Ask Ananda’s Experts
Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More

Category: Meditation

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Emma S
USA

Question

I have been meditating for about 6 months now and I love love it. However, I have not told anyone and am afraid to because a lot of people make fun of meditation. Also, I have a really hard time meditating on my own without a guided mediation. I can’t get myself to calm down or my mind to shut up on my own. I also need motivation to meditate. I just want inner calmness. Any support that you could give at all would be so much appreciated! Thanks so much in advance. Love and peace to all!

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Emma,

So glad to know that you love to meditate! That’s half the battle — never let go of that love and feed it in any way you can.

Don’t worry about not telling anyone that you meditate. You are right that most people wouldn’t understand anyway. But it is hard to do things in a vacuum, so it might be good to find other meditators in your area that would "speak the same language" so to speak — look at Find Ananda Near You for details. Being around other people who meditate and meditating with them as often as possible is a huge help. If you live in an area where this is impossible (or even if you don’t) I’d strongly advise you to join our online Ananda Virtual Community. On-line group meditations may be a big help to you also!

Guided meditations can be very helpful, especially in the beginning of your meditative life. But here is an important point to remember. Meditation comes in two parts: the "getting there" and the "being there." Every meditation should have elements of both.

Getting there involves all the technique you use to help you get into deep, silent, sitting meditation. Guided meditation can be a part of getting there. But always leave time for being there, that is, sitting silently and being as calm and inward as possible. Even if you feel restless, do it anyway, for at least five minutes. It will get easier as time goes on. But to neglect the "being there" part of meditation is like fixing a delicious meal, but not taking time to eat it. What is the "there" part of meditation?" Superconscious bliss and oneness with God and with all that is. You'll definitely recognize it when it happens.

Much of meditation involves creating good habits. Meditate at the same time, same place, every day without fail, even if it’s only for five to ten minutes. Build up the length of time as you feel to. It’s infinitely better to meditate just a little bit, than not at all.

If you fail to meditate on any one or more days (it happens to everybody), at least notice that your daily life is affected — life is so much better when you meditate than when you don’t even try! Noticing this is an excellent motivator!

God watches the intentions of our hearts and will know that we are trying — and thus will offer us the grace to keep going, no matter what. Calming the restless mind is what we all struggle with. Don’t say you can’t. Just say you have not yet succeeded.

Having the right techniques of meditation (watching the breath, a mantra, etc.) are a huge help. If you don’t know these techniques yet, be sure to learn them in our online Learn to Meditate course as soon as possible.

Finally, please remember that you already have inner calmness. It’s just a process of learning to find where it is within you. Blessings and joy to you always!

ruchit
india

Question

thing is when i meditate first thing i experience is when i am calm and close eyes i notice some colors floating around me such as purple,red and white and sometime it feel like i suddenly got shot i.e travelling into white light what is it??

also sometime when i finish meditating i feel electrical sensations on some body part like those part are getting shocked or something buzzing under its skin what is it??

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Ruchit,

Since I do not have these experiences myself I can only guide you with some thoughts I have heard from my teacher, Swami Kriyananda. What you are describing seems to me to be spurts of Kundalini energy rising from the base of your spine (the coccyx center or Muladhara Chakra). There are six centers in the spine that act as transformers, so to speak, for the main energy of Kundalini that travels upward to the brain or to the Spiritual Eye, the center at the point between the eyebrows.

Swamiji continues to say that Kundalini, the serpent power, is man’s greatest single key to enlightenment. Only from arousing this force from its sleep state at the base of the spine from its resistance to divine truth can the soul hope to reunite itself with the spirit.

There is much written about Kunalini and the chakras. You can read Swami Kriyananda’s words in The Art and Science of Raja Yoga and Chakras for Starters books published in India by Ananda. The meditation technique that Yogananda has given us is called, Kriya. This technique gently helps to raise the Kundalini energy. Raising this power too quickly and strongly can be harmful.

Possibly you are experiencing these spurts of energy from the Kundalini. What you want to experience, however, is the full flow which can come with proper meditation techniques, such as Kriya. You can become engrossed in the spurts (the beautiful colors, etc.), but they will not take you to your goal. It is best when in meditation, in the calm state, when feeling this energy, to focus your attention at the Spiritual Eye, the Ajna Chakra. Feel that the energy is going there. Keep your concentration strong at this center. Eventually these spurts will calm down and will flow naturally upward.

