Question about energetic activity while meditating

With great concentration comes… interesting phenomena.  I’m sure this isn’t common to all meditators, because many I’ve spoken to (most, actually) give me a kind of curious response when I bring it up, but it’s very common in my sitting and I have run into a few people who also have these experiences and I want to know more about it.

When sitting, and typically only once a steady concentration has been achieved, I can start to feel strange phenomena in my body.  The phenomena feels like it is body sensation, but unusual patterns of body sensation. I often feel pressures that seem to move parts of my anatomy, when in reality, no such motion is happening. Sometimes I feel sensations that suggest items are moving *through* me – under my skin, through my skull, or opening my ribcage, for instance.  Sometimes small and other times quite large. I have come to categorize these as something happening in my “energy body”, not knowing a better way to classify them.

The pressures move slowly, and aren’t painful, but they are exceedingly strange. If I open my eyes suddenly or move my body or otherwise lose concentration, often the sensations disappear completely.  I truly feel that if someone were looking at me during one of these events, they would see what I am feeling, but I know this isn’t the case.   For instance, I’ve had the feeling my jaw was opening very wide.. so wide that my head was tilted back at an extreme angle and my mouth was wide open. If I “peek” to see if I’m staring at the ceiling, I’m not.  I’m sitting in normal posture. The checking makes the sensation disappear.

I’ve had the sense that a hole had been created between my ribs in my back and that the hole was quite large, allowing for some sort of energetic exchange in my chest.. this happened at my most recent retreat and left me feeling as if my insides were spacious and light for about a week.  While I don’t think the person behind me would have actually seen a hole in my back.. I felt at the time as if they would have.. and certainly SOMETHING happened!

Other experiences include: extreme facial distortion, downward pressure on the nose, lifting sensations on my palette (in my mouth), large blocks (like a loaf of bread) moving through my chest (which happened on retreat just after my mother passed away), and other sensations often in my head (ie. my skull).

The only teacher to address this directly was Shinzen Young. He said the sensations were a form of Kriyas, an energy some cultivate in Yoga practice, and that the energies were “cleansing” my body/mind.  Hearing this was good, and helped avoid any fear that might arise during these events. I know that the first rule about anything that occurs during meditation is to treat it with kind attention and equanimity, don’t get attached to it or avoid it. I know that’s the basic instruction, but I feel some understanding may be helpful. I feel these occurrences are important to my practice because they show up when my practice is strong and they seem to “operate on me” while I’m on the cushion. In short, I want to know more.

Does this happen to others? Will anyone share?

Can any teachers shed light on these occurrences?  Is there a way to work with them (or just observe as stated above)?

Thank you to anyone who can shed some light on this.

52 thoughts on “Question about energetic activity while meditating

  1. I am familiar with everything in this post, the chest sensations came for the first time a month ago, so it is what I feel first when I am tapping into deep meditation, within the past couple of weeks for the first time I started experiencing the jaw sensation you mentioned, and the exact same way (feel like your leaning your head back but you weren’t) right before commenting in this post, glad to see others feel the same way I do when meditating and cool to know I have energy flowing now!

    • I feel like body starting to paralise…iy starts from the legs then moving to the whole body. When this type of paralised feeling rule the who body i could feel my soul in my forehead.

  2. Troy – Thanks for your comment. This is clearly a rare but distinct meditative experience that deserves some attention. I’m always happy to hear that there are others who understand this and have had similar experiences.

    It’s also great to get feedback via the blog – it’s a new creative channel for me and it helps me explore the practice in a different way. I’m happy you found it and honored that you shared your experience here, too. Come on back from time to time and feel free to add comments when something resonates!

  3. My first experience was about three years ago when I was lying on my back on the sofa and started to slow things down. I crossed my hands and held them on my stomach and closed my eyes. After a moment the most weird thing started to happen. My eyes started to roll back and my mouth opened and (this might seem stange but here goes) I concentrated all of “me” or at least my brain into a single point and was able to tranfer that point into my crossed hands. It felt that some kind of passage opened, an believe it or not, I heard a voice saying “kill her”. I have a daughter who wasn’t with me tht evening and a girlfriend who I’m not with any more. Well, that was then. Now, many years later, today, a similar phenomenom happened. I was lying on the be on my back with my hands crossed. I actually was a little upset because I just earlier watched a movie about the universe being a simulation and started thinking about things and I asked for some knowledge and that I could see a little bit how everything works. Well, pretty similar things this time also, but some differences; my right eye started to move towards the middle and at the same time my eyes started to shut. I had had my mouth closed some time, so I noticed when it opened when I heard the litte sound when one’s mouth openes due to dry lips. Slowly my head started to go backwards again but then something violent happened. My mouth opened realle, really fast so that my jaw bones started hurting and my head was in a really unnormal position, way, way back. I opened my eyes, thinking I’d be somewhere else, but I was still in my room. There I was about 30 seconds or so and all the time I noticed some kind of gradual change (taking me into some kind of “mode”) but I just ha to stop the process. I was way to afraid of what was to happen next. After all, there are things we cannot control. This really freaked me out. If you want to, please send me e-mail

    • Same things happened to me…eyes rolling,some force pulling our head back,jaw movements,toungue moments,sometimes my legs and hands also started moving..but i felt its harmful…so i left meditation…but now i am very happy..from my experience i learned one point that meditation may beneficial or harmful no one can decide..based on own experience only we can realize

