What do you feel as a first-time meditator?
You wouldn’t be alone if you felt like you were journeying into the unknown with a sense of trepidation, excitement, and curiosity about what might happen. I know I did! One of the things that made me feel confident as I moved forward was knowing what I would experience. I’ve dived back into the first meditation diary I wrote over a decade ago to pull out those early experiences and put them in this blog for you. Here they are:
How does a first-time meditator feel?
Some of the things that you may feel uncomfortable with as a first-time meditator are sitting;
With your inner thoughts…
These feelings may come once, two or three times or not at all. If you get them, don’t worry about them. They are literally just sensations. Don’t label them ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in any way, just notice that they’re there. Then notice after you’ve done two or three meditations, these sensations have gone.
The idea of sitting in silence with your inner thoughts may seem a bit alien at first, but you’ll soon become used to it. So much so that you may find that you are getting really irritated and distracted by any noise happening around you! This is good on two counts.
First, you’ve noticed noises.
Second, you’ve noticed that you’re irritated by them!
Both of these feelings are simply part and parcel of meditating and can be described as ‘distractions’. Now all you need to do is bring your distracted mind back to your meditation focus using this process:
You’ve noticed noises. Bring your attention away from the noises and back onto what you’re meditating on.
You’ve noticed you’re getting irritated by noises. Let go of the irritation. Come back to what you’re meditating on.
The noises are nothing important. Just ignore them. Come back to what you’re meditating on.
A skill that you’ll easily develop with regular meditation is the ability to ignore these sorts of distractions!
Sitting with your inner thoughts
Similarly to being disturbed by external noise, your first experiences of meditating will be disturbed by internal mental noise, aka your thoughts!
Your mind may feel like it’s racing and chattering. Busy and packed full of thoughts.
Realising this is happening is a brilliant mindfulness-awareness experience you’ve just had. You’ve noticed you’re distracted by thoughts. Now, go back to re-acquiring your focus on your meditation and let all of those ‘thought-distractions’ go.
Sitting doing nothing
You may find the idea of sitting ‘doing-nothing’ disconcerting. Don’t worry, ‘doing-nothing’ won’t last long because you’ll soon notice your thoughts jumping in to grab your attention. As soon as you notice this, take your mind back to your meditation focus. Rinse and repeat!
Other sensations you may experience
You may feel heavy, sleepy, dull-minded or light-headed.
Breathing may feel like it’s lighter, perhaps it feels like it has disappeared altogether.
You may get feelings of warmth or tingles or you may notice your heartbeat.
All of those are just a really nice sign of deep relaxation taking place. Other feelings you may get could be tummy gurgles, feeling like you’re floating, seeing colors or dreamlike images. Time may feel like it’s slowed down.
Any thought or feeling that you have in your meditation is transitory.
In meditation land, we just call these ‘sensations’. They’re nothing important. Just observe and experience them. Then let them go and bring your mind back to your meditation focus.
Are you doing it right?
You may be tempted to start labeling your experiences as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’. A ‘bad’ label might be a thought such as;
I can’t do it.
I don’t know what I’m doing.
It doesn’t seem to be working.”
Dump the labels! You don’t need them. Instead, think of it this way. You’ve noticed what’s going on in your mind, what you’re thinking and feeling. This means you’ve been Mindful! This is exactly the skill that you’re trying to strengthen and cultivate, so pat yourself on the back, you’ve done a good job!
Your Meditation Starter Kit
I’ve gathered all this info and more into a downloadable PDF called ‘Your Meditation Starter Kit’. It includes the five-step guide to starting your own meditation practice which I think you’ll find super useful! Download it by clicking here.
If you have any questions about meditation experiences, I’d love to hear from you! Email me and I’ll reply as soon as I can.