Unusual Experiences During Meditation

"The Vajra Essence emphasizes above all that there is no consistency in the specific experiences from one individual to the next. Everyone's mind is so unimaginably complex that there is no way to predict with confidence the types of experiences each person will experience. Here is a list of just some of the kinds of meditative experiences that may arise during this training, especially when it is pursued in solitude for many hours each day, for months on end:

"The impression that all your thoughts are wreaking havoc in your body and mind, like boulders rolling down a steep mountain, crushing and destroying everything in their path

"A sharp pain in your heart as a result of all your thoughts, as if you had been pierced with the tip of a sword

"The ecstatic, blissful sense that mental stillness is pleasurable, but movement is painful

"The perception of all phenomena as brilliant, colored particles

"Intolerable pain throughout your body from the tips of the hair on your head down to the tips of your toenails

"The sense that even food and drink are harmful due to your being afflicted by a variety of physical disorders

"An inexplicable sense of paranoia about meeting other people, visiting their homes, or being in public places

"Compulsive hope in medical treatment, divinations, and astrology

"Such unbearable misery that you think your heart will burst

"Insomnia at night, or fitful sleep like that of someone who is critically ill

"Grief and disorientation when you wake up

"The conviction that there is still some decisive understanding or knowledge that you must have, and yearning for it like a thirsty person longing for water

"The emergence, one after another, of all kinds of afflictive thoughts, and being impelled to pursue them, as painful as that may be

"Various speech impediments and respiratory ailments

"The conviction that there is some special meaning in every external sound that you hear and form that you see, and thinking, "That must be a sign or omen for me," compulsively speculating about the chirping of birds and everything else you see and feel

"The sensation of external sounds and voices of humans, dogs, birds, and so on all piercing your heart like thorns

"Unbearable anger due to the paranoia of thinking that everyone else is gossiping about you and putting you down

"Negative reactions when you hear and see others joking around and laughing, thinking that they are making fun of you, and retaliating verbally

"Because of your own experience of suffering, compulsive longing for others' happiness when you watch them

"Fear and terror about weapons and even your own friends because your mind is filled with a constant stream of anxieties

"Everything around you leading to all kinds of hopes and fears

"When you get into bed at night, premonitions of others who will come the next day

"Uncontrollable fear, anger, obsessive attachment, and hatred when images arise, seeing others' faces, forms, minds, and conversations, as well as demons and so forth, preventing you from falling asleep

"Weeping out of reverence and devotion to your gurus, your faith and devotion in the objects of religious devotion, your sense of renunciation and disillusionment with the cycle of existence, and your heartfelt compassion for sentient beings

"Rough experiences, followed by the disappearance of all your suffering and the saturation of your mind with radiant clarity and ecstasy, like pristine space

"The experience that gods or demons are actually carrying away your head, limbs, and vital organs, leaving behind only a vapor trail; or merely having the sensation of this happening, or it occurring in a dream

"A sense of ecstasy as if a stormy sky had become free of clouds

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"While many of us would likely respond to some of those disagreeable experiences by stopping the practice or seeking medical help, Dudjom Lingpa actually called them all 'signs of progress'! It truly is progress when you recognize how cluttered and turbulent your mind is. But the deeper you venture into the inner wilderness of the mind, the more you encounter all kinds of unexpected and, at times, deeply troubling memories and impulses that manifest both psychologically and physically. At times, these may become so disturbing that psychological counseling or medical treatment may be necessary. Dudjom Lingpa's advice is to stay a steady course in the practice, continuing to observe whatever comes up, without distraction and without grasping. This is a tall order, but it is the way forward. There is no way to probe the depths of consciousness except by way of the psyche, with all its neuroses and imbalances. It should come as some solace that none of these unnerving experiences are freshly introduced into your mind by meditative practice. Whatever comes up was already there, previously hidden by the turbulence and dullness of the mind."