  4. http://www.kagyu.org/ktd/densal/archives/1802/mingyurprt3.php

    Here it is said NOT to let one’s head lean back and NOT to allow one’s mouth to open. To me it come automatically, I thought that trying to prevent it would get me distracted. Btw. I forgot everything about good/bad forces and thought about this purely about energi, and was able to go through the whole thing, and I got it on tape. It was pretty scary to watch, and it took longer than I remembered. I would be glad to share this with someone who has shared the same experience and is as amateur as I am. Send me e-mail and let’s share our experiences (even though probably nobody has them on tape :-) ) patrik1488@gmail.com

    • Patrik –

      Thanks for your comments. Your spontaneous experiences have some similarity to the ones I was describing, but I do have some responses I’d like to share. First, I’d like to say that I have no experience with “voices” coming to me beyond the normal stream of mental thoughts. When I have thoughts, and have the mindfulness to know them as thoughts, I like to acknowledge them and let them go. If the thoughts are scary or angry or full of desire, it may be useful to track the corresponding body sensations that arise around the thoughts as well. It sounds like the experience you had may or may not have fit into this category of mental thinking. If not, I’m entirely unqualified to address them.

      As for the link you provided regarding the advice against letting your head fall back and mouth open, as I read that it is referring to the physical body and not an experience of the energy body. They are literally talking about good posture with a straight spine – and keeping one’s head ‘level’ and not tilting it back. When I was discussing the experience of my head going back and mouth opening wide — that was an experience on the energy level, but did not seem to have a corresponding physical component (i.e. my head was level, but FELT as if it was extremely tilted). You also seem to suggest that you have VIDEO proof evidence of something occurring. I don’t know what to make of that. It suggests that the experience you’ve had is different that what I’ve experienced, but the possible experiences are unlimited — so your experience is no less valid than mine.

      I’d like to keep our communication within this forum. Please feel free to respond to this – or any other post. I’ll try to respond as well as quickly as I’m able. I haven’t found many other discussions of this type online – so I think it’s valuable for others who may be interested to be able to read all of our comments and see what resonates with them.

      Peace, Patrik.
      Dw

    • My eyes roll back and start fluttering to when I meditate and my throat feels as if some one is choking me and I can’t breath anymore I am still a begginer so im not that experienced but this is not a good sign right?

      • Tiananmen –

        Working with things as they come up and in skillful ways is part of the path. I wouldn’t take it as a good sign or bad sign, necessarily. That would be assigning some meaning to the experience and that may lead you in some direction or other or get you to abandon the practice without giving it a chance.

        The Buddha talked about suffering and freedom from suffering, and while some intense experiences can come up while sitting, it’s not meant to MAKE you suffer. Developing equanimity with unpleasant sensations is good, but especially at this early stage in your practice, it isn’t necessary to force yourself to endure anything — you’re just trying to slow down and pay attention to breathing (or whatever your focus is). You’re just trying to connect with the present moment – over and over.

        My suggestion is to meditate with your eyes open for a while. This is very common in Zen meditation and I think it will be useful for a few reasons. First, it will assure you that you are not being choked. You’re just sitting still by yourself. You’re just sitting on a cushion and paying attention. Sometimes if my sitting practice gets too intense in one way or another, I’ll open my eyes to get a sense of the room and ground myself in the reality of what is actually going on – sitting still. Second, it will let you know if your head is actually tilting — and let you bring it back to neutral if it does. If the tilting is just an illusion (as I’ve described) it won’t likely happen if your eyes are open.

        I find that when I open my eyes, I get a different sense of things and my imagination is a little quieter. It may take a little longer, but my concentration can still build if I just un-focus my eyes, keep them still and stay with my breath.

        Come back and let me know how that goes (if you decide to give it a try).

    • I had this happen last night.. uncontrollable opening of my jaw wide open during my meditation and a lot of energy movement in and around me, including my teeth.

      • Bianca,
        From the responses I’ve gotten on this site, this type of experience seems to be a common one among people who are having these energetic experiences. I’m going to be posting more about this. I have some new insight as to what these “energetic experiences” are. Check back with the blog and please stay in the conversation!

      • I thought I was the only one who had this experience and that I was doing it myself subconsciously. What happens to me is that every now and then while meditating, I feel my mouth slowly start to open. Sometimes it opens very wide and usually this is followed by sensations that that something like a tube is inserted into my mouth and energy flows through the tube, sometimes into my cheeks and sometimes into my teeth. Usually I know it is about to happen because I experience a quick short inhalation of air into my lungs. It happened today after I meditated on repairing my DNA and increasing my personal vibration. My experiences are not unpleasant, they are more like psychic dental work. I have experienced this more than ten times in the past couple of years.

        • Rhonda – Thank you for sharing your experiences. I hope you stay in touch with the blog and continue to share if these sensations continue to arise in your practice. I find it fascinating that so many people have had similar experiences and I think what your comment adds is that you were explicitly open to having some ‘work done’ on yourself… or seeking a vibrational change when this occurred. Isn’t it interesting that something so intense can happen and yet it’s not unpleasant? I also feel like I’m having some kind of adjustment in my energy body when these things occur. I’m going to be writing a post on Piti, which is an energetic experience and one of the Jhana factors. I hope you come back to read it!

