Have you encountered random images during meditation, leaving you curious and slightly unnerved?
Are you searching for a deeper meaning behind those experiences?
It’s completely natural to feel this way and rest assured, you’re not alone. Encountering images, colors, or any other visual stimulus while meditating can indeed evoke intense emotions.
In this article, we will strive to shed light on the significance of these images seen during meditation, explore some common images and colors that may appear, and provide any additional information that might help improve your understanding.
- What Does It Mean to Have Visions During Meditation?
- What should be our response to images seen during transcendental meditation?
- Deciphering Images Seen During Meditation
- Deciphering Images Seen During Meditation: Classification of 5 Symbolic Meanings
- Some people are naturally prone to visions
- Are visions signs of your third eye-opening?
- What to do if your visions overwhelm you?
- Meditative Visions: Positive Vs. Negative
- Key Points To Remember!
What Does It Mean to Have Visions During Meditation?
Some folks experience visions during meditation. A “vision” is defined as a sensation beyond the norm that seems real to us yet can’t be seen by others. This can involve mental images or even perceptions of smell and sound, despite them not being there. Though this phenomenon isn’t common, it’s been reported enough times to deserve exploration.
Visions tend to arise during the zone between waking and sleeping, often called the ‘hypnogogic state’. There’s a misconception that having visions during meditation means unlocking the “third eye.”
If mindfulness is all about being mindful of the present moment, what is the role of visions in the process?
- On one side you have “The Believers”, who see visions during meditation as a sign of divine intervention. But on the other side are “The more skeptical minds”, who argue that visions during meditation are just a distraction and that the ultimate goal of meditation isn’t unlocking some kind of supernatural ability.
- Some people believe that having visions during meditation symbolizes the opening of the Third Eye, the symbol of insight and enlightenment. But according to the more skeptical minds, this is nothing more than a misguided myth. The real goal of meditation is to cultivate mindfulness, awareness, presence, and serenity.
When you reach a state between sleep and wakefulness during meditation, visions tend to appear. Many Zen meditators see these visions as ‘mara’, illusions that distract them from their meditating experience. They argue that these visions are just dream-like, visual thoughts and that you should simply observe them and then let them pass.
Many meditation teachers affirm that having visions during meditation can mean that you’ve forgotten your sense of self and experienced a sense of peace and joy. If the visions are real, they could be seen as a gift from a higher power or an insight that could have a significant impact on your life.
If you have true visions, you will be able to tell they are genuine, as they will be thoroughly unique from anything you have experienced before. Additionally, you will sense a sense of elevation and a deep transformation within yourself. Meditation teachers make it clear that, if you want to aspire to such visions, you should have all your energy focused on your Third Eye and make sure the Ajna chakra is open.
Both skeptics and believers agree that visions should not be the focus of your meditation. Instead, concentrate on increasing calmness, decreasing desire for worldly things, and learning to accept life’s challenges. So, which side do you support?
What should be our response to images seen during transcendental meditation?
During transcendental meditation, it’s crucial to recognize thoughts, emotions, and sensations as they emerge and let them go without resisting or making a big deal out of them. If you encounter a vision while meditating, simply acknowledge it and allow it to pass like everything else. Visions are incredibly realistic forms of thought with powerful allure. Attempting to hold onto, interpret, analyze, or reproduce the vision will cause distraction, taking you away from meditation. Upon recognizing this, just smile, pause, and return your focus to your breath.
Cultivating clarity and awareness is the primary goal of meditation. Experiencing visions during meditation and acting upon them is comparable to chasing a mirage in the desert, hoping for a water source. Both perspectives offer no real value.
Zen meditation instructors often advise students to ignore any visions that may appear during meditation, referring to them as “mara” – illusions meant to distract from the overall meditative experience. By disregarding visions, you continue to practice releasing distractions and maintaining mindfulness in each moment.
The meditative journey
Meditation isn’t a one-time thing, but rather a process. As committed meditators, we make time for meditation every day.
Khenpo Dharma Mitra, the renowned Tibetan scholar and meditation instructor, teaches that it takes time and patience to learn how to let go and live in the present moment. According to Khenpo, meditation helps us stay positive and content, which is the truest path to happiness. Regular practice of meditation can also bring about measurable health benefits like reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Plus, it has the power to bring out our joy, love, and compassion. Nothing else can provide such amazing results.
