria in the 3rd Century AD is thought to have introduced a similar mystical meditation upon the Scriptures; this may have resulted as a consequence of Origen's view that the written Word of God was a sacrament and equivalent to Christ incarnate; Origen was also adversely influenced by Greek philosophy and the Jewish philosopher Philo. During Origen’s lifetime the cosmopolitan city of Alexandria in Egypt was a great melting pot of diverse cultures and pagan beliefs including Hinduism, Buddhism and Gnosticism; these influences, combined with Origen’s eclectic beliefs, may help to explain why some early Christians departed from the faith and entered into a monastic lifestyle in a desert place in order to practice spiritual disciplines including mystical meditation; this retreat ultimately led to the formation of Roman Catholicism.

Spiritual Formation: This is a ‘spiritual’ practice that encourages the undertaking of a set of Spiritual Disciplines designed to aid a Christian’s progression in holiness; it has recently enjoyed a renaissance and is being enthusiastically embraced by many so called evangelical and reformed churches. Centring Prayer, also known as Contemplative Prayer, is a mystical meditative practice closely associated with Spiritual Formation; it is similar to Lectio Divina but rather than focusing on words, emphasis is placed on emptying the mind through solitude, stillness and silence, although a ‘sacred’ word may be used to assist in dispensing of the thoughts because these are viewed as hindrances to a realisation of a mystical trance, a state which supposedly equates to a union with God.

Buddhism: Bhavana- meaning ‘becoming’ or the process of arousing mental states of self-awareness. Zen-Buddhism- Zen is derived from the Chinese word ‘Ch’an’ which means emptiness/void or meditation; this concept was initially introduced into China by Bodhi dharma, an Indian monk who lived during 6th Century AD. Most Buddhist scholars reject the existence of an eternal, creator God so hence, Buddhism rejects the Scriptural doctrine of accountability and judgement; it is therefore a logical conclusion for Buddhism to draw that heaven or hell do not exist. It also bizarrely denies the real existence of anything within the past or in the future, which is very similar to the Gnostic teaching that creation, including the human body, should be regarded as meaningless because it was created by the bad god of the Old Testament, Demiurge, who is responsible for all human suffering. (Source: The Christian Institute).

Zen Buddhism teaches that the only meaningful reality is the present moment and by focusing solely on the ‘here and now’ a mystical connection with one’s ‘innate divinity’ can be achieved through meditation. Once again this is in keeping with the Gnostic teaching that the supreme, good god is only interested in the reality of the ‘divine spark’ that he has planted within every human being. (Source: The Christian Institute.) In Zen Buddhism, this connection with one’s inner divinity will supposedly provide a person with meaning for their existence and bring about a change in a person’s behaviour, resulting in the person becoming more virtuous in their works, less self-centred, more serene and less aggressive, more compassionate towards their fellow man, and kinder to the natural environment. This change is known as ‘enlightenment’ or ‘oneness’ and when a practitioner attains this high spiritual level, they’re said to have experienced ‘Nirvana’ (quenching/blowing out), thus guaranteeing them of annihilation upon their death and this will save them from further human suffering within future life cycles (i.e. reincarnations). It is difficult to think of a sadder and more hopeless false belief system because Nirvana will not bring about any person’s annihilation upon death, but a tragic realisation that their disbelief in the Creator God of heaven and earth has brought about a very real existence in hell for all eternity!

Zen Buddhism, is distinct from most other false religious because it is non-theistic and promotes Zen, not as a religion, but as a ‘way of life’ that can be adopted by people of any faith or of none. It is generally practised in a sitting position with the practitioner focusing on a single object and breathing in a specific way; all thoughts outside of the present moment must be dispensed with in order to achieve connection with the ‘divine within’ or oneness. Unlike most other meditative techniques, Zen aims to achieve and maintain this ‘oneness’ state of mind throughout every aspect of an individual’s daily life.

In June 2020 the BBC undertook an interview with the Dalai Lama, the highly influential leader of Tibetan Buddhists and he revealed his hope for world unity through the acceptance of ‘oneness’ as this would lead to resolution of climate change: "In the past there was too much emphasis on my continent, my nation, my religion. Now that thinking is out of date. Now we really need a sense of oneness of seven billion human beings, that they may yet unite to solve the problem of climate change.” (emphasis ours).

Shockingly, the Dalai Lama also indicated that his preferred means of disseminating the Zen ‘oneness’ message was through the minds of children and young people: "The whole world should pay more attention to how to transform our emotions…..It should be part of education not religion. Education about peace of mind and how to develop peace of mind. That is very important."