        • Hi Ronda,

          I have had the same experience recently… On the mouth opening spontaneously… It felt like a force of energy in my mouth, causing it to slowly open wide.

          Prior, I have different kind of sensations such as body twitch, head being ‘pull’ back, body moving in all directions ( I sit in half lotus meditation posture) and having a feeling of weightlessness… Sometimes I see colored energy in mind’s eye, very rarely I hear or see vision, only few rare occasions…

          The mouth thing is very new ‘phenomeon’ to me, so I was searching for some answer when I chance upon this discussion.

        • I am new to meditation. I meditate lying down. I feel I am pretty good at not following thoughts but I just acknowledge that they are there and let them go, I have had a couple of things happen to me recently and wasn’t sure what to make of them. I can be very calm and present and nothing strange happens until i look up (with my eyes closed). I start to see colors swirling and a center point of light. my eyes start fluttering. My mouth is closed and I am breathing through my nose, then very slowly my mouth start to open, and it opens wider than you would normally open your mouth. It almost felt like someone else was opening it for me. Also 2 times after my mouth was open my tongue would raise to the roof of my mouth (which felt unnatural when I did that on purpose after meditation to see what it felt like). I start to feel a vibration starting at my feet traveling up my legs (never went high than my legs), I would then feel my legs start to tighten and my toes start to point downwards. I wasn’t sure if these movements were just in my mind or real, but I came out of meditiation and my legs released back and my mouth was open with my tongue on the roof of my mouth, which felt awkward. Just a side note, I had never read anything about this happening before this happened to me, so I don’t think I had a subconcious knowing of this kind of thing.

          • I think my experiences are way different and powerful than all of you discussed, but I did had all the similar experiences you had. The only thing no-one talk is holding the energy by one hand and walking around the room. The energy mostly exits from my right hand and pulls it upward and I get a very hard and strong sqeez in the process. In addition, after every meditation I feel scared and wanted to scream so load. Anyone experienced?

          • Nazari –

            If you are scared by the experiences you are having, you might consider talking to someone about it. Perhaps a teacher would be able to guide you. I’m not very clear about your experience of “walking around the room” with the energy squeezing your hand. Is this something that’s happening to you during meditation practice? Typically, I would trust whatever comes up and know that some kind of release is happening, but if there is fear involved, then it’s worth talking to a teacher. The process may be intense, but being scared could be a sign that you need to make some adjustments to your practice.

  5. I have been meditating for a month, and I have experienced some of the feelings mentioned by many people here. But today when I was meditating I had an entirely different sensations through my body. When I started initially, I felt like an ant is moving over my skin of the right hand. I tried to find it out by touching, but I couldn’t. The feeling then disappeared. Then I had the same feeling on various parts of my body, like my right neck and left part of the face. Initially many times I tried to find out the ant it was so real. But every time I couldn’t find the aunt. Then as time passed I realized it is just the sensation and when it came again I just observed it. The feeling got really intense when I didn’t try to avoid it. When the same sensation occurred on my right part of the neck, it got so intense that my right neck got stuck. I felt that I can’t move it, it got locked completely. After some time the feeling disappeared and the same sensations started moving on my left part of the face like again an ant was travelling on my face and then it got intense similar to that happened to my neck and after some time it disappeared. It was really strange. Can anyone help me out here on this? has anyone had the same feeling and glad to share with me? I read all the comments above and it was helpful. Thank you for this blog.

    • Abhijit –

      Thanks for commenting. I understand the “phantom ant” sensation. I’ll give you my thoughts on it.

      First, and most important was that this is just another phenomena. It arose and passed away. You said yourself that you “realized it is just the sensation and when it came again I just observed it.” This is just what you want to do. Your other observation, that “after some time the feeling disappeared…”, is a direct experience of impermanence. It means you stuck with it long enough to learn something very important, and very directly through your own experience. All things that arise, pass.

      The sitting practice lets us feel things very precisely. Mindfulness, when it is strong, can magnify experiences and make them very intense — even tiny experiences like tingles on the skin or hair growing or whatever. Typically, we either ignore these sensations or we unconsciously rub our arm or brush our skin with our hand and the sensation goes away. In meditation, we allow these sensations to persist and we have enough awareness and focus to experience them quite vividly. This is very normal.

      The experience of the tingle, by itself is just another phenomena, as I mentioned, but looking more closely at what happened you’ll notice that the sense experience was followed by a perception; your mind created a story about the sensation: The Ant! Once the perception of the ant arose, it became the basis for a whole string of thoughts and images and even secondary sensations (the tight neck). Now you have a lot going on: the sensation, the perception, the bodily reaction and the mental fabrications!! See how quickly all of that happens? It’s hard to track it all in real time, but it’s helpful to reflect on it afterwards (now).

      Next time it happens, see if you can be “open to what is”. Simply feel the sensations. Be open to experiencing the phenomena as they are.. ant or no ant. Let it get intense. Let it arise and spread, let it change, let it be, let it subside. See if you can have equanimity with whatever experience arises. This is a very powerful practice. It will serve you well. If you are feeling particularly mindful and open, you can even return to your breathing meditation (or whatever meditation focus you were using) and let the “ant” be in the background. Focusing on something subtle while something intense is present is a very powerful practice, too.

      Try it out and let me know how it goes!

