Talking about the best experiences had during meditation can be like a double-edged sword at times.
On one hand, it can help give context to experiences others are having of which they know nothing. And on the other hand, it can make some people feel like they are missing out on something special if they have not yet had any ‘significant experiences’ themselves.
I believe it’s important to point out that meditation is an extremely personal practice even if you are doing it within a group under the guidance of a teacher. Sure, some basics within well-known traditions are great to learn, but ultimately we are sitting alone and are having to deal with ‘Our Self.’
You are not the same as anyone else on the planet. Your goals and dreams, while they may be similar to others, are never going to be exactly the same. And because of this, we are all beginning at different points on our journey, with different ideas, knowledge, beliefs, and expectations…..
…. and this means that your experiences will be unique to you (although they may overlap with others’ experiences often.)
The point I want to make is that you will have experiences that are ‘tailor-made’ for you, when and if you need to have them to help you with your journey. So please, don’t compare where you are with anyone else. Instead, you should just continue to put your effort where it will benefit you the most…. and that is into your own practice.
Some Of The Experiences I Have Had During Meditation Include:
A Beam of Light Piercing My Heart Chakra
About 20 years ago, I was lying down during the day, not really focused on meditating, but was in a deeply relaxed state. At some point, I became aware of being pinned to the bed. There was tremendous pressure coming from above me and pushing me into the mattress.
I couldn’t move It was the strangest sensation and I can’t remember if I opened my eyes and saw it, but I was intensely aware of a beam of light coming from way above me and going through my chest to somewhere below me. I had no impression of how far this light extended in either direction, and I do not even know how long the sensation lasted.
It was uncomfortable being helpless and unable to move. However, I intuitively knew that there was nothing to be afraid of. How did I know this…. I have no idea. Maybe it was because I was into crystals, chakra healing, and yoga at the time, or maybe the light carried with it a sense of well-being.
So, I may have been there, pinned down for a minute or maybe ten or twenty. Time did not exist. And the duration is not really important. I’m guessing that my heart chakra was being tuned/cleansed/activated…. or whatever was the best thing for me at the time. I slept well that night!
The day after the experience, I was feeling pain in my chest. I couldn’t take a deep breath, laugh, cough, or sneeze without feeling intense pain. So I went to the doctor to get something for the pain. Of course, I couldn’t tell him what had happened, so I simply said I had slipped over and hurt myself.
The doctor examined me and determined that I had a couple of fractured ribs over my heart! I told him that this was not possible and I just need something for the pain. However, he insisted on taping my ribs to restrict their movement.
It took a couple of weeks before I could laugh, sneeze, couch, or twist my body in any significant way again. And this is when I took the tape off….. wow, that hurt! (Mostly because the hair had grown back under the tape and it was what I assume hair removal with body wax is like)
After a month, I was pretty much back to normal. And I have to say that I didn’t notice any significant changes in my life from having this intensely physical experience…. however, it did give me a newfound respect for energy.
I also recognized that it is important for our ‘experiences’ to come to us in perfect timing. By this, I mean that we should never pursue or wish for anything that is beyond our ability to cope with… maybe I was wishing a little too hard for a quick path to spiritual growth!
The Spontaneous Release of Pain
About 18 years ago, I went on my first 10-day Vipassana Meditation retreat. I had done several 3-day retreats in the previous years and was very much looking forward to the extended period of practice.
Vipassana, for those of you who haven’t experienced it, is a form of body awareness meditation. So you sit for about 10 sessions each day and are initially guided through a systematic process of bodily awareness. There are short breaks between sessions and 2 meals are provided each day.
On the second day, for some unknown reason, when beginning a session, I decided I would sit and not move for the entire session of one hour….. my normal habit was to move when the discomfort was enough to disrupt my focus.
So I sat. Back then, I was only able to sit in half lotus. I keep my spine straight and had no cushions under my bum or supporting my legs. It started well, but I had no idea what I was in for……
After about 20 minutes, the usual discomfort began to set in. My legs began experiencing pain and numbness, and my bum and back were aching. It’s normally at about this time that I would have adjusted my posture to relieve the pain.
