Head Lifting in Meditation


I began meditation at the end of summer. Out of the experience so far is that while I meditate my head lifts up. It lifts slowly with each breath, and high enough where the back of my neck hurts. Should this happen, and will this pain pass? I try to push through but it gets to a point where I can't take it. I have done this with my back against the wall to prevent my head lifting so far but it pushes my spine and upper torso forward. Am I doing something wrong here? Advice is appreciated.


—jack, USA


Dear Jack,

Congratulations on starting your meditation practice. I don’t know what technique you’re practicing, but the head-lifting phenomenon is not at all rare among new practitioners – and sometimes experienced practitioners as well.

Usually, it stems from the uplifted position of the eyes: you might be lifting them at too sharp an upward angle, or you might be trying to see something with the physical eyes (we’re all accustomed to seeing with the physical eyes, after all).

So keep in mind that, with an Ananda meditation technique, your eyes should be lifted only slightly above the horizon line, as though looking toward a distant mountaintop. Then, try to disconnect what the eyes are doing from the urge to see something. Simply park the eyes in the slightly uplifted position, just as you would park your car and go into the supermarket, without continuing to think about the car. So don’t try to see anything with your physical eyes. If you eventually see the spiritual eye, that’s great: it will be in the direction of that distant mountaintop. But don’t try to see it with the physical eyes, because it’s it will be an inner perception, whereas the physical eyes are involved with outer perception only.

Here’s a tip that may help you: think of your eyes as existing only in the top half of the eye sockets. That will naturally turn your eyes upward and help bring your awareness to the point between the eyebrows, without the suggestion of trying to see something.

Blessings on your practice,