  6. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I’ve done some extensive search on what I’m about to describe, but still not able to find an explanation. I’ve been meditating for a while now and have no problem “going really deep” in a few minutes. So the last time I meditated, I knew I went to a very deep state…then my husband opened the door of the room that I was meditating in just to observe me. I heard someone opening the door but suddenly started breathing short, rapid breaths followed by a pause and then continued. This scared my husband and he approached me to “wake” me from my state. Now, I could hear his gentle voice calling my name but could not respond…instead the short, rapid breathings continued. Then he proceeded to touch my hand to gently stroke it. That is when I felt like I was in a trance and could not maintain an erect spine while sitting on the chair. I was “drawn” towards his abdomen (as he was standing beside me with my left hand in his palms). I felt like his abdomen was a magnet strongly attracting my forehead. At times I lost control and consciousness (going in and out of consciousness) but strangely enough being FULLY AWARE of the entire event! This whole happening scared my husband and I and we still don’t know what really happened!

    • Gowri –

      Thank you for sharing your experience as well. I have a few thoughts and one possible resource for you, but first, I have to be clear that I’m not a certified teacher or professional in either meditation, or in a health related field, so take this as a friendly conversation with a fellow meditator.

      I’d be curious what kind of meditation you are doing. There are many kinds of meditation, of course, including various concentration practices (which can also be called ‘absorption’ practices, insight practices such as vipassana, visualization practices, mantra practices..and the list goes on and on. I know from your description that you were self-reporting a very “deep” state, a change in breathing, some loss of control, a loss of consciousness while maintaining awareness, a feeling of being pulled in a direction and later, some fear arising in connection with not knowing what happened. I can’t say I can give you a definitive label for what happened during that session and my guess is that if you asked 10 different teachers, you’d get 10 different answers.

      A skillful teacher would likely guide you according to the tradition they taught (and the tradition you were learning from them in seeking their council). A zen teacher, for instance, might see such an episode as irrelevant to the path of liberation and tell you to ignore it. A vipassana teacher might suggest doing a metta practice to bring ease to the fear that arose, or question you to see if these experiences happen regularly and really get into the details of the experience itself, noting that it is impermanent, not self and should be regarded as a passing phenomena. A tibetan teacher may harness the depth of your concentration and welcome the arising of an experience that seems to be somewhere between the typical waking experience and the liberation of the mind — an experience from the “sambhogakaya” layer of reality.

      From my perspective, the loss of control and arising of fear suggests that there is an imbalance in the practice. Concentration and mindfulness need to be balanced by appropriate energy, wisdom and loving-kindness. Meditation can produce strong experiences, as you know. Working with them skillfully is important. You may never really find a definitive explanation for what happened during your sit, but my hope is that you don’t let it de-rail your practice. I hope you use it as a springboard to seek out a teacher, explore various traditions, discover how you can balance your “deep” meditations with Metta (loving-kindness) practices, and stay open to the benefits your current practice has brought you.

      One teacher you may ask (who introduced me to the concept of Sambhogakaya) is Shinzen Young: http://shinzenyoung.blogspot.com
      You could read this and watch the embedded clip: http://www.bodhipaksa.com/archives/the-dark-side-of-meditation You could even try to contact Willoughby Britton, who’s studied strange phenomena in meditation.

      I hope this was helpful. I’d love it if you came back at some point to let me know how it’s going.

      • Dw, thank you very much for the feedback. You have truly provided me with insight. It looks like that was only a one-time experience. I have now gained control of my fear. Nowadays I get all my chakras activated in no time, when I sit to meditate. I also feel electric current-like sensations on my back that gets intense when I increase my focus/concentration. However, I cannot seem to get the current to rise from mooladhara to at least visuddhi. I guess it will take many years for one to be able to do that, right? Also, I seem to be doing spontaneous Kriyas that have significantly reduced. I am guessing that these Kriyas were important in unblocking some major channels.

        • Gowri –

          I’m glad my comment was useful, though given your reply, it is clear to me that you are working in a tradition I don’t know much about. I’ve read about the Chakras, but I haven’t done extensive work with them or any formal work with the Kriyas. I think I’ve spontaneously discovered the Kriyas though vipassana meditation as described in the post, but I am sure other traditions work with these energies more skillfully than I have!

          Be well, and check in on the blog from time to time. Feel free to jump in on the comments in other posts as well.

          – Dw

  7. I’ve had similar experience during meditation. I felt as if av went from the front of my head and was now at the back of my head like going straight through the head, then felt my head tilted as if looking at the ceiling, my whole body was vibrating and after a while I lost feeling in my head and was surrounded by purple colours with a small bright white light trying to burst through. I have also felt facial distortion only way I can describe it is my head/face felt like an upside down question mark (?) the only feeling I can describe is absolute bliss.

    • John,

      I appreciate you writing on this topic. It is clear that you’ve had some experiences that are in the same category as I and others posting here have had. I like that you end your comment with “absolute bliss” after describing the twisting and contorted body parts and energies arising in your experience. I’ve just come across another talk that *might* help label these experiences in a new way. If you are so inclined, please listen to this talk (and possibly the one that follows it in the series) and let me know what you think: http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/1968/

      Thanks again for reading and posting.

