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Old June 12th, 2012, 22:38   #1 (permalink)
brewskiebob (Offline)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1
Default New to meditation....scary experience first go around

Hello to all, ive been studying conciousness science and spiritual development for 7 years but never actually tried meditation.....Well Today i decided to give it a real honest try. Just 20 mins ago something very strange, and (prolly cause i do not understand it) very scary happened during my first meditation attempt.

I was doing a whole body breathing technique i read about on a website. After about 5 or 6 minutes of focusing on this breathing technique i felt a strange pressure on top of my skull. Then my whole body went completely numb followed by a very distant ringing noise and i immediately went into a panic attack. I eventually scared myself out of the meditative state where i sat and trembled for a couple of minutes. As if i just got done running a marathon.

Now i use to have real bad anxiety so i know what its like to have a panic attack so it wasnt that i was scared...since meditation is suppose to calm the soul i was a bit confused on why this would happen.... Can anyone shed some light? i dont wanna just quit all together cause of what happened my first go around. ...

Any help will be great
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Old July 11th, 2012, 17:24   #2 (permalink)
Lynchian (Offline)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 9
Default Hmmm....

I haven't had that exact experience, but I have had some very unusual ones, and when I first started meditation I used to find some of them a little worrying. I have to say though that I have learned to trust in the experiences, and have never come to any harm... Meditation can be different every time, and there's a huge range of physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences and feelings.... I'm not qualified to talk about any medical implications, but I get the sense that if you trust in the meditation and relax and allow it to flow, then it might actually be a real benefit...
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Old July 12th, 2012, 15:12   #3 (permalink)
GilesC (Offline)
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Staffordshire, UK
Posts: 1,799

Hi Brewskibob and welcome to the Project Meditation community,

It's interesting that many people new to meditation seem to pick up and start off with a "breathing meditation" style, and unfortunately without a proper teacher to guide them. (Not your fault, that's the "joy" of the internet and all the information available).

Usually, people using breathing meditation for the first time (I know as I did it too as did other people I know), put their focus so much on the breathing that they actually start to control the flow of the breathing, often making it become a rythm of breathing "iiiinnnnnn..... ouuuuutttt.... iiiinnnnnn..... ouuuuuuttttt...." etc. in a regular pattern. Of course this isn't how your body naturally breathes and you can end up hyperventilating or restricting oxygen to your body, and that will of course have physiological effects on your such as dizziness, headaches, numbness etc.

The real point of breathing meditation, and the one that isn't emphasised or explained enough, is to be "aware" of the breathing. That doesn't mean to focus on the breathing so you end up controlling it, but rather to just notice from the sidelines the in breaths and the out breaths as your body does it, and sometimes those will be short sharp breaths, sometimes they will be long drawn out breaths, sometimes shallow, sometimes really deep etc. So the point is to bring awareness to the breathing, regardless of how you are breathing; not forcing anything, and then that will allow the racing thoughts of the mind (discursive thoughts) to pass by (you can't get rid of them) without becoming attached to the thoughts and getting distracted.

Perhaps you may even be better trying a different style of meditation where your not putting focus on something that is the natural functioning of your body. You can download the "Discover Meditation" CD set from this website for free and Michael (who created them) guides you through mantra style meditation.

And remember, whatever style of meditation you do, there will be "things" that you experience, whether it's thoughts, distractions, physical sensations etc. and with practice you will learn to just observe these things and let them pass without becoming attached to them. Of course, if you feel discomfort during meditation just gently move yourself or do whatever you need to make yourself comfortable again.


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Old July 14th, 2012, 13:15   #4 (permalink)
Itlandm (Offline)
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Kristiansand, Norway
Posts: 293

Sounds like the onset of an out of body experience. You may have a particular talent for this. If that is not what you want, you should probably start with a more intellectual form of meditation, like mantra or counting. Giles is correct, if you focus on your breath or your heartbeat, you have a very good chance of changing them beyond their ideal levels, which will induce intense experiences, either pleasant or unpleasant or just extremely weird, since you change the oxygen saturation of pretty much every cell in your body.

The good news is that it is hard to kill yourself by meditation. In known history, only a limited number of people have been able to voluntarily end their bodily life through the power of meditation, an act called Mahasamadhi. These have been elderly gurus. The body will react by fainting if you exceed its limits, so unless you are sitting in a position where you may crack your skull or break your neck, you should be fine.
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