Meditation Experiences: Questions about Meditating
I recently received the following question about meditation as this questioner is wondering what is normal and what can be expected while practicing meditation:
"My husband is buddhist and we sometimes practice meditation, it really helps me to focus later, but my question is when you meditate is it normal to feel like your breath has dissappeared? I also feel like my body is levitated, or floating off of the bed, is that normal? What does that mean? Could it possibly mean that I'm doing it wrong? Please write me back, ever since I've had these experiences I've had a very hard time meditating.
These aren't uncommon experiences, though they certainly may be startling when they first occur.
In my experience, these phenomena are manifestations of a certain type of detachment, an out-of-body experience. As far as 'doing it wrong', I don't care for that sort of judgement in meditation practice. The meditative experience is one which puts the individual through progressive changes.
We may evolve through meditation, experiencing different states of consciousness and perceiving a variety of phenomena. The type of detachment described above is a typical 'stage' of experience in the cycle.
The solution to all the various things that can go on in meditation is to continue to meditate. We can liken the meditative consciousness to the layers of an onion. As we continue to meditate, our consciousness begins to shed previously imprinted behavior patterns, attitudes, images and systems of thought. We are aiming for the goal of simply being there, without encumbrances.
This is a challenge, since the material world is an incredible distraction. It appears to be based on cause and effect, action and reaction Newtonian physics. Our continued participation in the world can cause us to confuse our spiritual selves with the objects around us. We come to believe that we must react to every stimulus, to be the effect of every cause, just as objects do.
Meditation experience teaches us the fallacy of this belief. By training the mind to not react to every little thing (no matter how interesting) we learn that we can exist in a motionless state, with full consciousness. We can be alert and aware, without being dragged around by every stray thought. We can focus at will, or serenely allow ourselves to experience the flow of life. Perhaps most importantly, it is vividly demonstrated through meditation that we are not part of the physical universe, but that it is part of us. We are not material, but spiritual.
Whatever may come up in meditation, the answer to meditation questions is always to continue. There is no way you can lose by doing so.