      Be well,
      Dave

  8. I found this post after searching for what seems like hours for some information on this topic. I’ve been meditating (nothing formal, just quiet sitting and letting my mind go blank) for about 1.5 yrs. I spend at least an hour sitting quietly each evening before bed. I find it to be one of the greatest catalyst for personal change and growth. I have been ‘releasing’ pain for the same amount of time in hands on healing sessions with a practitioner and have been preparing for ‘something’ to be remembered, based on my particular patterns of behavior, avoidance, fear and distrust.
    For the past 2 nights I have experienced a deep meditative state where a physical process begins. My throat becomes painfully enlarged and constricted at the same time, my eyes water continuously, there is a ‘roaring’ in my head and I feel panic and dread at a very dissociated level. I am aware of all of these feelings and watching them curiously, but there is no emotional connection. At the peak of these feelings I can no longer hold onto my meditation and I suddenly ‘resurface’, coughing violently, maybe 10-12 times. I also have the taste of vomit in my mouth, although there is no vomiting.
    I strongly believe I am re-experiencing something physical that I did not have the ability to understand or process, possibly as a very small child. It really doesn’t matter to me what it is about, only that it is being physically released. The feelings of relief at the release are tempered by feelings of panic and loss of control. I feel like this is a process, but I am largely alone in it. I am going by intuition, but I would love any insight into this situation. I realize this is an old post, but it’s the only one that seemed relevant to what I was searching for.
    I should maybe mention that I have begun to understand the intuitive gifts I have been given, and my desire to use them to help others is what fuels my interest in pursuing my own emotional clarity, so that I may be of best use to anyone else. Thank you for any insight you are able to provide. :)

    • Gerri –

      Thanks for coming by the site and for posting on this thread. I never imagined so many people would have had so many different energy-body experiences when I first wrote this post. I imagine you’ve had a chance to read through the other comments and replies, so you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of my perspective on these events — I like to treat them as any other phenomena, with careful attention and equanimity, watching them arise, persist and cease. It’s my understanding that if we can be with all phenomena in this way, seeing it’s impermanent and impersonal nature, then we can abide independently from the phenomena without getting entangled in it. It sounds like you are also seeing this experience in terms of shedding something specific from your past. I don’t have a lot of experience in this area – specifically using meditative states to release physical or emotional trauma from the past — but it may not be too different than the function of insight meditation in general in the sense that we are freeing ourselves through this application of mindfulness and equanimity.

      I’d suggest that you seek out other teachers who might be more familiar with energy body cleansing. The two things that make me concerned or reluctant to give you more direct feedback are: (1) your use of the word ‘painful’ and (2) the actual coughing and constriction of the throat. In my book, meditation can take you to some interesting places, but you should always feel safe and free from harm in the process. If you don’t, then seeking a teacher, changing your meditation object or simply backing off a bit may be in order. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

      One teacher you might like is Shinzen Young. He leads vipassana retreats, has a blog and is very interested and knowledgeable about energetic experiences. Look him up. It may lead you to furthering your practice or finding new parts of your path. Come back from time to time… I really do thank you for your comment.

  9. Lets not allow this comment section to wither and die. :)
    On a more serious note, I came here searching for answer related to a similar phenomena. For some time now I am searching for it and could not find “decent” place to talk about it. There is too much gibberish, imagination, religious dogma etc connected to these things on our WWW.
    When I started meditating (Sadhguru’s Isha Kriya) I initially had a sense that my mouth is twitching in indescribable ways. Nothing “fantastic” as some of people here described but definitely fascinating. Twitching and twirling so much that I had to raise my hand a few times to check whats happening. My mouth was perfectly relaxed and closed. I definitely could not move my mouth in such ways even if I wanted to, there simply are no muscles for most of those movements. Ok, I thought, its interesting. Ill observe it. Through time, that violent (neither painful nor pleasant) twitching kinda spread through most of my face, also spreading/lowering its “volatility”. So i started feeling lower intensity movements around my mouth, cheeks near nose, nose, upper, boney area of nose and lower forehead. Its like a wavy, tension/magnetic set of movements. Sometimes it moves in relation to my breath, but not always. It also knows to envelop my whole skull like a set of gentle rubber-bands. It feels as if my skull is changing shape, like a gently pressed balloon.
    All of that is less interesting for this discussion as people already described similar things. But I had to write it. Now, whats more interesting is that I no longer have to be in formal meditation to “summon” that feeling. It needs just a bit of stillness and feeling sensations of breath for a short time and it arises. Eyes open, walking, riding a bus, reading, browsing etc. Any non-demanding “activity”. Sometimes, I can feel it while talking to people but thats quite rare. Has anyone experienced anything similar? Does anyone know of a resource which deals openly/soberly/possibly scientifically with similar phenomena without trendy/mystical BS which is all over the place?
    Thanks a bunch!

    • Marko –

      Thanks for writing. Your experiences seem very in line with my own. I just posted something completely different that might be interesting to you because it is all about tension in the head. You’ll have to be the judge (and you can let me know) if Bhante Vimalaramsi’s notion that craving is experienced as tension and can be “let go” by including a “relax step” within one’s meditation strategy is at all related to the energetic feeling of tension and tightness (or rubber bands in your head as you mention above). Read this and listen to the talk. Come back and let me know what you think: http://pranna.com/blog/2014/04/bhante-vimalaramsi-the-relax-step/

      Peace, Dave

  10. Hi

    I really found this forum interesting and helpful as a new comer in the meditation school.