It should be a cause great consternation to every Christian parent that this is currently happening in schools throughout the world and within the United Kingdom as many have now integrated the Zen Buddhist meditative practice of Mindfulness into their curricula. Christians also need to be alerted to the fact that mysticism is also rapidly spreading throughout professing Christendom and secular society.

Gnosticism: Gnosticism, in common with all false religions, denies the all sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ’s redemptive work on behalf of His people. Another common teaching of false religions, including apostate Protestantism, is that salvation can be achieved by good works or, as taught by Zen Buddhists and Gnostics, by making a connection with one’s 'inner divinity'. There is no new thing under the sun and attempting to find salvation by works was first mentioned in the Scriptures when Cain sought to find acceptance with God through his innate righteousness; this is evidenced by his rejection of God's way of salvation through vicarious atonement and instead, Cain offered the works of his own hands.

Gnosticism is a very ancient belief system that has its roots firmly embedded in the occult and some scholars believe that it influenced the building of the Tower of Babel. The Rev Alexander Hislop wrote a book entitled ‘The Two Babylons’ in which he skilfully links most of the rituals within Roman Catholicism to the pagan practices of Babylonian mysticism. However, these links cannot be restricted to Catholicism because they are also found in abundance within most, if not all false religions.

Gnosticism infiltrated the New Testament Church within a short time of its inception; the Apostles wrote epistles to warn the infant churches about errors that were creeping in and it is generally agreed that Gnosticism was one of those heresies. Some commentators believe that Simon the Sorcerer introduced Gnostic mysticism into the early New Testament church (Acts 8:9-24).

Gnostics claim that their superior knowledge of God uniquely enables them to achieve a connection with their inherent divinity through mystical meditation and this is precisely what Zen Buddhism teaches. Gnostic mysticism is evidently enjoying a huge renaissance at this present time through Zen Buddhism, Mindfulness and mystical prayer techniques. This should not take the discerning Christian by surprise because it is in keeping with end time prophecy, which predicts the rising again of pagan Babylonian religion along with its mystical meditative practices and self-sufficient way of salvation/enlightenment.

Carl Jung, the father of analytical psychology, became convinced through the study of Gnosticism and other Eastern mystical religions that people had a spiritual dimension that could only be fulfilled by what he called ‘individuation’. Other psychological theorists espouse to the same principle calling it self-realisation, self-actualisation, self-fulfilment or enlightenment. Jung described this process as a journey to meet the self and in doing so, one meets with the divine. John Lennon, one of the Beatles said something similar: “It seems to me that the only true Christians were the Gnostics…..i.e. becoming Christ themselves, reaching the Christ within…” Such teaching is not found in the Bible nor within true Christianity.

The heretical teachings of Gnosticism have an extremely close correlation with the teachings of Zen Buddhism and its contemporary counterpart, Mindfulness. Gnosticism can also be identified as the theoretical foundation for the vast majority of modern psychological interventions and the ‘talking therapies’, including so called Christian counselling!

Another commonality found among some of the beliefs and practices outlined above, apart from Buddhism & some groups within Hinduism, is the philosophy of pantheism, which denies any separation between creatures, creation and God; hence, 'divinity' is in everything and everyone. Interestingly, this same concept underpins most Eastern religions, Quakerism, New Ageism and Humanism. Mindfulness, along with all types of mystical Gnostic mystical meditative practices will undoubtedly help to bring about the end time unification of false religions referred to in the Book of Revelation as 'Mystery Babylon’!

The meditative practices associated with the above mentioned false religions and practices reveal that they have some common objectives:

1. To learn more about or merge with the divine without:

The desire to connect with the divine is a pantheistic concept that can be traced back much earlier than the date where earliest meditation is known to have taken place (1500BC). Lucifer, the son of the morning, puffed up with pride and ambition was the first to attempt a ‘merging with the divine’, that is his Creator, Almighty God. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14. (emphasis ours).

Merging with the Divine is utterly impossible because mortals and angels are finite, created beings and as thus, they do not and cannot possess the essence of God who is eternal, immortal and infinite. The only merging of the immortal with the mortal that has ever occurred was when God the Son became flesh and dwelt among us but at all times, the Lord Jesus Christ maintained His deity and eternal attributes; Christ humbled himself and became obedient unto His Father with Whom He had covenanted in eternity past that He would suffer and die on behalf of a people given unto Him by His Father. Whilst Christ was greatly humiliated and marred physically at the hands of men, He suffered incomprehensibly at the Hands of His Father when His people’s sins were imputed to His account; Christ bore the full and just weight of God’s wrath upon our sin in His body, shed His precious blood and willingly gave up His life; Christ’s human body was never subjected to the corruption of death that mortals experience upon death because He, being eternally existent, was made in the power of an endless life. (Hebrews 7:16)