A well-known story is told about a young Buddhist nun who experienced some intense visions while meditating – one of them being a vision of the Buddha! She was so excited that she hurried to her abbess to tell her all about it. The abbess replied, “Don’t let the Buddha take your focus away. Stick with your practice and he’ll eventually go away.” This story has two important lessons: the mind tends to create what we want the most, and the main purpose of meditation is to learn to let go of any visions (or thoughts, emotions, or sensations) that prevent us from fully living the present moment.
If you yearn for a mythical experience, your mind could manifest visions for you to explore during meditation. These might seem more alluring than the act of inhaling and exhaling! But please understand that these visions are just manifestations of your dreams and wishes, and don’t interpret them too deeply. They are nothing tangible, and, much like anything else, if you don’t cling to these projections they will naturally fade away.
Deciphering Images Seen During Meditation
Experiencing spontaneous imagery is a normal occurrence during meditation
When you meditate, it typically takes a while to settle into your practice. At first, your mind will be filled with everyday thoughts. But if you are doing it right, these thoughts and mental chatter will eventually start to decrease, and your mind will become more visual.
This change occurs because the frequency of your brain waves changes. There is a frequency band known as the alpha frequency, which lies between conscious and subconscious activity. When energy enters this frequency, it creates a bridge between conscious and unconscious states.
Ordinarily, conscious thoughts are verbal, while subconscious thoughts are more visual and symbolic. What spills through from the depths of your mind can be vivid and seem real. However, during everyday meditation, your visuals are likely to be more like visual thoughts.
Which meditation techniques can lead to visions?
Meditative experiences, such as visions, may appear while practicing various types of meditation techniques, such as mindfulness (Vipassana or Antar Mauna), meditative singing (kirtan), and yoga postures. The breathing exercises like Nadi Shodhana Pranayama and Ujjayi Pranayama often lead to the most vivid visions.
The more you practice, the more opportunities there are for visions to appear. You have a greater chance of having an intense meditative experience, such as a vision, during a retreat or other dedicated intensive yoga and meditation practice periods, as this allows you to connect more deeply with your subconscious mind.
Deciphering Images Seen During Meditation: Classification of 5 Symbolic Meanings
Have you ever witnessed any unusual visions during meditation? It could be startling or even lovely and comforting. These images can vary from simple to intricate, leaving you puzzled.
But what are these meditative visions? If you research online, you’ll find loads of examples of the types of images you could come across in a meditation session.
The 5 most commonly seen visions during meditation are as follows:
Seeing Human Body/ Parts
During meditation, seeing a glimpse of the eyes can be a beautiful sign. This symbolizes the opening of your Third Eye, which is located on your forehead. It denotes your inner knowledge and wisdom and is responsible for your ability to interpret symbols and dreams. It also governs your inner sight or psychic ability.
Seeing faces during meditation is a sign of an open Third Eye. These faces, drawn by your energy, will often be those of departed loved ones who you need at that moment, or spiritual guides who guide and support you.
This vision happens when you encounter your true Self. When that moment comes, pause and ask yourself a question. Then, listen and see if you have a message for yourself, because your inner self, your divine part, and your soul is always guiding you to become the best version of yourself.
When you meditate and see a baby, the most probable interpretation is that it’s your unborn baby (from this life or another) wanting to establish a connection with you. This vision could also be a sign that an important event is about to happen or that you must begin working on a new project.
Seeing Colors and light
Meditation can often involve visions of color and light. For example, when someone is feeling blissful, they may experience a vision of a brilliant light.
- Golden Light
The golden light is a symbol of our personal aura and energy. During meditation, it could be a sign of a divine presence, a compassionate being that can help us overcome any fear and bring us a feeling of satisfaction. All of us have this energy source within us, although we can easily forget about it.
- An Angel
Angels in meditation symbolize ease and tranquility. They often appear to people when they need assistance and guidance, therefore it could signify that you are in a difficult situation and require assistance.
Seeing Natural Elements
- The Moon
The moon signifies birth, rebirth, mortality, knowledge, and intuition during meditation. Envisioning a full moon while meditating implies a sense of completeness or understanding regarding an aspect of your life. Witnessing a crescent moon in meditation suggests the presence of an unfulfilled path, ambition, or goal.
- The Sun
During meditation, seeing the sun is a sign of enlightenment and inner peace. It brings a sense of goodwill, serenity, awareness, and abundance. The sun carries divine power, bringing energy and positivity to your life and filling it with warmth and light.
- The Stars
Star visions during meditation display a beautiful contrast, signifying light amidst the darkness. If you’re facing a challenging period in life and witness a star while meditating, it’s a sign that you’ll soon triumph over your struggles. Stars in meditation often represent a happy ending on the horizon.
