I was wondering if seeing flickering lights during meditation meant anything.

My eyes had been closed for about 15 minutes. I would not say I was in a deep meditative state. The room was dark already and the blinds were down. At the beginning of my session I had seen points of light converging on a point. When I try to focus my eyes on the pattern, the shape changes or disappears; I’m not sure which. This doesn’t happen when my eyes are open.

I’ve been meditating for a couple of years for about 10-20 minutes a day but never have felt like I was a good meditator. My mind usually wanders when I try to focus on my breath.

In the past I have felt like my whole body has become stone during meditation but the flickering lights is something new. Was wondering if anybody has ever had that experience or knew if it meant anything. My guess is that I’m not supposed to pay attention to things like that.

  • 1
    Your guess answers your question. The thing about the mind is it wants to try to find something interesting in new experiences. In other words, it wants to entertain another narrative about itself. This is how the mind creates consciousness based in materiality, or in Dogen terms, it is how the mind fragments its inner world into the ten thousand things called forms.
    – user17652
    Sep 3, 2021 at 6:03

4 Answers 4


It's just an apparition of the mind and nothing particularly important. Things like this will arise from time to time. Like Max said in the comment, the mind subconsciously tries to entertain itself. This actually happens, like clockwork, at set times in a sit the first usually occurring right around the the 20-25 minute mark. This is where we really begin to shift from ordinary discursive consciousness to something resembling a meditative state. Other phenomenon you might experience are feelings of your body twisting, your head or hands inflating, your muscles shaking involuntarily, your face disappearing, or, like you mention, your body feeling like it's made of stone. FWIW, I would actually say that the feeling of being made of stone is more indicative of progress than the light. If you can sit unmoving for even longer, a similar shift will happen at around the hour and fifteen minute mark when the body/mind's natural energy begins to arise. This is where things get interesting.

You're right at the cusp of passing beyond the beginner stage. If you can find a way to commit yourself a little more, you're practice will start to have a real impact on how you live your life and experience the world. My advice to you is to sit as stone for as long as you can. Try to push your sits towards the hour mark and see what happens.

  • Wow this is helpful. I will see if I can sit longer.
    – pmagunia
    Sep 3, 2021 at 17:50
  • 2
    Honestly, that really is the key. A lot of people will tell you that it's the quality of your sits that matter, not their length. I think that sets up a false dichotomy. Longer sits invariably result in better meditation. Like I said, It takes a good 20 minutes for your mind to settle. Up until that point, you're just relaxing and decompressing. That's important and it feels good, but the real work of meditation doesn't begin until the mind has dropped its grosser afflictions. When you get up after 20 minutes, you are pulling the cake out of the oven just as it's starting to bake.
    – user21578
    Sep 3, 2021 at 18:07
  • 1
    Yes I totally agree. Whether I am smartly meditating or not. whether meditation is good or not .. I realised that at one point mind drops irrespective of how badly or goodly I handled it. This gives me imense hope and trust on letting the mind play with me and not putting effort much with it. it is any way going to sleep. If I just be sitted here
    – enRaiser
    Sep 4, 2021 at 5:11
  • Not that it is to be expected but sitting longer should help get you into the first Jhana too. Using the quality of a sit as yardstick is indirectly inviting disappointment. One of the troubles I have is my leg falls asleep but I think that question may have already been answered elsewhere.
    – pmagunia
    Sep 4, 2021 at 19:09
  • LMAO! Yes, I actually answered that one about 7 years ago! buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/3361/… I stand by it!
    – user21578
    Sep 4, 2021 at 19:11

Of that which is experienced during meditation, the Buddha says:

MN64:10-12.1: Furthermore, as the placing of the mind and keeping it connected are stilled, a mendicant enters and remains in the second absorption …
MN64:10-12.2: third absorption …
MN64:10-12.3: fourth absorption.
MN64:10-12.4: They contemplate the phenomena there as impermanent …
MN64:10-12.5: They turn their mind away from those things …
MN64:10-12.6: If they don’t attain the ending of defilements, they’re reborn spontaneously … and are not liable to return from that world.

Grasping at impermanence only leads to more grasping. Simply observe and relinquish without grasping.



In the grand scheme of things its not particularly important, but it can serve as a sign to tell you that you have attained to a certain level of concentration. Past a certain point, the light doesn't flicker, its persistent and extremely blinding. What to do when nimitta arises really depends on your practice and what you are trying to accomplish. Some would tell you to focus your attention on the nimitta to reach deeper states, others will tell you to ignore nimitta and don't get distracted by it. At this point, if you're serious about pursuing meditation beyond a cursory level, you would greatly benefit from the guidance of a trained teacher.


Your guess answers your question. When we mediatate you already know that there are two sides. One side you will be discouraged and make you you to doubt (Sakhaya) about the method you are follwing. The other side will motivate you to stick to your method and not to open your eyes till your goal.

As @cgtk mentions, everything you feel ,see is a hint, sign that you have attained a certain level. But this is not always true as the subconscious mind or the Wizard likes to hallucinate, create illusions. If someone tends to follow/focus this flickering or any other sensations, it is to believe that you would be totally distracted from your ultimate goal and go for secondary benefits.

The best practice is to ignore and if it repeatedly coming, you can Maitri it and follow your meditation. If you had experienced it on the first day and if it feels great, do not expect it to happen on the second day as you are expecting means that it will most likely a illusion from the wizard (Vijñāna).

When you are following a meditation it is always the best to get (Kamatahan/kammaṭṭhāna) guidance from someone who is superior to your level. This helps you to be in the correct path and you can always share what you experienced as the superior teacher precisely knows what you are telling and the teacher will guide you for your ultimate goal.

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