Strange Sensations When Meditating

Question

I meditated properly for the first time the other day and the strangest sensation came over me. Suddenly I couldn’t feel my body and I couldn’t feel myself breathing anymore. I couldn’t hear the teacher or anyone around me. The only thing I could see and feel was my thoughts but I felt like I was floating miles above the earth. I saw grey clouds and felt very afraid. I thought I was going to lose consciousness because I was not breathing. What was that?

—Sarah Ort, United States

Answer

Dear Sarah,We are very glad to hear of your meditation efforts. The experiences you have described (not feeling your body or breathing, and so on), is not at all unusual. In a way, they are a very good thing to have happened—they let you know that something really is happening and what the future possibilities may be for you, as you continue meditating.

Naturally, if you didn’t know ahead of time that these things can and do happen for those who meditate, it might cause you to be fearful. There really is nothing to fear at all! When one’s breath slows down or even stops completely as a part of meditation, it helps your mind to slow down, too, and cease its habit of constant and restless thinking. You can learn to enjoy this state and receive an incredible sense of inner peace.

Most likely, you will never fully lose consciousness, but rather you eventually will rise into a state of “superconsciousness,” which is very blissful and never dangerous in any way!

One thing which would be very important for you always to add into your meditation practice, if you are not already doing so, would be to pray for help and guidance from God and your Guru (if you have one) at the beginning of your meditations.

You mentioned a teacher, but not if you are following any specific meditation instructions or spiritual path. If not, I strongly suggest that you consider doing that. You can learn all about meditation and how to do it through our website www.ananda.org and more specifically through our online Ananda Course in Meditation. It would be good for you to start this process as soon as possible — because it is obvious that you have great potential as a person who can meditate very deeply! We can offer you lots of personal help and many good suggestions all the way along as you continue in your meditation practices.

Blessings and joy to you!