Water is often seen as an effective visualization while meditating as it aids in concentrating. It is a pure element that conveys your need to discard any negative feelings, such as stress or anxiety. It is also a symbol of change (water is constantly altering forms) which could imply that something in your life requires alteration.
- The Trees
When you see a tree during meditation, it’s a sure sign of growth and rebirth. Trees are said to represent physical and spiritual nourishment, regeneration, abundance, harmony, and liberation. It is a sign of positive things either happening in your life now or in the future.
- A Lotus Flower
In both Buddhism and Hinduism, the lotus flower is a significant symbol. During meditation, seeing a lotus flower represents enlightenment. The lotus, naturally found growing in muddy environments, symbolizes hope, renewal, and resurrection. A vision of a lotus flower indicates that you will overcome any current challenges through determination and persistence.
During meditation, many animals may appear in your vision. Each one has its own special meaning, such as strength, courage, power, wisdom, healing, and others. You may even see multiple animals at once.
Some images of animals are explained below:
Dove imagery in meditation represents peacemaking. In your present life path, you might need to mend significant relationships, requiring the dove’s help to establish harmony. The dove also symbolizes the beginning of rejuvenation and spiritual development in your life.
- A Snake
Visions of snakes are highly symbolic. Seeing a snake could be a sign that you need to be more aware of your surroundings and know when to act. It can also signify a need for balance and the capacity to stay composed in chaotic circumstances.
Additionally, it could be a reminder to let go of some bad habits and make some changes for the better. Snakes, in particular, might be pointing to the awakening of your kundalini – the divine energy that rises up from the base of the spine.
- An Eagle
Visualizing an eagle during meditation is usually a sign to pursue your dreams. Eagles don’t sit back, they focus and soar toward their goals. The image is telling you to trust your instincts and take steps towards achieving your aspirations.
- An Elephant
Elephants can be a sign of cooperation in meditation; if you haven’t been working with others, it may be time to start. They can also be a reminder that you have more power and strength than you think and that you may be called to take the lead in the future.
- An Owl
Owls represent maturity, knowledge, and power. When an owl appears during meditation, it can indicate that you need to pay attention to your inner voice and evaluate your current journey from all possible perspectives. Owl visions during meditation may also signify that you should pursue your dreams while everyone else is asleep, similar to owls.
- A Lion
The lion is often used to represent strength and personal power. During meditation, seeing a lion can be a sign that you should tap into your inner strength. Visualizing a lion during meditation also suggests that you should trust your instincts and go with your heart, as it will lead you to reach your full potential and find joy.
- A Wolf
Seeing a wolf during meditation is an indicator that you need to rely on your intelligence to overcome an obstacle or to employ it more in your day-to-day life. Furthermore, wolf visions indicate your natural yearning for liberty and autonomy.
Seeing Geometric shapes
During meditation, it’s not unusual to experience moving geometric figures and designs, such as repeating ornaments, fractals, and mandalas. Some meditators believe that these visuals are related to the energy currents they feel in their body.
- A Door
A Door in meditation symbolizes courage, opportunity, and fresh starts. It can also reflect privacy, secrets, and hospitality. A locked door might mean that your goals are out of reach or that you’re the subject of gossip. On the other hand, an open door suggests that your wishes might come true soon.
- The Pyramids
The pyramids were constructed in 2550 BC, without the help of the machinery we have today. Thus, when someone has a vision of a pyramid during meditation, it is often an indication of major obstacles, difficulties, and changes ahead. This could either be in the present or in the future. But, once the challenge is conquered, there will be a valuable reward.
- A Tunnel
During meditation, witnessing a tunnel or vortex represents the activation of your spiritual eye, also known as the third eye. This sixth chakra lies between your eyebrows and establishes a link between physical sight and mental imagery.
Are you aware that people who practice meditation regularly often report seeing lights and other visual images spontaneously during deep meditation?
Some people are naturally prone to visions
During meditation, some people experience spontaneous visual imagery while others don’t. Every person is different, and some are more visual than others. It’s important to note that seeing things doesn’t make you a more advanced meditator or mean that you are more in tune with yourself.
Are visions signs of your third eye-opening?
The third eye is a figure of speech for clairvoyance and the ability to comprehend something beyond the physical universe. Having visions is usually not a sign of developing this power. Instead, visions can be a way of connecting with your unconscious mind.