    I have had different experiences with meditation. I have been doing this irregularly for couple of years but have only tapped into it with sincerity just recently.

    Initially I used to feel quite emotional and sometimes, tear would start trickling down my eyes but it always lasted a blissful feeling. After some time, I started feeling quite joyous and happy. So now recently, I get vibrational tingles or chills all the time even if I am talking abt it to someone or just thinking abt it, I will get them as Im getting them even writing this. But recently my sleeping pattern has been completely distorted. Usually I sleep like a baby, within 5 secs but now, Im always tossing in the bed for hours and getting lucid dreams all the time. I have to say I dream every single night and before, it used to be once in the blue moon. Today in my dream someone said to me that I will receive 3 letters but none for me, then in the morning received 3 letters. Anyway, back to meditation symptoms, I have had this a few times now. My eyes start fluttering, head starts tilting usually backwards, mouth is opened and I start breathing from my mouth feeling as if Im meant to do it. Sometimes if I pay attention to it and bring my head back to the front, after a few breathing exercise it brings it backwards again. So today I let it past and in the end, it felt like it cleansed my energy when my mouth was opened. Then it brought my head backwards and huge rush of tingling vibration raised from my toe to head. Dont know what it was or how to react, but I was curious and wanted to know if anyone had the same experience or has some comments for me.

    Thanks :)

    • Shiv, I won’t claim to be an expert here, but this post and others have drawn a lot of comments like yours. Clearly people are experiencing powerful energetic phenomena while sitting — many of which seem to involve the head movements you describe, which is fascinating! My understanding of these phenomena used to be limited to calling them “energetic body phenomena” or using the term Kriya, which Shinzen Young suggested when I brought this up to him. Now, I’ve begun to understand these kinds of phenomena as being related to “rapture”. Rapture is actually a term used in the Satipathana Sutta and it can point to a fairly broad category of experience. It is actually one of the factors of enlightenment, which are: Mindfulness, Investigation, Energy, Rapture, Calm, Concentration and Equanimity. I’d suggest downloading and listening to these two talks by Joseph Goldstein: http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/1968/ and http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/1969/ and then, of course listening to the entire series, which is amazing. Let me know if this helps you out! Peace, Dave

  11. I meditated for the first time a few weeks ago. I have always been a dreamer and have sunk into states of deep concentration previously, just while sitting or relaxing on my own, but had never before consciously attempted meditation.

    Initially I felt nothing, but after several minutes I began feeling a rising current throughout my legs and lower abdomen. Suddenly, a single tooth on the right side of my jaw (the tooth behind the canine) began to feel as if it were being pulled upwards with great force. It was not painful but certainly unnerving.

    I have a tendency to grind my jaw while I sleep and initially believed that I was simply clenching my teeth but when I attempted to relax my lower jaw I realized it was already relaxed, hanging just out of contact with my upper jaw. This lapse in concentration did cause the feeling to subside but it quickly returned when I resumed concentration.

    Soon, the sensation spread throughout my upper jaw, one tooth at a time, until it felt as if all of my upper teeth were being used to lift my weight. I did not feel as if my head were leaning back, or that my mouth was open, as others have described.

    My friend who meditates regularly and was actually who encouraged me to try looked at me with curiosity and even disbelief when I described the events, which is understandable as he had never experienced anything like this and I was a first time meditator.

    Do you perhaps have any insight to my experience? I have not meditated since, not out of fear but simply because the event was a one-off while I was hanging with my friend. I plan to continue but I feel I would like some inkling as to what I was experiencing and how it is relevant.

    • Colin,

      The responses to this post have been surprising, but I’m so happy to confirm for myself and others that these experiences do arise for some people when they sit. As I mentioned, these things tend to happen more when I’m concentrated… in a retreat setting, for instance. This is why it is fascinating for me that you had such an experience in your first sitting.

      I’m not surprised that your friend was surprised, either. He may or may not have any experience at all with energetic activity such as this, even if he’s quite experienced with meditation himself. That’s ok.

      You should also not be too caught up in the experience, either. Don’t make any attempt to reproduce it. Don’t define yourself or meditation by it. Make sure you keep an open mind and keep practicing. There is a lot to learn, a lot to experience, and the subtle aspects of meditation can take time to understand and incorporate into your life, your actions, your view of self and selflessness, etc. The best advice is probably just to acknowledge the experience you had and let it go. Don’t label it as “special” or think that you did something wrong (or that you’re an extraordinary meditator because this happened to you). Any ideas that get ‘fixed’ in your mind will eventually have to be let go of. This is especially true when it comes to ideas about yourself. Suzuki Roshi talked about ‘beginner’s mind’ as being better than an expert’s mind because it held so much possibility and wasn’t “fixed” or solid. Keep your beginner’s mind by not drawing any conclusions at such an early stage of practice.

      Remember that liberation from suffering is the point of the Buddha’s path — not specific experiences or states of mind. This experience may serve you well if it simply shows you experientially that there is more going on in the body-mind-awareness complex than meets the eye! Stay curious. Learn from others. Read. Sit. Breathe. Open your heart. Do retreats. Etc. Etc…

      I do appreciate your question and welcome you back anytime to ask more or report on your progress!!

