8 – Subtle Sensations

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.

Subtle sensations like a feather touch
Subtle touch of a feather

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
  • —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
  • —Sadness
  • —Realizations / Release

If you don’t experience any of them, don’t worry, you’re not doing anything wrong.

Subtle Sensations from tree
Subtle sensations from nature

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.

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