Joy to you, Seva

ruchit
india

Question

i’m meditating at night and concentrating on god within myself and i don’t sleep so will this not getting sleep affect me in any way??

also sometime i feel tingling sensation on my forehead point like getting pulled or some ants moving on that point what is it?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Friend,

Meditation will sometimes cause sleeplessness or reduce one’s need for sleep, but sleeplessness is also very common and can be caused by many other factors. The first and most important thing is whether your lack of sleep is causing problems in your life: doing your work during day is an obvious one; mood swings, fatigue, sleepiness, irritability and similar symptoms usually occur as well.

If, therefore, lack of sleep is causing problems (as I assume it is, or, soon will), you should adjust the time during the day when you meditate. Perhaps meditate earlier in the evening rather than just before bed. You might also have your longer meditation in the morning rather than late at night. It is important to have balance in your life that allows you to sustain your meditation practices over the years. Krishna in Bhagavad Gita says that yoga is not for those who sleep too much or sleep too little. The balanced, middle path is the way to find God.

As to the other symptom of — tingling in the forehead — that does indeed happen sometimes as a result of concentration at the point between the eyebrows. Of course, there can be other, natural causes as well. Unless it is very bothersome, I wouldn’t be concerned. If helpful, rub your forehead when it occurs; or, simply ignore it. Beyond that I would not ascribe any particular spiritual meaning to that phenomenon.

Ok?

Blessings to you,

Nayaswami Hriman

Henric Niles
Netherlands

Question

Yesterday I meditated and saw Europe from above, and I could see dark and gray energy covering it. From where I was I could see light energy pushing it away. Just before I almost fainted I saw a turquoise dragon with the golden mustache thing that Chinese dragons have. It had yellow eyes with a red iris. It came towards me, and it felt like it went through me. After I was just exhausted. What I saw, what does it mean? I have to say that I saw the dragon before multiple times while meditating.

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Henric, Thank you for writing us all the way from the Netherlands! Blessings to you!

Regarding visions in meditation: Just as is true in trying to analyze nightly dreams, it is not always necessary or even helpful to do so, unless it feels especially important to you for some reason. In any case, it is your vision or dream and no one can determine what it means better than you can.

Here’s one good way to do that for yourself. Just before your next meditation, write down the most striking elements of your vision. In this case, I’d say that would be the dark, gray energy covering Europe and the dragon. Pray for guidance, then set your list aside and try hard to forget it completely while you quiet your mind, watch your breath, and do whatever meditation techniques you practice ordinarily.

At the close of your meditation, ask again (without attachment or trying to figure it out on your own) what these symbols mean for you. Sit quietly and wait for the answers to come into your mind. If they don’t come immediately, then prayerfully wait a while — even for a few days or weeks, if necessary — don’t be impatient. Almost always, the true answers will be revealed to you at some point — and you'll know without question that they are true —  if you humbly and quietly keep asking for divine guidance. And remember that often the symbols represent a part of your inner being, rather than representing something or someone outside yourself.

Ricardo
Brazil

Question

Sitting in Half Lotus Position at the end of hong-sau technique, when I exhaled and held the breath as much as is comfortable, something strange happened. I did not feel the need to breathe again and the top of my body began to spin counter clockwise faster and faster. I was scared and went back to breathe forcefully. I meditate using the SRF techniques for more than two years and is the first time this happens. I ask, is it normal? and what should I do? Should I keep breathlessness and allow the spin?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Ricardo,

An experience such as you had is a very good thing. It is not unique, but as your past experience bears out, neither is it ordinary. The spinning was likely the result of your Kundalini energy beginning to rise, which needs to happen in order for one to grow spiritually. Kundalini rising should be a pleasant, enjoyable experience, not a scary one. However, even a positive thing can be a bit scary if it is extremely unfamiliar.

Swami Kriyananda recommended that, in a case such as this, you simply try to keep the body still so the experience stays as inward as possible, rather than getting translated into so much outward movement that it takes you out of the experience.

One more thing: Do not force the breath to stay out after you exhale at the end of Hong-Sau practice. Let it stay out as long as it wants to, but not longer. True breathlessness will happen on its own, not by force.

Best wishes for many more deep meditations.

