I have a problem with my meditation. Usually I go deep in meditation so that I stop feeling my body. It’s a very pleasant feeling, but then when I feel a desire to go even more deeper, I have a terrible fear of loosing my mind or going mad.

What should I do?


—Mira, Germany


Dear Mira,

Encountering a “wall” of fear or resistance in meditation is not unusual nor is it to be feared or regretted. It is something that can, with calm and careful persistence, and devotion and humility, be overcome. Paramhansa Yogananda put it this way: “The soul LOVES to meditate; the ego HATES to meditate!”

In this case by the term “ego” we include also the subconscious mind because in your example you (as “such,” as “ego”) WANT to go deeper but “something” stops you. That something is the subconscious mind.

Watch little children who enjoy playing “peek a boo.” When you pop your head out from behind the couch they giggle with glee. They have to learn whether or not “you” don’t exist if they can’t see you! Thus our subconscious mind is unsure whether or not when you, in meditation, are not feeling the body “you” will cease to exist. It considers the possibility as a threat to its existence.

Thus it takes time and gentle practice to overcome this fear and resistance of the subconscious mind. It’s both natural AND false because the soul or spirit (as consciousness) is by definition transcendent of the body and the physical plane. But one has to transit a narrow passageway very carefully and with repeated practice to exit the body and yet remain conscious. This is essentially what happens at death and what happens in near-death experiences when a person returns to the body. Thus it is not easy to do.

More likely, however, and to be fully clear, long before one’s consciousness exits the body is the simpler process of the higher states of meditation that take place after “pratyahara” (shutting down of the senses). We do this every night when we sleep but in sleep we “fall” into a subconscious state. Whereas in meditation we remain conscious and, indeed, begin to enter a super-conscious state.

Whichever may be the case for you, my suggestion is to not give it much attention. Do not seek meditation experiences for their own sake. This is a trap and a potential source of pride. Simply continue your meditations. If you approach this “wall,” pause and pray to God and the Masters to show you the “way.” Offer yourself humbly into the guiding “light” of superconsciousness. You CANNOT or should not go further on will power alone. It is both spiritually and psychologically dangerous to do so (and generally impossible for most people anyway).

There comes a point in our journey to the Self that we must surrender to a higher power and seek to go further as an act of pure self-offering (surrender). Because such realms are incomprehensibly vast, one who is sincere begins to appreciate the need for a guide, or guru. The possibilities of self-delusion or worse are greater than we can speak of here. These realms are not to be trifled with. Jesus taught us: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

May your journey bring you swiftly to Self-realization,

Blessings always,

Nayaswami Hriman