When Peter states that God’s people are partakers of the Divine nature in 1st Peter 1:4, his meaning is that when Christians walk in obedience to the Word of God, by grace they can know the infilling of the Holy Spirit Who enables them to display His fruit within their lives. (Galatians 5:22-23); this doesn’t make their nature Divine but it does give God’s people a resemblance to their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Christians will someday be made in a more perfect likeness to their Saviour when their body of sin is cast off in death or when it is changed at His second coming; however, they will never be equal in essence to God because glorified saints remain finite and subservient creatures evidenced by their continued worship, adoration and service unto the Lord in heaven. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1st John 3:2.

2. To learn about or merge with the divine within oneself:

There is no innate divinity within mortal man because the Scriptures make it clear that everyone is conceived in sin and after their birth they remain spiritually dead in trespasses and sin until born again of the Spirit of God. "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Psalm 51:5;

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:10-12;

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;....Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” Ephesians 2:1 & 5.

Even after the new birth there is no inherent good within any saved sinner apart from the work wrought within their heart and lives by the Holy Spirit. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. Romans 8:1.

The sinner only finds acceptance with God, on the basis of the Lord Jesus Christ’s atonement for their sin and the imputation of His righteousness to their account. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2nd Corinthians 5:21.

The theoretical basis for humanistic and client-centred psychological counselling is the assumption that everyone has inherent strengths and abilities (i.e. the divine within) to resolve their own problems and to achieve the ultimate goal of self-actualisation/realisation or personal fulfilment, all closely affiliated to the enlightenment and oneness concepts of Gnosticism and Zen Buddhism.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one such intervention that has been integrated within Mindfulness meditation to produce MCBT. The psychoanalytical therapies that originated from the very twisted minds of Sigmund Freud and other Psychologists, focus on the causation of emotional problems but CBT seeks to change negative emotional responses, supposedly formed by bad habits in response to adverse circumstances and experiences. This method of intervention is based on Skinner’s theory of ‘operant conditioning’ or ‘learnt behaviour’, which effectively likens man to a dog that can be trained to behave in a certain way.

CBT, in keeping with its humanistic roots and with meditative methods, encourages individuals to rely on their inherent ability (i.e. the divine within) to work out a ‘cure’ for their habitual emotional responses; CBT then encourages the individual to identify the changes that are required to reduce the undesirable responses to difficulties arising within their lives.

Negative emotions are not a consequence of habitual behaviour but a natural response to adversity and a Christian should not give credence to such autonomous notions as they are an affront to the all-sufficiency of God in matters pertaining to the souls of men; because they do not have an innate divinity, a Christian's dependency must always be firmly placed upon Him.

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” 2nd Corinthians 3:5;

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” Matthew 6:27;

“….for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5;

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” Romans 7:18.

Furthermore, employment of humanistic interventions will be of absolutely no benefit in addressing a Christian’s emotional difficulties; conversely, they will cause much harm because they direct a Christian away from the Fountain of Living Waters unto broken cisterns that can hold no water. “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13.

3. Abandonment of thoughts:

Most mystical meditative practices require a complete emptying of the mind from all thought processes but Mindfulness, in keeping with Zen Buddhism, does not require a termination of one’s thoughts, but this does not make it any less precarious. The following statement from a NHS website highlights that the Zen ‘here and now’ state of mind is exactly the same as required for Mindfulness: "An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs. Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment. It's about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.” (emphasis ours)

Focusing on the ‘here and now’ may make Mindfulness appear more acceptable to Christians because it does not demand a total abandonment of thoughts; however, Mindfulness is in fact a more perilous meditative practice for a Christian to engage in because practitioners are not only advised to meditate 1-2 times a day, but in line with Zen Buddhism, it is recommended as a way of living on a continuous basis! If a Christian practised Mindfulness on a perpetual basis then their contemplation on God’s Word would be greatly reduced or even set aside; this would not only exacerbate any emotional problems they were experiencing but this distraction would also render the Christian backslidden and very susceptible to deception, which is the chief aim of Satan, the arch-deceiver!

For all intents and purposes, Mindfulness is not only similar to Zen Buddhism but it is in fact an exact replica; combined with its very close likeness to the heretical teachings of Gnosticism, Mindfulness and all similar mystical practices should sound very loud alarm bells in the hearts and minds of every genuine Christian!!!

