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Today, I sat for a 30-minute meditation session, and towards the end of the 30- minutes (since I heard the timer bell ring a few minutes after the start of the experience), I started to feel an intense acceleration in the mind, and just after that, everything else clearing out of my mind. At the same time, I felt my heart beating faster and I am making heavy breaths. I could really pay attention to the heavy breaths and I was keeping my mind there. And then, I saw some soft, satisfying light, lighting up from beneath my eyes (like lighting a torch from below when your eyes are closed). I got really scared of the entire thing, I tried to continue, but I couldn't because I felt I was going to blow up and ended the session. The whole thing was not a calm experience. It was like a free fall. Is this something normal or something that I should be worried about?

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When stored accumulate stress dissolves, pure energy can rise up into the brain, causing this experience of "acceleration", "cleansing out of the mind" and "softening calmness".

The "heart beating faster" and "heavy breaths" is both exhilaration and the beginnings of fear (since the mind has not experienced this before).

Finally, the "fear" became strong and broken the meditation; because the mind could not handle the loss the control and the loss of self.

Unless you have a history of mental illness, the experience should not be worried about. It was a perfectly normal & ordinary meditation experience. If fact, the experience was a sign of progress (in terms of the calming & purification process).

When the body & mind cleanse themselves in meditation of accumulated stresses, these "special effects" will happen and then subside.

When the Buddha taught meditation, he provided the following basic instruction to be followed always; 99% of the time:

There is the case where a monk remains... ardent, clearly comprehending & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

  • Thanks a lot for the explanation. Great to know that it is an "ordinary" experience. I felt it is nothing but ordinary and that something will happen to me. I really felt like my head is going to blow up, but still, I suggested to my self that I trust the Buddha's way and that took me a little further before I couldn't handle it and finally stop. Also, one other reason was, I've heard about Nimittas and felt that this may be it. And I was really scared that I'd see a demon face (there's some info about demons in my head which scares me, which is one of my weaknesses). – picmate 涅 Nov 21 '18 at 14:27
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    The experience is definitely not "THE NIMITTA". However, it is related to how the nimitta comes about. The nimitta occurs due to calmness, radiance and light. However, your experience was just a temporary purification, where calmness, radiance & light will occur however it will soon subside. Where as when the real nimitta occurs, it was be very stable and clear. It will exist for many hours. When the real nimitta occurs, you will be close to an expert at meditation and have stable samadhi many weeks before the real nimitta occurs. – Dhammadhatu Nov 21 '18 at 20:32
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    Yes, what you wrote about "fear" & "dislike" is how to practise. Excellent. When fear arises, it cannot be directly controlled. But we have the ability to control the "dislike" towards the fear. By removing "dislike" towards the fear, the fear will eventually subside. If fear can be conquered like this then this is a very significant step in practise because the Ajahn Brahm method of "letting go" will result in more & more "selfless" mind and to be stable in "selfless"" mind requires to first conquer and pass through "fear". It appears you are practising very well. – Dhammadhatu Nov 21 '18 at 20:37
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    The sutta quote: "A monk remains... ardent, clearly comprehending & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world" has also been translated as "A monk remains... ardent, clearly comprehending & mindful — putting aside LIKING & DISLIKING with reference to the world." The basic practise is to abandon liking & disliking. MN 38 says: "Having thus ABANDONED FAVOURING & OPPOSING whatever feeling he feels, whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, he does not delight in that feeling, welcome it or remain holding to it." All the best – Dhammadhatu Nov 21 '18 at 20:39
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    Sure. Email dhammadhatu@bigpond.com – Dhammadhatu Nov 22 '18 at 4:32
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You correctly identified your experience and your reactions so that is a win/win. It could be worse: like go for years having only some mild euphoria that masks your true feelings and clouds your mind as to the fact. I know, I was there. If you always have negative reactions that you can't get around, don't force it. Since you are following a good teacher (Ajahn Braham) it's not a worry if something rare happens. Sometimes experience is like eating cool ice cream, other times it's like touching an electrical socket.

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