I don't meditate often, and I've never had an experience like the following while meditating, but I feel that the following experience probably has a proper name in Buddhism (or Hinduism for that matter).

A few days ago, I woke up to a horrible bout of depressive thoughts (deep depression being something I have been struggling with for almost as long as I can remember). I have gotten better at combating it recently, but this particular time, after the storm of bad thoughts had been beaten back, I had this feeling that my awareness somehow expanded. I felt as thought I could see my emotions and opinions and thoughts pass in front of me, almost like I was standing in the middle of a carousel with different lenses passing in front of me, those "lenses" being my notions and emotions through which I viewed the world; it was as if I had somehow "stepped back" 15 or so feet to view from a more removed vantage point. I noticed that my ability to "manage" my emotions went through the roof, and I was much, much happier all day. I also noticed that it was hard for me to say words that I felt were untruthful, or to say things I didn't know were true or not, as I could feel in my stomach whether they were truthful or not. I also (weirdly) felt as if I could tell when others said something they didn't actually believe, or if they were lying. I felt as if most "talk" was mainly chatter, not in a condescending sense, but more in a "not worth it" sense. I felt as if many things I used to take stock in just became... flat, totally uninteresting. I felt this state until I went to bed that night.

But now, a few days later, I'm back to the way I was (as far as I can tell) and I also had a depressive bout as well (I'm guessing somehow brought on in part by this experience). The things that didn't matter that day, the opinions and expectations of others, their ideologies and so on, suddenly popped back up, are no longer "flat" so to speak, and are "real" again -- though not as "real" to me as they had been previously.

Is there a proper name for this state of consciousness?

  • @PeterJ If you want to answer questions please post them as an answer.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 18:39

4 Answers 4


Common signs of depression:

---> Decreased Interest or Pleasure

The second core symptom of major depressive disorder is a decreased interest or pleasure in things that were once enjoyed. A person exhibiting this symptom will show markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, daily activities.

---> Disengaged

A developed practice of being distant or disengaged, uninvolved with things that usually matter, negligent towards loved ones.

Depression can be dangerous, do not take it lightly and seek proper medical support is also a preferred way.


As Krizalid said, it is always important to take care of your mental health. Asking for professional help can improve the way you deal with emotions and thoughts.

That being said, I suggest taking the best of that situation (the "feeling" of being able to watch the emotions and mindstates impersonally, and the knowledge of the possibility of finding progressive peace and tranquility through mental training, like the one offered by the Buddha through the Noble Eightfold Path), but keeping in mind that such experiences are conditioned and impermanent. Try to not get attached to it, don't become obsessed with trying to feel it again, and pay attention to not use this as a way to increase (maybe unconsciously) your "ego" or ideas born from conceit, about an "I" which is "more spiritual" and superior than everyone else.

I'm not saying that what you felt was false nor a delusion. I'm just suggesting to keep your feet on the ground, and to maybe use this as a motivation for getting in touch with the mind and its processes. Buddhism offers a lot of tools, knowledge and strategies for knowing the mind better, for understading the motivations behind our deeds, and for learning how to deal with such underlying processes.

I wish you the best, and feel free to ask here whatever you may need to be answered (related to Buddhism, of course).

Have a wonderful day!


I don't know what the experience was but there are many things going on and if i was to paraphrase it using what i think to be Buddhist terminology i would explore the application terms like;

  • The faculty and power of conscientiousness; ... of concern; ... of discernment
  • Fear and shame of wrong-doing
  • Renunciation joy
  • States that are Good in Relation to the Sensuous Universe

Basically when faculties are developed, the range of potential states to be experienced is altered. The novelty of the experiences associated with the faculty development is many-fold and that is about as far as i would go of what you wrote in the OP.


It sounds exactly like you had a dissociative episode. The National Alliance on Mental Illness lists some symptoms as:

  • Out-of-body experiences, such as feeling as though you are watching a movie of yourself
  • Mental health problems such as depression
  • A sense of detachment from your emotions, or emotional numbness
  • A lack of a sense of self-identity

The fact that this matches up exactly with how you describe your experience means I would be extremely cautious about assuming you are "progressing" in any way like some other commenters have said. It is likely that this entire experience was a symptom of your depression, and if it continues to happen you really should seek medical advice.

  • Whoever downvoted me: please explain why? Do you disagree that it could be a medical issue or do you just have a problem with the wording of my answer?
    – Jess
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 17:58
  • I disagree with "sounds exactly like". I think those symptoms assume it's a disorder, or pathological -- which isn't clear from the OP, who also wrote, my ability to "manage" my emotions went through the roof, and I was much, much happier all day. I'm not saying "medical advice" is bad, but making psychiatric diagnoses without seeing someone nor even interviewing them is maybe untrue. Even with psychiatric training it's difficult to make accurate diagnoses, partly because symptoms are a matter of degree (a spectrum, not binary), and because it's relevant to make "differential diagnoses".
    – ChrisW
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 18:34
  • Also I thought it didn't add much e.g. to the first two answers, also it doesn't the question: which asks whether the experience "has a proper name in Buddhism". I think it's reasonable that a person on this site may want help with interpreting their experience within a Buddhist framework, and "you crazy!" isn't obviously a helpful answer (see also Answers vs Advice).
    – ChrisW
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 18:41
  • ChrisW has a point. But I'm neutralizing the vote due to: 1. If OP has a medical condition, seeking professional help (if not already) rather than knowing a Buddhism term should be the priority. 2. Given the description by OP being very vague and hugely subjective, and unknown context (e.g. notion of the world, content of chatter..), almost impossible to provide any accurate answer to OP's question. 3. Even if it is answered, the accuracy is questionable, and unlikely benefit OP's medical condition, instead may risk give OP a wrong sense of "progression".. as mentioned by JessSTJ. Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 7:06

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