What does meditation feel like?

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When meditating, you can feel distracted, sleepy and frustrated, or liberated, empowered and peaceful.  Or any combination of these.  Photo by Mattia Faloretti on Unsplash

There are certain feelings characteristic of meditation, even though any feelings are possible – we are all different, after all.

Here are some things you might expect.

AWARENESS OF DISTRACTION

Because you are trying to focus, you will be extra aware of how difficult this is.  You may notice that, instead of focusing, you have gone off on a daydream of your own.  It is common for the mind to resist focus by seeping into other trains of thought.  This is quite normal.  In fact, the repeated drawing back of your mind to the object of your focus is a key part of the learning.  You will have ups and downs, but it gets easier over time, like any training.

SLEEPINESS

If you do manage to remove most of your usual daydreams, you may find yourself falling asleep.  This is partly because your internal energy system depends on your mind seeking out mental stimulation.  Starved of its usual diet of junk thoughts, your mind may just switch off.  This is a good thing in a way – at least you are able to relax, and not be anxious.

FRUSTRATION

You may well find yourself frustrated, as you realise how hard it is to stay focused, even for a short period of time.  You may rise from your meditation feeling that you have not really achieved anything.  Feeling discouraged is normal.

LIBERATION

If you are lucky enough to reach a degree of focus, then you may be able to escape your usual storm of anxious thoughts.  When this happens, you can feel quite liberated, because your wandering mind no longer has a hold over you.  Because your wandering mind is the usual world you experience, you may find this creates a sense that you have found refuge from a storm.  This is one reason why meditation is called a refuge.

EMPOWERMENT

In a similar way, if you have been able to control your mind for a while, you may find that you feel more in control of your life as the meditation draws to a close.  Being less a victim of your worries and concerns, your mind is more free to go where you choose.  This gives you the power to choose what you do next, without simply falling into your usual needy habits.  You may feel a sense of mastery if this happens.

PEACE

Because your mind is usually influenced by urges that take control of you, you may experience a profound sense of peace when those urges quieten down.  Your attention, when focused, will use up less energy on general alertness, because it is efficiently engaged in simple awareness.  Your relaxed posture may add to the sense of peace, since physical comfort can lead to mental comfort.

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A MEDITATION

Am I willing to try meditation, and gain the peace it can bring?

When I get distracted, can I learn to bring my mind back to my focus?  When sleepy, can I stay alert enough to remain aware?  When frustrated, can I convert this to a desire for discipline?

Can I accept the liberation of finding a refuge from my usual anxieties?  Can I enjoy the sense of mastery, when I do manage to control my mind for a while?  Can I accept the peace and relaxation that comes with meditation?

What does meditation feel like to me?

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