Subsequent to Satan’s failure in achieving his ambition to be as God, he then proceeded to deceive Eve into being consumed with the very same unachievable ambition, that is, to be made a partaker in her Creator’s divinity and to gain infinite knowledge. (Genesis 2:17 & 3:4-6). The serpent succeeded in diverting Eve’s thoughts away from God’s Word by focusing her attention on the forbidden fruit and the supposed benefits to be gained from partaking of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden; this distraction was evidently so successful that Eve forgot about God’s Word and the terrible consequences that would ensue for Adam and Eve if they breached His command. Contemplation of God’s Word at the time of her temptation would have alerted Eve to the deceitfulness of the serpent’s words when he said, “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 2:4-5.

When Eve succumbed to Satan’s deception it occurred within a sinless environment; subsequent to the Fall, the world has become an increasingly dark and sinful place where Satan stalks as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour so Christians need to be doubly on their guard against subtle distractions and deceits like Mindfulness and other mystical/occult meditative practices.

God has provided Christians with a means to resist Satan’s tactics, which requires them to hide God’s Word in their heart through study, hearing and memorisation of Scripture; the Scriptures are then brought to mind by the Holy Spirit when the world, flesh or the devil attempt to distract and deceive the Christian into disobeying the Lord. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11.

The Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated that the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ is the most powerful means for rebuffing Satan when He resisted the tempter in the wilderness and rendered his distracting and deceitful strategies ineffective by skilful wielding of God’s Word. (Matthew 4:1-11).

Click on link for further reading on Gnosticism

Part 2: Possible Causes for Emotional Difficulties experienced by Christians & Scriptural Responses.

Subsequent to the Fall of man and the entrance of sin into the world, life became more burdensome in many ways as physical suffering and adverse human emotions followed in its wake. Emotional suffering, unlike physical illness, is essentially a soul sickness that can occur for many reasons including a wide range of physical diseases, dysfunctions or deficiencies; injuries to the body or brain; pain, losses or grief and even physical/mental fatigue. Therefore, stress, anxiety and low moods are a very natural response within the context of a fallen world to loss, pain, disease and adverse circumstances.

Most, if not all Christians, suffer emotional difficulties to a greater or a lesser degree at some point within their lives but these can only occur with the Lord’s express permission; regardless of why God permits His children to suffer emotional afflictions, they, along with every other infirmity they experience, are ultimately for their good. (Romans 8:28). There are numerous reasons for the Lord permitting Christians to bear emotional afflictions but the following are just a few possible causes: -

Physical Disease, Deficiencies or Exhaustion: Illness and diseases have contributed to human suffering since the fall and diseases like dementia, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, epilepsy and hormone or blood deficiencies are renowned for having a negative effect on human emotions. Consequently, it is always wise to consult with a medical doctor for diagnostic testing to rule out underlying health issues as the causation of emotional difficulties.

Physical exhaustion can also have a devastating impact upon a Christians emotional well-being and it is incredibly easy to become overloaded to the point of being stressed, which can then lead to anxiety and even deep melancholy; very often Christians can experience emotional and physical burnout due to adverse circumstances, unbalanced lifestyles, work overload and even from undertaking legitimate activities within employment, in the home/family or even within the Lords work. As Christians we are commanded to glorify God in our bodies (1st Corinthians 5:15-20), therefore, if overloaded, a Christian must make a determined effort to slow down or stop activity to accommodate adequate rest and sleep in order to aid recovery. “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” Mark 6:32.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10, is a verse that is widely misused by proponents of mystical prayer to promote its requirement for the solitude and silence required to bring about an emptying of the mind from thoughts that are perceived as a hindrance to experiencing a mystical ‘divine presence’; a more accurate interpretation for this phrase in Psalm 46:10 is that God is commanding His people not to fret, worry or be anxious but rather, to settle themselves and gain knowledge of the Lord as revealed in His Word because this will restore a calm to their troubled souls. The commentator John Gill gives an analysis of Psalm 46:10 that should bring much comfort to Christians recovering from emotional turmoil: “they [God’s People] should not be fearful, nor fretful and impatient, or restless and tumultuous; but be quiet and easy, resigned to the will of God, and live in an assured expectation of the appearance of divine Providence in their layout. And "know"; own and acknowledge that he is God, a sovereign Being that does whatsoever he pleases; that he is unchangeable in his nature, purposes, promises, and covenant; that he is omnipotent, able to help them and deliver them at the last extremity; that he is omniscient, knows their persons, cases, and troubles, and how and where to hide them till the storm is over; that he is the all wise God, and does all things after the counsel of his own will, and makes all things work together for good to them; and that he is faithful to his word and promise, and will not suffer them to be over pressed and bore down with troubles.

The Christian may experience extreme tiredness during times of emotional turmoil and may not able to cope with prolonged periods of s