What just happened during meditation?

I have a good enough understanding of enlightenment and spirituality to hazard a guess at what happened, but I wanted to post here and discuss it because I’ve never had this kind of experience before.

The past 6 days I’ve increased my daily meditation to an hour after beginning, “The Three Pillars of Zen,” by Philip Kapleau. This marks a period of taking spiritual practice far more seriously and so I’ve taken the beginners mindset. I’m reading one chapter each week, and doing the meditations based on what that chapter advises. So for this week I’ve been counting each inhale and exhale to 10, then starting over.

Today I felt especially unfocused and had monkey mind like crazy, but powered through, bringing my attention back to the breath whenever I realized I had gone off. I started feeling my face tingle and thought I might be breathing oddly and making myself oxygen high or something, so I started taking longer inhales and exhales.

Throughout this I just started feeling really, really good, bordering on euphoric. This built up and up until I burst into tears and laughter with my face buried in my hands. I felt this immense swelling of love and gratitude for myself and my life. I had a troubled childhood and I kept thinking, “I’m going to be okay. Life is so good and I’m so grateful for who I’ve become.”

My alarm went off maybe 5 minutes later and I immediately text my friends and family to tell them how much I loved and appreciated them. It was almost like a compulsion to share these emotions.

So was this an awakening of sorts? Or did I just get myself high on oxygen?

Thanks for the help :slight_smile:

It sounds like a kind of peak experience, a state, and a wonderful one at that. The more frequently you visit a state, the more likely you are to establish residency (puns intended), so I would say that it does have potential long-term value. In fact, such peak experiences often serve to permanently re-orient us, whether or not they are ‘enlightenment’ per se.

I wouldn’t be too concerned about the ‘how’ of getting there - breathing, psychedelics, or just plain ol’ meditation can all bring on these states, and the method doesn’t make them any less real (although perhaps the stability of the state is related to the method).

1 Like

It wasn’t just “high on oxygen”. :grin:
Think of it as a “symptom”. So just like a migraine headache is a symptom of something deeper that isn’t good, tears with laughter is a symptom of something very good going on deeper.
It’s not really important to define specifically what it is - just continue your practice.
Your practice is apparently producing desirable results, so continue the practice.

1 Like

It happened again yesterday for the last 5 minutes, but was much less intense. Like burning coals rather than a huge bonfire. Today, not so much, but that’s meditation for you I guess.

Thanks for the responses, I really appreciate them.

1 Like

I like to make an analogy to growth.
When you were a toddler and first climbed up onto the kitchen counter or similar obstacle, it was a great accomplishment. You might have been overflowing with joy and pride. You might even have let out an audible giggle that brought your mother running, Oh, the joy of a toddler who overcomes an obstacle :grin:
I’m almost 100% certain your “bonfire” will return at some point, stronger than before. Tomorrow or whenever. Who knows?

1 Like

Seems like your closer to whatever than me, I meditated two hours a day for a year and had nothing even close like that happen.

I’ve used psychedelics before and had a mystical experience on LSD. I felt myself as the Universe. It wasn’t quite a non-dual experience as “I” definitely still existed, but I became sort of kind of one with the Universe. I think psychedelics may give you a bit of a push up the ladder so to speak, so it may be that it made it more likely for me to experience that state while sober. I had that LSD experience about a month before this meditation one.

What a beautiful experience and to me it sounds like a surrendering and expansion of consciousness through the act of being totally present. Labelling it is kind of tricky as we can find ourselves starting to objectify it, putting meaning on it and looking for it in our meditation experience. I would encourage you to just be with it when it arrives and if it doesnt thats perfectly okay too! Go well.

I tried the count to 10 in and out. Felt to me like CO2 build up (mechanism we use to sense needing to breath), which will correspond to lower blood o2 levels.
When free diving I always joked that you’re not going to be doing calculus problems at 70% blood O2, which could easily correlate to a mental letting go or mind chatter clearing.
It’s easily accessible and safe so have fun with it.

1 Like

That’s honestly what I thought it might be, but it hasn’t happened since then. I really don’t know. I’m finishing up Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, then going to resume taking the Full-Spectrum Mindfulness course and implement that practice. Perhaps I’ll experience something similar with that. Too much to practice, too little time!

Try not to analyze, cling, or grasp at having a similar experience.
Appreciate it for what it was, allow for it to happen again, and accept it will not be up to you to decide when. :wink:

1 Like