When we start to meditate for the first time, we can experience certain side effects. These effects are ultimately all positive in nature even though they can seem a little strange or overwhelming at first. As the weeks go on, side effects can magnify a little bit before they begin to pass. I always recommend daily meditation for at least 20 minutes or as much as you are able. One hour's meditation per day is optimal, if you can make time for it during your busy schedule.
Side Effects Of Meditation
This is a common side effect of meditation. Many who begin to meditate for the first time experience mild to moderate headaches. These headaches may come on during meditation and last for hours afterwards.
When we meditate, our pineal gland gets a workout that it is not used to. The pineal gland is a gland situated in the centre of the brain, and consists of rods, cones and water just like a real eye. Hence the pineal gland is also known as the third eye. When we close our eyes and sink into darkness, the pineal gland activates. It activates while we are sleeping too, but during meditation we are still conscious. Meditation is like conscious sleep.
So by sitting still in silence and darkness, our pineal gland activates in a way that many are not accustomed to. Just like using your biceps for lifting weights, when you first begin to exercise, your muscles can ache afterwards. The same is true for the pineal gland activating, unblocking and being used for it's true purpose (communicating with creation) for the first time.
Feelings Of Turmoil
Meditation is associated with feelings of bliss, however, when we begin to meditate for the first time, the opposite can be true. During meditation, especially 'concentrative meditation' where we focus single pointedly on our breath or a visualized light or object, we are calming the mind, practising concentration, and not participating in thoughts or worries. We put mind-chatter to one side and allow our mind to experience feelings of calmness and peacefulness. This however can trigger our subconscious mind to begin to communicate with us; it at last has an opportunity to show us any repressed traumas or negative emotions residing within. At last we are silent and listening, therefore the subconscious mind takes the opportunity to ask us for healing.
Communication from the subconscious mind can come in the form of negative emotions that bubble up to the surface causing us to feel anxious, sad or even depressed at first. Negative emotions are a sign from the subconscious mind that something needs healing within. It's very important that we are present with negative emotions and trace them back to the memories that cause them. Feelings of turmoil can arise when we first start meditating because at last we are listening to what is within.
Over time through continued meditation, of course these feelings begin to wane. Meditation itself trains the mind into a state of stillness and calmness that we carry with us every day. So if at first you experience turbulant feelings, know that these will subside through continued meditation and inner work.
When we are meditating we are not usually aiming to experience visions or trips. If we undertake shamanic journeying, astral projection or remote viewing, then we invite these experiences to happen to us. However, many who practice meditation find themselves experiencing visuals that occur in the mind's eye. Some find themselves watching fractal like patterns, geometry, alien landscapes, past memories, past lives, even visions of the future. These visions tend to happen to us, without us trying to imagine anything.
I suggest that if you are practicing meditation for the purpose of focusing your concentration away from incessant thought or for the purpose of experiencing mindfulness, perhaps try to stay focused on these goals and allow visions to come to you another time. Then separately, if you would like to experience visions, put separate time aside to perform meditation for this purpose. Know that seeing visions during meditation is a natural side effect, and for many it is not a side effect it is something that is actively pursued.
Here is a quality beginner's guide to meditation to really get you going with meditation: Practical Meditation for Beginners: 10 Days to a Happier, Calmer You.
Some begin practicing meditation because they have heard about the benefits, then they unexpectedly find themselves experiencing a spiritual awakening. They may not have been on a spiritual path before but then meditation catalyses a shift in consciousness. The reason for this is that when we quiet the mind and remove external stimuli from our environment, the pineal gland is stimulated and we connect with creation in a way that we never have before. We begin to connect with the mass consciousness of Earth, the akashic records, our higher self and more. In this state we cannot help but download wisdom and information, at the same time triggering innate knowing of our true nature and potential residing within the subconscious mind. In other words, meditation triggers spiritual awakening, communication with spirit and remembering of those universal truths that we actually already know.
Another side effect of meditation is feeling energetic pulses, vibrations or buzzing throughout the body. As we begin to meditate, we connect with creation, opening up to the energies all around us. Less and less do we walk around in a three-dimensional bubble of our own making. Energies are free to move into our mind, body, spirit complex, flowing through us more freely. Meditation increases energy flow. This energy can be felt physically as pockets of negative energy are cleansed and cleared from our body. We feel this energy moving and flowing as it is replaced with new universal energies.
In addition to feeling this energy flowing within us, we can experience involuntary body movements such as swaying, nodding and arm and hand movements. Again this is a sign that energy is moving throughout, cleansing and clearing our mind, body, spirit complex.
Never Being The Same Again
Meditation is an amazingly positive and life altering experience when practiced regularly. After the initial side effects start to pass (if you have them), we experience more peace, love and joy in our lives. Many things that seemed important before, are no longer sources of worry for us. We begin to prioritise important things in life and see the way forward more clearly. Our mind resets to calmness and tranquillity by default, as if meditation is training our mind to be this way. We start to realise our true self, the self that is free of materialistic and egotistical illusion. Complete personality changes are often seen when someone starts to practice meditation on an ongoing basis, not only through spiritual awakening, but an entire shift in who we think we are, how we perceive reality, and how we interact with the world around us.