Blessings,

Gyandev

dodge
usa

Question

Hi, a couple days ago I had quite the experience. Usually before going to sleep I meditate, while I was doing this I started to feel the beginning stages of the "out of body". I told myself that I was just too tired and wanted to go to sleep, then I had a ray of golden light surround mainly my head and golden orbs were flying in to my head and with each orb I can feel a rush of energy go through my spine. What does this mean?

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Dodge,

These types of experiences indicate that you are likely tuning into the subtle astral realms of light and energy.

As we go deeper in our awareness, often the inner obstacles are released, which then allow these experiences to come to us. Enjoy them as gifts from the divine, but then release them back into the divine. Don’t cling to them. Rather, offer yourself into the center of whatever experience is coming to you. Give yourself more completely to God and then the right results will happen in the best possible way in your life.

Blessings,

Nayaswami Pranaba

Siddharth Patel
India

Question

Is there anything wrong for a beginner to worship 'OM' as a form of God? I am a beginner. I am not interested in developing devotion towards any particular physical form of God. I am interested in Jnana Yoga rather than Bhakti Yoga. So is it alright to worship OM as a form of God by a beginner?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

AUM is wonderful, the sound of the creation of the universe! But, as a beginner, you might want to approach meditation and the spiritual teachings with more of a sense of exploration. Otherwise you are determining from your beginning understanding of them what they have to offer you. It would be like coming to a professional to learn to play the game of tennis, but determining how you want to play before you even know much about it.

In the beginning of my own spiritual life and meditation practice, I also was drawn (by my mind and intellect) to a more gyana (also spelled "jnana") type of approach. But it was so dry and abstract that I didn’t really engage seriously in the practices. It wasn’t until I found a more balanced teaching that things began to fall into place. Without this I would have given up the practices completely — yet again.

Paramhansa Yogananda’s guru, Sri Yukteswar, who was considered a Gyanavatar (incarnation of gyana) during his lifetime, said that you cannot take one step along the spiritual path without developing the heart’s natural love. It’s not a matter of bhakti or gyana, it’s a matter of doing what works. And it’s not a matter of what we "worship," but of what we experience and become. So you don’t so much want to worship AUM, as to "become" AUM. It’s not enough to hear the sound of AUM. You need to eventually, through your deepening meditation practice, become one with it.

On the path of yoga, what matters most is your own direct experience in meditation. To gain this direct experience you have to commit to practicing, with devotion, the meditation techniques that will give this to you. Without having this, the ideas we have about spirituality, and how we relate to it, are only that — interesting ideas.

The meditation techniques that Ananda offers, based on Paramhansa Yogananda teachings, are very good for doing this. You might want to explore them through our Ananda Centers in India. You can find out more about this at the Ananda Sangha India website.

I hope these thoughts will be helpful for you, and I wish you many blessings in your practices.

Nayaswami Parvati

Mark
Germany

Question

Hello, thank you for brilliant answer.Just a few very important questions for me. When i try to put my concentration on spiritual eye, i feel tension on my forehead and cant mentally find that point between the eyebrows, what wrong im doing? Im new in meditation, does only Hong-sau for the first months is ok? How can i concentrate on spiritual eye, breathing, mantra and looking upward at the same time?It seems too hard. When i say mantra but dont understand the meaning of thewords its ok?Thanks

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Mark,

When you experience tension on your forehead while gazing at the spiritual eye, it usually a result of either trying to position the eyes awkwardly, or a long-time habit of squeezing your eyebrows together when you try to concentrate.

When you close your eyes, turn your eyes slightly upward, as if looking at a peak of a mountain in the distance, slightly above the horizon level. This should not involve any strain. Feel as if your eyes are resting in this upward position, not as if you’re trying to look into the distance.

Here is how to look slightly upward with no strain:

Sit up right, and extend right arm forward, and make a fist with the hand. Bring thumb up, and raise arm 2"-3" above the horizon. Gaze at your thumbnail, then close your eyes and visualize that thumbnail. Bring arm down. Your gaze should be out and up about arm’s length.

When you first start to practice the Hong-Sau technique, it takes time to get used to doing all parts of the technique (just like all the different things you have to do when driving a car), but gradually it becomes natural and easy. Be patient.

The mantra Hong-Sau means: I am Spirit. The mantra has power in it, and it has impact on your energy. You don’t need to focus on the meaning of the words; it’s the vibration of the mantra that will help you. Just keep practicing it.

Please visit this page for more information about meditation.

Blessings,

Diksha

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