However, instead of moving, I just sat there and noticed the discomfort…. and the intensity grew and grew. My mind couldn’t help but be consumed by it.
My mind began insisting that I Need To Move Now! There were no other options presented…. Move Now Or Else! And I thought, Or else what? What is the worst that can happen… I’m going to ride this out until the bitter end!
I actually became amused by the drama that was playing out in my mind…. and even though I was ‘watching it’ from a distance, unfortunately, the intensity of pain in my body was still getting worse. I was observing it, experiencing it, and thinking about it, all at once….
I consoled myself because I knew that as the watcher, I am a Spiritual Being and therefore, this physical reality is just an illusion….. and this sort of understanding is bound to help me overcome the pain right?
However, the pain kept growing until it felt like my legs were in an intense inferno of flames. I couldn’t believe it…. it was incredible….
I even had to open an eye to check that the building wasn’t on fire. And it bloody well wasn’t!
Everyone else was just doing what they did during every other session…. and I’m on fire, in the most intense pain I’ve ever experienced…. and no one else had any idea what was happening to me….
….. and at the same time, a part of me was detached from it and just bearing witness to the whole experience! So I’m thinking, this is surreal, this can’t be happening…… but it continued, on and on it went….
And then….. it must have been about 50 minutes into the session, everything changed. (So that’s after 30 minutes of fighting with pain, confusion, anxiety, doubt, fear, stress, etc.)
Really gently, no big deal at all, the pain, the fire, and all the discomfort just melted away. It all dissolved so easily so that I felt like I had only just sat down…. Physically, I felt intense relief. And mentally, I was like…. WOW…. What the hell just happened…. The remaining 5 minutes of that session were a breeze.
Loss of Awareness of Everything
When I first started meditating, more than 25 years ago, I had just broken up from a 10-year relationship so was not in a great place. I would come home, tired after working hard all day, have a shower, and lay on my bed to mentally, emotionally, and physically just let go.
It wasn’t many days into this practice that I began to experience myself expanding and then contracting. It felt like waves on the ocean getting bigger and bigger and then suddenly changing direction and becoming smaller again. The building up and breaking was cyclic and each cycle would last for a couple of minutes.
Within a couple of weeks, the expansion phase just kept growing bigger and the contractions became smaller and smaller. Eventually, I don’t know if it was because I became so big or so small that I would just disappear and experience ‘nothing’…. time and space no longer existed…. I wasn’t even aware of having a mind or a body…. there was nothing, and this is of course, indescribable…
I have no idea what goes on when I’m in this state of nothingness. And invariably, when I checked the time, I would find that I was ‘gone’ for about 20 minutes. What I do know is that when I once again become aware of myself, I am always profoundly at peace and deeply relaxed. It’s blissful for want of a better word.
I sometimes still experience this nothingness state. However, now it’s without the expansion and contraction feelings, and I’m still moved by the peacefulness that accompanies it every time.
Even though I have no idea what is happening while I’m ‘gone’ or if I even go anywhere, I do believe that my body, mind, and soul are receiving some sort of deep healing during these episodes. My belief is based solely on the fantastic way I feel after experiencing these meditations.
What Lessons Did I Learn From Having These Experiences?
As I said in the beginning, we are all unique and we are all at different stages on our journey. And because of this, no one’s journey is any better or any worse than another person’s.
Where you are on your journey is just where you are. And if you can trust that you will get the information you need that is most appropriate to you at the right time, then you will. And you will also have the experiences you need, if any, at the perfect time if you will just allow things to unfold for you naturally.
It’s never a good idea to seek out an ‘experience’ just because others are having them….. because if you do manage to conjure up something that you are not mentally, emotionally, or physically prepared for, it will hit you hard and it’s going to be detrimental to your journey.
The best advice I can give to anyone is to just chill out, keep practicing without expectation (without involving your ego) and enjoy the journey…. you are being looked after and you will get what you need when you need it if you will just get out of your own way!
If you can be like a beginner every time you practice, you will have no expectations… after all, isn’t meditation about letting go of, instead of adding more pressure, beliefs, judgments, etc?
In this way, you will get to clearly experience ‘what is’ instead of ‘how you wish things to be.’