Scary Meditation Experience

by Sara


Hi Adam,

I have been meditating for 7 months now everyday and finding changes in my mood are improving and becoming aware of thoughts that enable me to not follow them at all and stay in my present moment.

But recently, last night in fact I was very focused on listening during meditation. As I concentrated on my breath and listening to the silence around me, I felt my eyes became locked, all thought dropped away, I soon entered into a void. I started to feel I was letting go of everything, and the feeling of immense joy surrounded me. 

But, suddenly my heart rate increased, hammering inside of my chest and an intense amount of energy rushed and surged inside my whole body. With my eyes still closed I tried to just be aware of it, but I felt if I kept going I was going to die! I felt that I was very close to an out of body experience, or going somewhere and noticed my breathing was slowing down while my heart raced, I felt it pulsate through out my whole body. I obviously became frightened and opened my eyes. I felt shaky all over and tried to calm myself down. 

Afterwards, I had so much energy in my body, though I did feel okay I wasn't scared once I stopped the meditation. I couldn't sleep at all last night, my body would just keep jerking as I slipped into sleep.

Do you have any idea what happened? Does this sound familiar to you? Am I meditating wrong? Do you have any advice on what happened?

Kind regards,



Hi Caragh. I would not say you are meditating wrong at all. All of this is fine, it's all okay. These kinds of experiences can happen, and they can feel terrifying. It felt like you were going to die, because the little self, the conditioned, mind-made entity called "me" was dying. This is not a physical death, but a dissolving of the unreal psychological self. You have noticed, I'm sure, that it all happened by itself - the listening, the absorption, the letting go, the joy, the terror - all was quite spontaneous. This can be a joyous and liberating experience, whilst at the same time, the limited illusory self does not want to dissolve, and so something inside becomes extremely scared. The mind generates a fear of the unknown, and tells you that you are dying. It is not true, it is just a trick of the mind. The fear of death, physical or otherwise, is generated by this limited, small sense of self, and ultimately meditation allows this limitation of identity to dissolve, or to be seen as unreal.

It is all fine. No need to fear. Even if fear comes up, let it happen. Some people have reported, some of them quiet famous sages or teachers, that before the mind-made self dropped, there was an intense fear of death immediately before. 

Whilst we can speak of experiences, there is still an ever-present awareness that remains. Throughout all experiences of life, however joyous, or terrifying (or both!), you are the awareness in which it all takes place. If any similar experiences happen again, they will not seem quite as terrifying, not such a massive shock.

The most important thing to say, I feel, is that when this kind of experience happened (which many would call a "good" one to have during meditation), you were not hunting for it. You were free of expectation, merely aware of the silence. The more I think of it, the more people I can think of who report terrifying experiences prior to or during liberating experiences, so it is nothing to be concerned about. Let your meditation continue, enjoy. This kind of experience just shows the old, known, tangible stuff is dropping off, and you are stepping into the mysterious unknown (or to speak more clearly: the energy of the little self is dissolving into its source). The mind fears this, but it is not to be feared. You will not become stupid or dead or just a blank zombie, you will find your human expression becoming even more alive, intelligent and spontaneous. 

Whilst it is a joy, for a while an energy inside may be revealed as very scared or shaky. Let it all happen. I am not sure what to make of the jerky energies that seemed to prevent sleep, other than to say if you drop your resistance to them, they will work their way out of the body far quicker, without you even demanding that they leave. It was likely residual fear, perhaps fear of losing consciousness, and so it would seem to shock you out of sleep. Nothing to worry about.

Most of us carry great fear inside. Let this fear emerge if it ever does again, surrender to it, and it will leave by itself. It will take you deeper. There is nothing to fear, let it be. 

It does not matter that you were shaken up or felt resistive in any way, even the resistance and sense of being shaken up is another appearance that emerges by itself. It may not happen again, perhaps it was necessary to get rid of some old fear, but whether it happens again or not - doesn't matter.

I enjoyed reading your message. There is a common assumption that spirituality or meditation is just some luxury indulgence, or that it should just be only peace and joy, but for a little bit, sometimes it can be a bit of a rollercoaster, and it shows that the consciousness is evicting its old fears. So all is fine. The awareness itself always remains the same.

Thanks for the question, I hope that helps somehow. If there is anything else you wish to ask, feel free.


Comments for Scary Meditation Experience

(from previous website)

Jul 09, 2014
Kundalini Experience 
by: Ra-Raela

Congratulations! You went to the void, and your body responded with a Kundalini experience.Unfortunately, your ego freaked out, and you cut it short. If your hadn't you might have ascended. Keep going to the void and ask your Higher Self to be in charge of the process. There is nothing to fear. You fill yourself with love, loose the ego, and voila' you are "there", where everyone wishes to go right now. 
Keep up the good work, and TRUST YOURSELF!

Jul 12, 2014
by: Mediatekk

Those are classic symptoms of a panic attack. 

Jul 13, 2014
Response back. 
by: Caragh

Thank you Adam, it's great to know that I am not going about meditation wrong and you are spot on when you say to notice the spontaneous of it all and how I watch how it all arises, I notice that the ego (I could be wrong here) thinks it's doing it by itself, that it's controlling it and creates this illusion that it's making it happen. Hope that makes sense. I have meditated again and it hasn't happened again, it's just the usual calmness that meditation brings, bringing this awareness that I have always been at peace but the busy mind creating the illusion that I am not at peace. 

Ra-Raela, thank you too for your comment, but I really have no idea what experience it was. I have read about what you say online and it didn't relate with me, however, I agree that I did freak out or should I say the ego freaked out and stopped the meditation, because it was thoughts that were questioning the experience and I was completely aware of all of that and that is why I felt fine after the meditation was over, I think it played on my mind because something like this has never happened to me before, anyway thank you for sharing. 

