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Home Blog What Does Meditation Feel Like? – Meditation Experiences

What Does Meditation Feel Like? – Meditation Experiences

Category: How to Meditate | Popular

Experiences and feelings in meditation

Many new (and not-so-new) meditators wonder: what kind of meditation experiences should I be having? What should I be feeling? Is my practice even working? It’s easy to forget that meditation requires patience . Why? Because the potential benefits of our practice may be less obvious than the obstacles in meditation , especially at first.

Almost all meditators find themselves distracted by thoughts when they try to settle down to meditate. Somehow, instead of staying focused on the sensation of breathing, the mind naturally pulls us in the direction of our to-do lists, hopes, and worries. When this happens, we might think there is something wrong and wonder if we’ll ever be able to meditate properly. There are so many other things that need to be done – maybe, we think, we’re just wasting our time when we simply sit.

With time, though, our ability to overcome the inevitable hindrances of agitation and dullness and remain with the practice increases, and we start having subtle experiences that confirm that our meditation practice is working. We notice that our thoughts and sensations are less likely to disturb the feelings of completeness and peace that meditation produces. It may take longer than we anticipated, but sooner or later we’re going to discover that the journey is the important part: in fact, the journey is the goal.

Meditation Feelings & Experiences

When you start naturally tuning into your thoughts and feelings during meditation, you’ll know that something is definitely working. Here are some indicators to watch for:

  • Your concentration improves

When you can easily concentrate on one activity at a time, you’re doing something right. The practice of mindfulness meditation emphasizes the non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. You feel less stressed about the future and more in tune with the here and now. As your concentration improves, so does your ability to work on a single task efficiently. Interestingly, even when you aren’t formally meditating, you are becoming more aware of your mind from moment to moment. The act of realizing that you’re thinking is actually a significant step in the direction of mindfulness!

Try the exercise of counting your outbreaths : if you can go from one to ten without losing count even once, then you’ve made significant strides. You can also tune into how thoughts and sensations that arise during your meditation practice feel. Check in, then let go. Remember, you are not trying to become a great counter of the outbreaths, but a greatly mindful and dedicated meditator.

  • When other people notice the changes

Although we might be experiencing different meditation sensations while practicing, we may not be aware of any physical or psychological changes in our everyday lives until someone points them out. Sometimes we’re so fixated on meditation experiences that we lose focus of what’s really important: the subtle results that come from simply being present. The thoughts and sensations that occur in meditation are fleeting and will vary from session to session, but the positive changes that take place in our minds and actions are more stable and are apt to be noticed by those around us.

  • Having amazing meditation experiences

You may feel like you’re having amazing meditation experiences… and you may not. Any meditation teacher worth their salt will tell you that experiences aren’t what it’s all about. Being aware of what you are experiencing in the moment and maintaining a position of impartial observation is what it’s all about. Whether you know what you’re feeling or thinking, or you’re aware of your sense perceptions, or you’re aware of your breath, or you’re aware of amazing meditation experiences, that awareness is the sign that your meditation is spot on. Overall it’s best to let go of the idea of trying to have experiences. Ironically, that’s when you get better at meditation. 

It’s likely that some of your meditation sensations will feel a bit odd. For instance, during practice your sense perceptions may seem heightened or different than usual. This is completely normal; in fact, such meditation experiences may be an indication that your practice is evolving. The key here is to resist the temptation to try to replicate or analyze – or even reject – the experiences. It’s when you can maintain a very natural and objective awareness of whatever arises without grasping at it one way or another that you’ve really made progress.

What does deep meditation feel like?

Meditation teaches us that there’s a difference between trying to analyze what we’re feeling and simply observing it. Analyzing and acting on thoughts and feelings is what we’re pretty much always doing; it’s a very strong habit, and one that most people aren’t even aware of. In meditation, we learn that there’s another way to approach mental events: we can let them go.

There are, however, certain feelings that accompany deep meditation . When meditating deeply, you gradually loosen the restraints of self-centeredness. As you ease into the practice, your mind shifts to a more subtle kind of awareness. You become less self-conscious. Physical pain and emotional stressors can vanish for a time, and there can be a profound and abiding feeling of peace.

If you notice that you’re having pleasant meditation thoughts, and even getting lost in these thoughts, realize that they too are just thoughts, and come back to your breath. There’s no limit to what the creative mind can come up with when it has the space! Embrace the various thoughts and feelings that arise during meditation and learn to appreciate everything that travels through your mind . This recognition and letting go is an essential component of the mindful path , and it’s one you have power over – unlike trying to pick and choose your meditation experiences.

Another thing that might happen when you’re meditating deeply is that your experience of time changes. Sometimes, time seems to pass by faster than you anticipated – you may have been sitting for twenty minutes but it seems like it’s only been ten. Other times the opposite happens and time seems to stand still. Also, breathing generally slows down during deep meditation because the body is extremely relaxed.

There you have it, a detailed explanation of what it feels like to meditate. You can try it out for yourself with amazing teachers who can coach you in free meditation online courses . What are you waiting for?

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My Meditation Experience

My Meditation Experience

10 minutes.

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Today is my first day of the meditation session. It seems more difficult than I expected. Concentration seems to drift away easily with the slightest of destructions taking away my attention. The rhythm of the breath seems to be averagely fast.

Friday Day 2 - 5.50 am

Considering that I may remember something I hadn't done, I wake up ten minutes earlier. This must be done today is my motto for the day which happens to be my motto every time I do something that is difficult to other people as well. I am able to concentrate for a few minutes but many to me think of everything around me without particular focus but at the end the feeling is all success.

Saturday Day 3 - 9.00 pm

15 minutes.

At first unwilling to have the session, I nonetheless commit myself and the decision seems to be rewarding as I am able to have a deep insight and focus entirely on my subject of meditation. I feel an inward peace and calmness

Sunday Day 4 - 6.30 am

I have to do this today. Finally I am able to concentrate which as many will argue and which might be true, due to last night's occurrences. I have a deep insight into all that I have achieved since childhood, the successes, the awards and the accolades. The sessions bring a form of relaxation as I am able to focus my thoughts on one thing.

Monday Day 5 - 9.00 am

I decide to hold the session in a different location that is my bedroom in order to see the new changes that may occur. I focus my thoughts and hear my breathing pattern which is at first high and then slow towards the end. I feel calm and ready for the day.

Tuesday Day 6 - 10.00 pm

I finally feel comfortable having the session in the sitting room posture check, environment check and surprisingly session check. Yes, surprising because the latter happens in the unwanted manner no matter the condition. I meditate for ten minutes and the focus now seems to be an easy thing to accomplish.

Wednesday Day 7 - 9.00 pm

20 minutes.

Is this a day of the week? According to the meditation schedule it looks like it is not. Anyway I have to do this in order to ensure progress which at first was not evident. I am now able to focus on the pattern of the breath which is now slow and with a definite pattern. The progress is impressive. I feel peace and serenity and my body feels relieved.

Thursday Day 8 - 6.00 am

I think about the coming week which must be a success and the resolutions for the week which honestly, using past statistics will most probably not come to pass. I can now comfortably say that my concentration is fair and I am able to shift my focus almost entirely to the session. I am able to feel an improvement of my health with certain common ailments such as headaches now almost forgotten. The body and soul seem to be adjusting and responding well to the sessions.

Friday Day 9 - 9.00 pm

With the environment being friendly, I still find it hard to keep my fingers off the phone. The noise from the message notifications spoils the otherwise quiet environment. I think of various things but each at its own time which was not possible in the first days of the session.

Saturday Day 10 - 6.00 am

I have a session which up to now seems the most successful or to motivate myself, successful. I feel calm after the religious session which involves self-questioning about my values.

Sunday Day 11 - 5.55 am

25 minutes.

The progress I am making is evident and motivates me. I have a session which is relatively successful and am able to focus my thoughts away from the stresses and pressure of life which has a major effect on my mental sanity.

Monday Day 12 -8.00 pm

I settle down and I am able to adjust to the meditation sessions quickly which was not the case at first. The therapeutic effects are evident as I am able to feel better and at peace. I can now focus on my breathing pattern which is steady and I notice reduction in my stress levels.

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student opinion

What Are Your Experiences With Meditation?

What strategies do you use to calm your mind, diminish stress or get through a crisis?

meditation experience essay

By Shannon Doyne

Find all our Student Opinion questions here.

Do you have any effective ways to protect yourself from the distractions and stressors of daily life? Or to quiet your mind? Have you ever tried meditating or practicing mindfulness?

In “ My Week of ‘Noble Silence ,’” Caren Osten Gerszberg writes about her experiences at a silent retreat where she wasn’t supposed to use a phone, read a book or even make eye contact for a week:

We woke at 5:30 a.m. to the clang of a brass bell for the day’s first sit at 6 a.m. All meals were eaten in silence, save for the clanking of silverware and unavoidable sneezes and coughs. Talking was permitted only in a few instances: during small-group meetings scheduled with each teacher; after each evening’s dharma talk — delivered by a teacher on a specific Buddhist teaching or practice — when time was allotted for asking questions; and during one hour of “mindful open time” on the retreat’s final afternoon.

She explains some of the rules participants observed during the retreat and their intended effect:

Not speaking to the other yogis was easier than I’d expected. We were asked to keep “noble silence,” which in addition to verbal quiet meant not reading (I cheated on this one), not journaling, and averting our eyes when passing others to give them a sense of spiritual refuge. Exceptions were made, for people whose kitchen jobs involved interaction with others. Being together but silent forms a “tremendous community,” said Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher and co-founder of the retreat center. “There’s an intensification with silence, where you don’t have to present yourself as interesting or funny, and there’s a lot of freedom or joy in that.”

Finally, she reflects on what she sought from the experience, and what she feels she attained:

Did a week of silence change my life? I hadn’t come on retreat in search of that kind of epiphany (I have a therapist for that). I came rather seeking an adventure, and a deeper knowledge of the power of meditation that only extended time can give. The week had given me a sort of spalike experience for my mind, protected from the distractions and stressors of daily life.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

Have you ever tried mindfulness or meditation — practices that focus on the present moment and being aware of your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations? What was the experience like for you? Is meditation or mindfulness a practice you hope to include in your daily life? Why or why not?

Did Ms. Osten Gerszberg’s description of a silent retreat appeal to you? Would you be interested in doing something similar, perhaps for a few hours, a whole day or even a week?

The article mentions again and again the role and importance of silence. Do you feel you need silence at times? If so, when? Would your life be better with more quiet time? Why or why not?

Do you think schools should teach meditation or mindfulness? Should the practice become a core part of the curriculum, like math, science, language arts and social studies? Why or why not?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

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‘Meditation Completely Changed My Life’

Cool! Meditation on the Rocks

Learning New Things is Stressful

By its very nature, education is stressful because education involves developing new thinking processes which ‘startle’ our unconscious minds, leading to a fight or flight physical response, which in turn prepares us more for running away than deep and meaningful thinking.

Long-term learning requires the building of new physical connections in the brain and this does not happen well when we are feeling stressed.

Here at High Performance Learning, we have found that meditation has helped many of our students (even quite young ones) learn how to manage their stress levels, and so learn more effectively.

Meditation is Not Just a Stress Management Tool

Just treating meditation as a stress management tool misses the point of the practice. Mediation is a tool for developing a form of self-awareness called mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to watch what is going on in your mind and your body in a detached way rather than just being caught up in your thoughts and actions. This mindfulness enables you to develop skills that make you more emotionally and intellectually intelligent. Mindfulness makes you a more effective learner.

You may have heard me say these things before so I thought you would find it informative to hear the experiences Rob Green has had since he started mediating – so I asked Rob to write about his experiences. Rob is one of our clients who, as an adult, has overcome the learning problems that had been holding him back throughout his childhood and early adulthood. When he first started working with us he was in a very stressed state and was drinking heavily. He has now finished his university degree and stopped drinking completely – just a few of the benefits he has had from meditating for about an hour a day.

Two years after beginning meditation you wouldn’t recognise Rob from before – the transformation has been dramatic. I was very pleased when he agreed to my request to share his thoughts with you. Here is what he had to say:

Rob Green’s Experience of Meditation

I started meditating in January 2011 for 30 minutes twice per day after Chris Brooks recommended that I do so as part of my personal development.