      Peace,
      Dave

      • Thanks for the insight, Dave. I had been thinking quite alot about it, so I’m glad to have found this blog and heard your opinion before attempting to meditate again–I would have undoubtedly become “fixated” to some degree on the event had I not heard your words first.

        I will acknowledge and let go to the best of my abilities, but I can’t lie and say I’m not excited for what meditation could hold for me…you are right in saying that there really is more than meets the eye, and I’m glad my first experience revealed this to me.

        Cheers,
        Colin

    • Tori-
      I’m so sorry it took so long to approve your comment and reply. I haven’t been blogging lately. I’ll say more in a future post. I’d love to hear more about what you are calling “visual snow”. I imagine you’re talking about the “noise” that your visual sense perceives when your eyes are closed. This is very normal. In fact, it happens when your eyes are open, too, but you don’t seem to see it because the other visual imagery is so strong — so you overlook the noise. I think this comes up for people in meditation because the mind is becoming less distracted by it’s own chatter.. it’s settling down some and certain phenomena is noticed where it is usually overlooked. Once it is noticed, the mind can start to cling to it as an object– making up stories about it, asking questions, giving it significance, whatever. Any of the mind’s patterns can come into play there. I’d recommend simply noting this as “seeing” (it’s just the eye’s physiology–the nerves, the blood vessels, the rods and cones). Note it as seeing and bring your attention back to your object of meditation. I hope that helps.. and let me know if your “visual snow” is something other than the “white noise” I’m taking it to be.

  12. Thank you all for sharing. Today for the first time, I experienced the bright white lights that felt like lightening, eyes rapidly fluttering and short sharp inhalation and exhalation.
    I did not know what to make of it, and was not in control. i i heard a voice also say to me that all will come true, do not be afraid! I felt very calm and felt like i had a most amazing blessing.

    i did not see others posting about hearing voices during their experiences and I am interested if any one has any insight?

  13. I’m new to meditation. This was my 3rd arrempt meditating and lasted 45 min today. I experienced strange sensations while sitting up. During about midway through I wanted to readjust my posture so I did and noticed my hands felt small, wet and cold. My left leg had gone numb. The oddest of all was the sudden urge to open my mouth and tilt my head back (which I did). Idk if I was looking at the ceiling because I chose to keep my eyes closed. It felt odd but not uncomfortable. Im normally a jaw clencher so the release was good. Also felt dry sensation in my front teeth like they were exposed to air a long time, dry mouth, and throat. Idk if I should try to keep posture or allow my body to do what it wants. The last time I meditated I had none of this, only good vibrations and a feeling of high energy and peace after 9 min. Any info would be helpful.

    • Jackie –

      I’m amazed by how much the open jaw sensation arises for people and how many have commented here on the site about it. My advice is to keep sitting. This may happen again, and it may not. Don’t give it too much importance. You can consider it a release of some kind of tension or energy if you’d like, but don’t fixate too much on it. If possible, let it be and come back to your object of meditation (be that the breath, or whole body sensation, or hearing, or whatever else you set as an intention). I find that if I have strong energetics, but ‘leave them be’ and bring my attention back to my breath, then the sensations calm a bit and there’s a balance between the energy and the building concentration. This balance is far preferable to focusing directly on the intense energetic sensation (which generally causes it to build and build, but doesn’t seem to lead anywhere). If you are new and this is happening, then you probably have a natural tendency towards concentration. You might be interested in Samadhi meditation, (and look for the term “piti”, which is how I currently understand this kind of experience) but know that it’s a good idea to balance concentration with Vipassana. Samadhi may take you into some interesting places, but the insights gained through Vipassana (seeing impermanence, dukkha, and no-self in all experience) are the ones that will set you free. Good luck and feel free to check back in anytime. Much Metta. Dave

  14. I’ve had strang feelings in my body but recently, I was meditating, and I felt a hugged amount of energy in my body flowing in all directions. I then Hurd electric sounds in my head an saw a purple orb with lighting in it. I snapped out of it an only felt my body sensation but I felt really good like my whole body have healed an I could breath normally witch is weird since I was under a blanket laying down. It was hard to breath untel after that point. What does this mean

    • Isaac,

      I’m not familiar with meditating while lying under a blanket wouldn’t actually recommend it as a form of practice (especially if it made it hard to breathe!). I hear that you had some interesting experiences there, but I’m less familiar with the electric sounds and the purple orb… so I’m afraid I’m not able to assign a meaning to that experience (or any experience). I’d just recommend meditating with a straight back, in an upright position if possible and trying to keep things simple. If energetic experiences happen again under those circumstances — write back and we can discuss it.

  15. I am a beginner – 2 months in meditation.
    I am doing about 1 hr meditation everyday along with kriya yoga. few days ago I experienced something ecstatic and i believe that was samadhi.
    My concern is when I sit down for meditation and when the energy starts rising, my body sways towards right side only and i have to bring it back to center to avoid falling towards right. The force is so much that if i leave myself relaxed the body will fall on right. It starts with the head panning towards right and then the lower jaw starts stretching towards right side and then the shoulders and then torso. Then I pull myself back to center. This disturbs meditation.

    What am I doing wrong? Is it normal? Will these movements go away?

    • Dear Hunt212,

      I don’t think there is a “wrong” in meditation – we are all learning as we go and experimenting and making corrections.

