Negative Experience During Meditation


Namaste Sir/Mam, I have been practicing meditation since a month. The steps I have been following are: lying on bed, slowing down breath, suggesting my body to relax, counting backwards 20-1, and I feel falling into deeper level of mind. One day I mentally started chanting 'OM', soon the sound pervaded my whole self, and I apparently started falling into a very deep state, feeling very uncomfortable. I felt terrified, and my heartbeat rose, and I quickly forced myself out. Kindly advise me. Thanks.

—Mrinal, India


Dear Mrinal,

Our goal in meditation is to access the superconscious level of awareness, which is our window onto the Infinite. When we are in superconsciousness, we experience deep peace and calmness, which are aspects of Divine presence. There are actually three levels of consciousness that we must understand in order to point our awareness and concentration in the right direction during meditation. Our conscious mind is that level of our awareness that is engaged in the world, tunes into information from our senses, and is involved in outward activity. Our subconscious mind is our memory reservoir of all of our history, old reactions, old habits, past karma. When we are in that level of awareness, we are not engaged with the outer world or the senses. The quality of subconscious material is often associated with emotion, it can be vague, fear filled or just engaged in mental wandering into our old likes and dislikes, past experiences, and old habits of thought. Subconscious material can be dream-like and indeed our dreams during sleep usually come from the subconscious. In superconsciousness there is no fear or other upsetting emotion; there is joy, peace, and stillness, which are aspects of the Divine presence. Your description of your meditation experience sounds like it was a disturbing journey into subconsciousness and possibly tuning into some darker energies. OM is an aspect of the divine presence but in your case it sounds to me like you tuned into a lower vibration. Hearing true OM is again expansive, peaceful and joy-filled.

When we meditate, there are several important principles we use to avoid sinking into subconsciousness or tuning into negative energy.

First, we must sit up with a straight spine and relaxed body. Lying down encourages subconsciousness, dreaming, and sleep. The trick with meditation is to be deeply relaxed but also very alert and aware. Tension interferes with going deep into superconsciousness. A few hatha yoga postures before meditation can help us relax. For seating use a comfortable chair, bench or pillow which allows you to sit up straight.

The second important principle is use of a meditation technique. Technique helps us focus our concentration and direct it toward superconsciousness. Without technique, the natural habit of the mind that is not engaged in outer activity is to sink into subconsciousness. A simple technique is to focus your concentration on the flow of your breath. Observe the breath as it enters and exits the nose. Feel the coolness and warmth of the incoming and outgoing breath. Be aware of the flow of breath higher up in the nose. Do not attempt to control the breath in any way. Let it flow naturally. The breath will often become more still as your awareness turns toward superconsciousness. If your mind wanders just bring it back to concentration on the flow of breath.

Another tool is to work with the eye gaze behind closed eyes or half-open eyes. When we want to access superconsciousness our eye gaze should be gently turned upward toward a point midway between the eyebrows, the seat of superconscious awareness. The eye position associated with the conscious mind is eyes open, wanting to look around. When our mind has sunk into subconciousness our eye gaze behind closed lids will look downward. Deliberately gazing upward during meditation helps us attune to superconsciousness.

I highly recommend reading Lessons in Meditation where you will find discussion of these points in depth and additional techniques and instruction to deepen meditation. You can obtain this book from, in a variety of languages.

Meditation is an essential tool for us to find true peace in our lives. I encourage you to continue exploring meditation practice and consider your initial experience as just a valuable step in learning how to tune into authentic divine presence.

Many blessings,
Nayaswami Mukti