Dear Integral Meditators,
Its the Easter weekend, which is potentially a time for a little bit of deeper reflection, so this weeks article focuses on the relationship between mindfulness, meditation and altered states of mind. I hope you enjoy it!
On a slightly different note, you can see a 15 minute video of me talking about mindfulnesson the Movement for Modern Life website, which is also a website worth checking out if your interested in online yoga.
In the spirit of the journey,
Regardless of who we are and what our belief systems contain, when we take up meditation and mindfulness we can sometimes find ourselves experiencing some slightly unusual side effects of our practice, that might be termed ‘non-ordinary’ states of mind. For some people these start quite early on in their practice, for others they can pop up unexpectedly after years of experiencing nothing like them. They are useful to know about, because they do happen, and so if they start happening to you, then there is no need to panic, they have been happening to people for thousands of years! Here are some of them:
The seeing & feeling of light and energy – This is where we experience lights, colours and energies in our inner vision. Common colours include purples, greens, yellow/oranges, white, but the full spectrum can occur. This can also (often but not always) be accompanied by the feeling of energy moving through the body, for example up and down the spine. Sometimes there can be the feeling of energy without the seeing of lights or colours.
The seeing of visions and images, lucid dreaming – We can find ourselves experiencing visionary sequences, like waking dreams. These are different from merely imaginary journeys in that we feel as if we are observing the sequences objectively, without any active contribution on our part.
The hearing of sounds and voices – The hearing of non-physical sounds and voices sometimes occurs.
Prehension and clear knowing – Prehension; the knowing of events before they occur. Clear knowing; the understanding of or insight about something without needing to process information conceptually or rationally.
Synchronicity or déjà-vu – The increase in the occurrence of meaningful co-incidence in our lives, or finding ourselves visiting places in the physical world that we have ‘seen’ or ‘been to’ before, but we don’t know how or why.
Bliss (or its opposite, discomfort) – States of exceptional physical and mental bliss and comfort. Occasionally we can experience temporary energetic discomfort in an area of our body, but this usually then leads to an increased sense of wellbeing in that part of the body, like the unblocking of a blocked pipe – energy flows better and more cleanly afterwards.
Peak states – Temporary states of awareness where the mind feels open clear and spacious, or where there are genuine and spontaneous feelings of love and universal connectivity to everyone/everything.
Keeping your feet on the ground
It should be noted that all of the above experiences can happen to non-mindfulness practitioners, but the fact that you are taking the time each day to build the power and depth of your mind in meditation does increase the likelihood of these states popping up periodically!
Don’t let non-ordinary states disconnect you from ordinary reality.
If they do start to happen, then there is no need to panic, and no need to think you are suddenly superman/woman, just keep calm and carry on as usual. Having said that, there is also no doubt that these experiences can be very powerful and transformative, so if you can find a more experienced practitioner to get feedback from, then of course this can be very useful.
© Toby Ouvry 2016, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com
Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:
Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby
Saturday April 16th, 2.30-5.30pm – Living Life From Your Inner Center – Meditations for Going With the Flow of the Present Moment – A three hour workshop
Integral Meditation Asia