When I meditate outside/outdoors, when my body becomes super relaxed, I notice my upper body starts to rock/sway forwards and backwards whenever anyone passes by, or when I am being observed from a distance. Sometimes, the rocking is fast, sometimes it is slow. Sometimes it is very soft and barely perceptible, sometimes it feels like one of those bobbers on the counter of a Chinese restaurant. It stops when the person/people go past, or observations stop.

It also stops if I telephatically make a request for it to stop. And restarts if I ask it to continue (while the people are still walking by).

Does anyone have any idea of what/why is happening?

  • {Edit for people who get triggered on the 'why' above in my former question: Has anyone else experienced anything like this, or know what is happening}?

(Note: When I'm deep in trance, I do not consciously observe anything or anyone - my mind is still -, yet I'm aware of everyone and everything around me, almost like I'm everywhere at once. The only thing I examine, if I get so inclined, is myself).

  • @xxandra. Your question is good and perfectly valid. Let me know if you have any questions to my answer.
    – user19910
    Mar 8, 2021 at 14:41
  • 1
    @Tranquility. Thank you! I have added a question to your answer.. I only seek to understand; although understanding is not necessary, it would be nice. And thank you very much for the links. I shall study them.
    – xxandra
    Mar 8, 2021 at 17:38

2 Answers 2


Rocking and swaying is caused by the arising of Rapture (Pīti) which is one of the 10 Imperfections of Insight and one of the 5 Jhana Factors.

If practicing Vipassana meditation just note it until it passes away. If it doesn't stop after a long time, make the resolution to make it stop by saying "stop" in your mind. It will then stop either after the first resolution or after a couple of them.

If practicing Samatha meditation just return to the primary meditation object, ie. the breath at the anapana-spot. Don't take either of the Jhana factors as an meditation object. It will not strengthen them but instead weaken them, thereby not leading to Jhana.

  • I understand that, and it does stop if it gets uncomfortable/distracting, and I say "stop". But over several occurrences, I have learnt to accept it, and just return to the primary meditation object. However, the last two times, I have meditated close to a path, and I noticed now it happens only when someone walks by on the path, and ceases when they are gone? I find it strange...? It suggests to me that perhaps the cause of the rocking might be external to my constitution?
    – xxandra
    Mar 8, 2021 at 17:25
  • @xxandra: I don't think we need to reach for externalities. The energy arises when you feel you are being observed; that speaks to an attachment around social evaluation. Is the energy joy that people appreciate your spiritual depth? Is it relief that they do not mock you for doing something different? It might help to track down that thought (whatever it is) so that you're conscious of it when it arises, or it may be enough to note it as a social evaluation so that you can bring that part of your attention back. Mar 8, 2021 at 17:43
  • @TedWrigley I do not reach for anything in this state. I am just aware. I merely observe. Also it starts before I become aware I am being observed. It is some form of energy, for it sets my physical body into motion.. Unfortunately I can't track the thought, because there is none in that moment. My mind at that point is like the still surface of a lake in moonlight. I only observe. This is difficult to explain... In truth, my only thought when it happens is "stop", "continue", and a sense of inexplicable wonderment. I "feel", without the need for thought - until afterwards.
    – xxandra
    Mar 8, 2021 at 18:27
  • @xxandra - seems like a description of second jhana.
    – user17652
    Mar 8, 2021 at 18:39
  • @xxandra: The stillness of moonlight on water belies movement in the depths. Attachments are pre-linguistic mental forms. Beginners (generally) can only see them in terms of coarse, conscious, mental 'grasping after', but you're not a beginner. So you're aware of someone approaching before you're consciously aware; so you're aware of the attachment arising before it enters the conscious mind as a thought. That's good. But don't convince yourself it isn't an attachment merely because it manifests differently. Mar 8, 2021 at 19:37

There is a sutta called Dutiyaanuruddha Sutta in which Sariputra's exceptional wisdom is pitched against the siddhi abilities of Anuruddha who was probably flexing some showmanship about his spiritual attainments. The outcome should be quite obvious: Sariputra won him over with his wisdom. Consequently, Anuruddha stopped playing games with these things, knuckled-down and applied himself with yoniso manasankhara (wise attention). He later went on to become one of the liberated ones.

Sujato translates Sariputra's key phrase as: "It would be good to give up these three things. Instead of focusing on them, apply your mind to the deathless.”

  • I appreciate your response, and thank you for it. But I sincerely do not feel it applies to me. For one, I do not believe this to be a siddhi, certainly it is not one of them. Merely an effect of meditation that I do not fully understand as of yet. You presume I focus on it. I do not. There is a difference between focusing and observing (awareness). Also, the phenomena comes first, before my reaction to it... Before that, I am thoughtless, I am nowhere, and everywhere... If that makes sense.
    – xxandra
    Mar 8, 2021 at 18:30
  • My apologies. Your question read like it held the premise and enquiry of siddhis. Nothing really wrong with that, but undue focus on siddhis it can become quite problematic for some people. I will read your question again and factor out the siddhi references.
    – user17652
    Mar 8, 2021 at 18:39
  • Perhaps what I describe as "awareness" is what you call "wise attention"? But yet, 'attention' would imply a form of focus. Awareness = it is there, I notice it, feel it, but I do not dwell on it, returning to the primary object of meditation. And yet "returning is not the right word, because I never left the primary object of meditation. Everything happens within it. I wonder... If I do focus on it, will it reveal it's true nature to me? I shall try this next time...
    – xxandra
    Mar 8, 2021 at 18:44
  • If you get there again, ever-so-gently let go of the meditation object like you would untie a boat from its mooring. See what is there.
    – user17652
    Mar 8, 2021 at 18:50
  • True, siddhis will come in their own time. If you do not mind my asking, which references do you perceive as siddhis? I never considered being able to feel energy, or awareness during meditation as a Sidhhi.. Siddhis are like, clairvoyance, clairaudience, lévitation, etc...?
    – xxandra
    Mar 8, 2021 at 18:50

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