Meditation Experiences

Question

From yesterday onwards I started to meditate just for five minutes. I was sitting in a bright room. I started to meditate. I concentrated on my breathing. I could see the brightness of the light even though my eyes are closed. Then suddenly I started to concentrate on the brightness. It was like going into it but at that time I felt some pressure in my brain and all over the body. It was like something squeezing me. Then I suddenly opened my eyes. Why did this happen? Am I doing it wrong? What can I do?

—Ashik, India

Answer

Dear Ashik,

Experiences such as you described sometimes occur when a person starts a meditation practice. It is true that “seeing the Light at the point between the eyebrows” is an experience that we are taught to expect to happen, but not very often the very first time a person meditates.

I would say that the pressure you felt was most likely your own body’s (and mind) reaction to what you were experiencing rather than an actual part of the light you were seeing.

Ananda shares the meditation techniques taught by Paramhansa Yogananda (and his preceptors, Babaji, Lahiri Mahasay, and Swami Sri Yukteswar). In these practices, we usually begin with some stretching or other yoga exercises. This can help prepare the body and mind for sitting in meditation. Yogananda’s set of 39 movements, tension exercises (while standing), are called the Energization Exercises. They can be found on YouTube or taught at an Ananda center (e.g., Delhi, NCR region, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangaluru). Normal hatha yoga, too, is good preparation for meditation.

We also recommend a prayer, a chant, and some basic, slow and deep breathing BEFORE commencing watching the breath (Hong Sau), listening to AUM, chakra exercises and, of course, the central kriya technique(s) that Ananda teaches. (One doesn’t necessarily do ALL of these EACH time!)

What I am saying is this: there is a simple and natural progression of pranayam, mudra, etc that prepares one to go deeper into meditation. Skipping the preparatory exercises can sometimes trigger an unsought meditation experience for which you are not prepared.

In the event of this experience or something like it happening again, I recommend that you stop your meditation; open your eyes; becalm yourself; if necessary stand up and stretch; drink some water; and, if you feel to go back to meditation, take your and go slowly. After meditation techniques, sit in the silence for up to a quarter or third of your sitting time. At the end, say a prayer for those in need. Take the peace of meditation into your day (or, into your sleep if at the tend of the day). ok?

Blessings and joy to you,
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA