So remember, the whole point of calming the body is to eliminate physical distractions. And remember how, the mind draws attention to whatever is screaming the loudest.
Well, when you calm the body using simple breathing exercises like we just did, because everything is calm and nothing is screaming very loudly, you will become aware of some very subtle sensations in your body.
Those subtle sensations are always there but usually everything else is screaming louder so you don’t notice them.Attuned Hermit
Here’s a little exercise for you while we’re still in a calm space.
- I want you to hold out your hand in front of you.
- Don’t wave it around or clench the fingers or anything. Just hold it perfectly still.
- Now close your eyes and ask yourself if your hand is still there.
- Just take a moment and see if you can answer that. Can you tell?
Hopefully you were able to detect a faint something. You might not be able to describe it. It’s not quite a tingling, but you were able to feel your hand and know that it was there.
What you’re feeling is life itself.
As you practice meditation more you will find you are able to sense more and more subtle things in your life. Illnesses in the body. Foods that you know are bad for you, you will be able to feel their affect on your body.
You may feel the influence other people have on your wellbeing. Surround yourself with happy people and you will feel your body respond positively. Stay close to someone who is constantly negative, you will be able to feel the change in energy and its effect on your body.
Maybe super subtle at first, but very profound if you’ve never experienced it.
Common Meditation Sensations
So, that’s the end of the first section on physical relaxation, but before we go further, I’d like to share a few things that you may experience during meditation.
These are fairly common and this is by no means a comprehensive list. But if you’ve never meditated before, they may catch you off guard.
- Feelings of Floating
- Feeling Heavy
- Feel like you’re Expanding / Contracting
- Feeling Hot / Cold
- Sensation of Energy Flowing
- Muscles spontaneously moving
- Vibrations / Wobbles
- Smells / Tastes
- Lights or flashes
- Sounds / Ringing in the ears
- Bliss / Ecstasy / Nirvana
- Flashbacks and memories
- Happiness / Giggles / Laughter
- Realizations / Release
If you don’t experience any of them, don’t worry, you’re not doing anything wrong.
And, don’t go looking for them to happen. The one thing with meditation is that as soon as you try to make something happen, usually the opposite will be true.
Because if you want something to happen, your mind is once again trying to control the situation, and the universe seems to know. So a lot of people get stuck on a plateau trying to force things to happen and forget the basics of “observing what is” and “letting go”.
“Simply allow everything to be as it is”.Satisfied Hermit
The next section starts the “Mental Relaxation” phase of the boot camp. So if you’re powering through the work, you might want to take a break right now.
Going back to our diagram, you see how tiny “physical relaxation” is. The next step is completely mental and you will need your strength to relax and let go.
Give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far. If all you ever get out of meditation are the health benefits of physical relaxation, you have already succeeded. Well done.
Meditation Boot Camp – Quick Navigation
- Meditation Roots – the history of meditation
- Why Meditate? – why do we need to meditate
- Physical Relaxation – the importance of physical relaxation for meditation
- Meditation Environment – how to set up the perfect environment for meditation
- Meditation Posture – different meditation postures that work for everyone
- Breathe Properly – both energize and relax your body by breathing properly
- Breathing Practice – simple breathing exercise before meditating
- Subtle Sensations – becoming aware of your body
- Stop the Mind – stopping the mind from chattering
- Entertain the Monkey – giving the mind a task during meditation
- Follow the Breath – focusing on breathing during meditation
- Simple Breathing Meditation – putting it all together in meditation
- Meditation is a Journey – make meditation a lifelong practice