      When you experience the sensations in your right side – or the pulling to the right side – see if you can relax the whole body. Take a wider view of the whole body and really relax all the parts. Don’t necessarily focus on the pulling sensation. See if you can keep your attention on the object of meditation and let this pulling be ‘in the background’ and see if it subsides at all. You could also try opening your eyes some and see if that either “breaks it” or if you still notice the pulling sensation but are, in fact, still perfectly upright.

      You are likely right that the stronger experiences are related to increased concentration (samadhi), but don’t try to define it too soon. Let it be what it is and continue on. Be sure to always evaluate your experience in terms of an increased sense of well being and compassion — not whether you are “getting into x,y,z states”. Knowing about the states and using them as guideposts can be handy, but ultimately, it’s the development of wisdom and insight that’s going to set you free.

  16. What I have when I relax, am quiet, practice yoga, but especially when I meditate is movements, in the neck, in my head and it feels like in my brain. Sometimes I hear a ticking sound as I move. The movement is very subtle, but it feels more intense. I have been meditating on and off for years and it seems a natural way of adjusting my body/ the energy body… My breath also changes according to these unvoluntary movements. I practice vipassana meditation and early morning, like 4am brings the most intense symptoms

  17. Hi there,

    Wish all the readers love and peace. I’m a new visitor here and this is very interesting topic. I would like to add few things here and share my experience regarding meditation and energetic activity. Little did I know, it was QUITE tough..for me at least. Tough because I didn’t know what to expect when I first started meditation.

    For years, I was skeptical meditation (though I’m from the SE Asia). One might say, I should familiar with meditation and yoga and yes, I agree but I was not familiar with the “out of this world experience” from meditation until I myself tried it and experienced those signs. Some are good but some are.. I would not call it “bad” but was just not “pleasant”. Tingling sensation, “ants” crawling, foot cramp, head pressure, headache, pimples, emotional outburst, bright white light, shadow, strange entity, and etc,. I could handle that. For me, the worst part was, I was MENTALLY disconnected! Disconnected with the people around me including my family, my friends, my partner and the worst of all – LIFE! I felt so alone, isolated, lethargic and ultra mellow. I had a hard time to relate my day-to-day activities, had a short-term memory lost and lack of concentration like never before. I LOST me!

    For weeks, I was confused to a point it almost cost me my relationship. I was ALL OVER the place. I became quiet, down and anti -social but at the same time my body felt “light” and calm. My partner was the first person who noticed this (of course! lol) and I begged him to give me a chance and time. I personally tried to answer the question that I wasn’t sure of. I was searching… inside! One morning, I just had enough and decided to see a “guru” at the Hindu Temple nearby. He gave me this one simple advice- DO NOT BE HARD ON YOURSELF! He said, I was experiencing … “KUNDALINI Awakening”. Coiled three and a half times around the first chakra. Sorry, come again?! I lost for words.

    He told me to remain calm because my Kundalini was arising (Kundalini energy rests like a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. When this dormant energy flows freely upward through the seven chakras (energy centers) and leads to an expanded state). It is like a surge of electricity. He suggested to me to cut my meditation from 60 minutes to 30 minutes a day. The good news is, those emotions would pass. And drink a lot of water”, he smiled. “Take things easy, trust the guiding light and change your thinking pattern”, he added. Our meeting was very brief. I call it ,”The Magic of 30-Minute Meeting”.

    Try to remain positive if you reach this stage. Take it one day at a time and try not over-analyzing things. What you feel, what you see, what color and light appear during meditation ..it DOES NOT matter. It is between you and your 7 chakras. Give your emotion a chance and trust the vibration. Last week, I had my usual morning coffee on my balcony. I could strongly feel the “warmth” from the sun for the first time ever in my life. It felt intensely beautiful and pleasant. It felt REAL! Almost surreal. I begin to realize that people are drawn to me even more. People are more friendly and warm. I look at kids as if they are mine. I feel I have so much love to give It is difficult to explain. Strangers asked me for directions, neighbors sent me cookies, and friends keep buying me lunch. I have never felt so calm, confident, collected and articulate in my life.

    The point I’m trying to make here is, there is NO time frame, standard manual or even a shortcut. You must allow your mind, body and soul to experience this spiritual cleansing. You just like me, on a JOURNEY. Go for it and please clear your mind, open your heart and trust the Universal energy. When you TRUST better, you FEEL better!

    Good luck.

  18. hi, I experience flow of energy starting from brain then to spine and neck while meditating or when I focus on something. I want to know why’s that please do reply..

  19. Have you ever seen the water vapor produced by an e-ciggerate swish around inside of a cup? The sensation feels somewhat similar to that, at least to me as I’m sure other things influence the flow/feel of this energy. Intellectual/emotional/moving centers perhaps.

    I’ve had it constantly as of late but it intensifies dramatically during meditation in which the sensation condeses at the top of my head/forehead and my nasal passages feel as if they’re being subjected to intense pressure that instantaneously clears my airways, which is highly noticeable considering my left nostril has always felt restricted. (no doubt symbolic of something, hah)

    I’ve had some very interesting experiences with this energy.

    • Matthew,

      That’s an interesting description. It’s clear you are experiencing phenomena similar to others who’ve come to the site. I’m amazed by how many responses there have been to this post. It’s worthy of more study!

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