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What Are the Different Common Meditation Experiences?

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  • Written By: V. Sinnaeve
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 13 March 2014
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The different types of common meditation experiences include altered states of awareness and consciousness, including but not limited to reduced arousal, increased relaxation and well-being, altered brain wave activity, autonomic functioning and mystical experiences. Although these common experiences can be generally categorized, individuals who are interested in meditation should be aware that no two people’s meditation experiences are the same. Experiences during meditation depend on several factors, including the types of meditation performed, individual meditation techniques, individual states of awareness and consciousness and personal beliefs and values.

Concentrative meditation, such as Zen, yoga and Sufism, can lower levels of conscious awareness to help people who are doing the meditation achieve positive balanced states through focused breathing and concentration exercises, muscle and autonomic control, energy releasing, chanting mantras and practicing spirituality. Such meditation experiences can reduce electrodermal activity and change brain wave activity, hence reducing arousal levels and increasing relaxation. These experiences commonly lower breathing, lower heart rate, decrease muscle tension and enhance posture. They also increase concentration and change ways of thinking, among having other effects.

Mindfulness meditation can raise awareness levels to help individuals become calm and accepting in challenging situations. This heightened attentiveness can help desensitize individuals so that they do not become overwhelmed by unpleasant circumstances. Mindfulness meditation teaches people to face the uncomfortable through higher consciousness and apply this mindful awareness to their everyday situations. It often results in a positive, nonjudgmental state of being, allowing those who practice it to experience restful wakefulness.

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For some individuals, meditation can induce dreamlike states, often resulting in ineffable, unusual and transient meditation experiences. These altered states of awareness and consciousness might seem either passive or real, providing people with spiritual attainment and revelation along with an authoritative alternative source of belief. Others might become so relaxed and engaged in this form of conscious awakening that they feel as if they are in a trance.

People who are wondering what to expect from meditation should be satisfied in knowing that the outcomes generally are positive. Meditation can provide individuals with expanded, clear perspectives and teach them to live in the present and enjoy their impermanence. Although meditation experiences are different for everyone, meditating almost always leads to states of altered consciousness. Thus meditation commonly helps people learn the inner workings of their minds and recognize their apprehensions and desires. By learning to accept challenging situations, individuals commonly achieve peacefulness, leading them to personal restful wakefulness.

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