I have stuck to that routine almost without fail (on odd occasions in the early months I missed one session per day but ALWAYS did at least one) and now I often meditate for more than 30 minutes per session because the benefits of doing so make it a no-brainer.

Meditation has changed my life for the better, in fact after only a few days of meditating and experiencing this ‘new way’, I realised that life without meditation felt more chaotic, overwhelming and stressful.

The important thing to note from my experience is that, while I knew I was stressed and overwhelmed before, it took meditation to uncover the extent of it.

Meditation increased my self awareness, but most importantly, gave me a better life by helping me manage my thoughts and emotions.

The Benefits of Meditation

Below are some of the benefits that i have derived from meditating as part of my daily routine:.

  • Increased calmness
  • Perspective
  • A heightening of the senses and awareness of how the body is feeling
  • Increased ability to concentrate
  • A greater sense of well-being which for me manifests in eating better food and not drinking alcohol. I now understand what feeling healthy is and because of the meditation the bad feelings associated with junk food and alcohol are magnified. Tip: If I have had a hard day I meditate for 5 minutes instead of having a beer and it gives me more euphoria, more calmness and no negative side effects
  • A better quality of sleep
  • Increased self awareness
  • Increased patience
  • The ability to concern myself with the present
  • Being aware of the fact that it is up to me how I view what happens to me in my life
  • The ability to differentiate between neuroses and issues that are real and in need of attention
  • Improved performance in sport (tennis in my case) to the point where I think without meditation I would have lost some matches. I won a match in my opinion due to meditation within 2 weeks of starting to meditate.
  • Some may argue with me on this but I feel as though I am a more pleasant person to have a conversation with.

My Experience Of Meditation

  • During meditation it is important not to worry about ‘not doing it properly’ or whether or not you are deriving any benefit from it, or perhaps you feel like you are thinking too many thoughts or need to be doing something else.
  • The human brain is a thought machine and does not operate in a linear way like a computer so try not to worry about the fact that thoughts are constantly appearing and try to live in the current moment which is one of the key skills that you will acquire from regular meditation.
  • I view my meditation as the act of sitting back and watching myself and my mind
  • While on one hand I try to control my thoughts to a certain extent (by counting breaths or following the advice of guided meditation audio that I utilised to get myself into the routine early in my meditation career), during the process I do not get frustrated or agitated when other thoughts take over.
  • I have found that as I have become more experienced and ‘better’ at meditating, that towards the end of a session when my mind is calm and still, it is like watching myself in a mirror but with my eyes closed and all of a sudden I have an acute awareness of every part of my body.
  • As my meditation practice has developed I find that keep finding out things about myself that I didn’t realise before, and things I didn’t want to know or had been hiding from myself . . . meditation is that powerful!

I Haven’t Got the Time Not to Meditate

In closing I would like to address one of the most common objections that I hear from people – when I suggest to them that meditation would be of great benefit to their lives: ‘I haven’t got time to meditate.’

Well, having meditated daily for over 2 and a half years I am of the opposite view: I haven’t got time not to meditate because without meditation I am far less effective in my daily and nightly activities.

Rob Green 16/9/2013

Thanks Rob.

Rob learned to meditate using some of my Guided Meditations. Using Guided Meditations is an easy way to get started with meditation.

I have also written a number of other articles about the benefits meditation – especially in terms of how it will improve your learning.

Chris Brooks Principal High Performance Learning

I welcome your comments. You can add them below.

Reader Interactions

Allan Cheruiyot says

June 4, 2017 at 3:10 pm

I thank Rob Green for sharing with us his experience. Since I started Meditating in 2015,meditation has changed me. I used to get angry even with small things and I was emotional but now the ten to fifteen minutes meditation has benefited me. I can now manage to control my emotions and stress whether there is money or not.


October 10, 2017 at 4:45 am

How do I meditate to get money to come to me?

hploffice says

October 10, 2017 at 11:06 am

I’m sorry to say that meditation is not magic – it won’t bring money – or any thing else external to you.

Meditation is about bringing you internal changes. It will improve your thinking ability and your emotional stability. These things will make you more effective in the world. You could choose to use this added effectiveness to make more money.

Chris Brooks

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