Mediatekk it was not a panic attack, I can assure you. I have suffered from panic attacks before and have had anxiety in the past and this experience felt nothing like that, because I was completely letting go, and the feelings I felt were amazing, and I was very aware of my heart racing and my slow breathing, I felt fine with all of that when it was happening, it was thought that came into my awareness that was telling me I was dying, and if you read Adam's response it might make sense to you as it did to me of what was actually happening. Also, to prove to you what I am saying, this experience would have lead to more and greater anxiety in hasn't! I still meditate and feel fine and no, the experience hasn't happened again. But, thank you though for sharing, it's very much appreciated. 

Jul 13, 2014
Similar experience 
by: Paul Blyth

Hi Caragh, I have had similar experience and I think Adams has hit the nail on the head. 
My ego fear will often appear soon after a deep meditation where I have felt pure calm.Thanks for asking this question,now I'm no longer going to be frightened knowing where the fear realy lies


May 06, 2015
Similar Experience 
by: Andrey

Hello everybody, 

About a year ago I had a similar experience. I felt complete bliss for a few moments in meditation, following by the most intense panic I have every felt which caused me to turn around. The difference with me is that I haven't been the same ever since. I now get frequent panic attacks, anxiety, staying present and meditating is impossible. I cannot let go and it feels like the experience broke my mind. Whenever I try to focus on something or stay present, there is a pulsating energy that prevents, or blocks my focus. I feel really stuck. Also this experience has caused my brain to be overactive but at the same time I have no more motivation and desire. But nothing brings me joy anymore. A year later I find myself without a job, divorced and quite hopeless, feeling like I have gone crazy and broke myself in the process. Can anybody recommend anything at all? 



May 10, 2015
by: Adam -

Hi Andrey, 

I don't know what to say, other than give up trying to fix yourself. Don't struggle against what the present experience is, no need to wish it to be different or regain some previous joy. Forget about all ideas of improvement or progression. Give the experience back to existence, the source and field in which the experience takes place, which is already allowing the experience to be as it is. Give it back to God, in other words. 


Sep 18, 2015
Fear in meditation 
by: Ivy

I was searching some answers online and I found this. I have similar issues. In first few months of my meditation everything was peacfull and I felt fresh afterwods but suddenly everything changed. Between 8 and 10 min I have this blitz of lightening and burning sensation in my chest and then tingling trough my hands and whole body. Somethimes it is easy seansation but somethimes it is so strong. One time was so strong that I also couldnt sleep in the evening beacuse every time I was about to feel a sleep the blitz arrived and tingling also. I try to relax and observe the sensations but I start to feel afraid and every time fear takes me over. This happens in shavasana and seated meditation and in yin yoga. And it happens every time now. I dont want to stop doing it but I am a bit scared now. I dont know do I need to stop or change the practice or what? And also I dont know is it normal? Somethimes I am afraid I am going insane. Thank you in advance. NAMASTE

Sep 22, 2015
by: Adam

Ivy's Question:

Feb 21, 2016
Fear / ego
by: David  

Not sure if anyone will see this but Adam thank you for for your question , I have had the exact experiences a few times , the fear is getting less and less each time I experience it. The void is an amazing , wordless experience . So happy ii am not going crazy or dieing . Thanks for the responses to Adams questiones as well helped sooooo much . Peace and love and light to all. 

Feb 21, 2016
by: Adam -

Thanks for your comment David, glad it could help. And yes indeed, thanks to everyone who has commented on this page.

Jul 13, 2016
Similar experience 
by: praj

Hi Adam, 
It was my first attempt to meditation. 
I was observing my breath and started loosing my consciousness. Felt like i am getting pulled in to  
some unknown space. 
It was just after 5 minutes when i started with meditation. I felt I am going in a deep sleep. 
And I was scared what if I don't understand how to come back to consciousness? 
I forcibly tried to come out of it, but it was very difficult. I forcefully opened my eyes. And felt a jerk in my head. This was wrong way to end the meditation. and my head started paining. 

I understand this fear is unnecessary fear. 
But could you please explain me the step by step procedure of how we go deep in meditation? When and how we decide that we should stop it now? and how systematically we come of it smoothly? 

Thank you in advance! 

Jul 13, 2016
by: Adam -

Hi Praj, 

Well, it seems you were going deep without any extra instructions needed. Meditation can quickly become a "doing" with a goal to achieve, and then we feel constantly stuck in a separate sense of self, one that goes in and out of meditation, one that has good sessions and bad sessions. 

I don’t think you need much advice, and I don’t really have any to give. It is the fear of death that comes up. "What if I lose all consciousness? What will happen if I can’t come out?" We never fear this when we go to sleep. I don’t think there are many who say "What if I don’t ever wake up again?" 

If the fear comes, let it come. It is a reflex, it comes by itself. 

An element of trust is required. Even when this closing down of consciousness began to happen, something was still there to know it was happening. 

I don’t know if you are doing any particular type of meditation. Some people set timers. It is always helpful afterwards to feel yourself grounded, connected to the earth and the surface you are sitting on. 

Meditation does not have to be limited to a certain time when you sit. Let your whole life unfold within your own spaciousness, let the forms be as they are, feel yourself as the space in which they play. 

Meditation might get rid of "you" altogether, so that just existence is left. If you are not there as a separate entity, there is no question of "stopping it". When it is time to move, you are moved. 

The experience you mentioned has passed, so don’t worry about it. 

Re-read the main response to the main question above, that seems to have all you’d need in dealing with the fear. 

Hope that can help,