That said, having a degree of clairvoyance is common to all of us. In fact, we use our ‘third eye’ to communicate telepathically with one another, especially with those who are close to us. However, certain visions can be attributed to extrasensory perception.
What to do if your visions overwhelm you?
It’s not uncommon for people to be scared of the mental images that enter their heads. For some, this fear is so strong that they may even abandon their practice.
If you’re feeling scared, the best thing to do is to adopt a meditative attitude. Take the time to observe the visions, the thoughts they create, and the emotions they evoke. Acknowledge the fear without judgment, and eventually, the fear will lessen and your mind will be able to let it go.
For example, you might find it unnerving if death sculls appear in your mind during meditation. Don’t stress, though, your mind communicates with symbols, and death is a metaphor for change.
Ending your meditation session due to visions that spook you will just leave you in the midst of unresolved psychological distress. This drama will stay with you until you work through it outside of meditation, which is a much slower process.
If fear takes over your meditation, resolving the turmoil through this practice might seem intimidating. In this case, it would be better to take a gentle approach, like slowly going through yoga poses and pranayama.
Meditative Visions: Positive Vs. Negative
From what we said earlier, some may view certain visions as indicators of one’s fate. Although meditation doesn’t provide clairvoyance and all visions can be interpreted positively or negatively, they’re not meant to predict future events. Instead, they act as a guidance system.
Visions experienced during meditation may be linked to either the Higher Self or Shadow Self, depending on their positive or negative connotations.
|Positive Meditation Visions||Negative Meditation Visions|
|Higher Self represents your true, boundless, immortal nature.||The Shadow Self is the hidden part of us, including traits we hide from ourselves and others.|
|Soul consciousness provides revelations, wisdom, and intuitive guidance.||It contains undesirable traits like anger, painful memories, strong desires, and fears. These elements exist within us even if unacknowledged.|
|Positive visions during meditation indicate communication from your Higher Self.||The Shadow Self communicates through imagery, which might be unsettling.|
|Document your visions immediately, capturing all details.||Our subconscious and unconscious minds express themselves freely during meditation.|
|Recording and reviewing visions help decipher their true meaning.||Recognizing and addressing our dark aspects enables us to move forward and achieve true contentment.|
Remember what Carl Jung (Swiss psychoanalyst known as Freud’s heir) said – “Each person possesses a shadow, and when it is less integrated into one’s conscious existence, it becomes darker and more intense.”
Sign of success or obstacle?
During meditation, experiencing visual imagery indicates that you’ve entered an altered state of consciousness, demonstrating that your practice is effective and allowing you to relax.
While visions can be considered a sign of success, they are not the primary goal but rather a potential byproduct of meditation that may or may not happen. Becoming too focused on these visions can turn them into an obstacle, as craving more can introduce tension and hinder your ability to go deeper into meditation.
Key Points To Remember!
- It’s normal to experience visions during meditation. These visions are not the objective, but a sign that the technique you’re using is having a positive effect on your mental state.
- When you have visions, approach them with an attitude of acceptance. Observe them without judgment and allow them to come and go.
- Like emotions, thoughts, and dreams, visions convey something important about you and what’s going on in your life. Visions are simply another way for your mind to communicate with you.
What does meditation do spiritually?
The primary spiritual advantage of meditation lies in guiding you toward your true essence, devoid of any preconceived notions or beliefs about yourself. Throughout this exploration, you will encounter profound love and tranquility, delighting in the present moment while discovering solace beyond the turmoil of the world.
What is the meaning of Namaste?
Namaste is an ancient Sanskrit term closely linked to Hinduism and Yoga, which translates to “I bow to (the divine in) you”. In India, it’s often used as a greeting and at the end of meditation sessions. To perform the Namaste posture, simply bow slightly and press your hands together in the prayer position at the heart chakra.
What is the symbol for meditation?
There isn’t a single universal symbol for meditation; however, the OM symbol is most closely linked to the practice. It represents the inner self, truth, and the entire universe. Other common meditation symbols include the Wisdom Eyes, Dharma Wheel, and Sri Yantra.
What to do with visions you receive in meditation?
New meditators may be unsure when they encounter visions during their sessions.
- The best advice any meditation teacher can give is to let the images float in and out.
- Don’t evaluate or scrutinize them; just watch them.
- Don’t block them out, or try to hold on to them.
- Don’t let the visions interfere with your practice. The mental state that causes the visions to appear is caused by the meditation method you are using.
- Don’t abandon the practice simply because your thoughts have changed.
Seeing random images during meditation can be a positive sign, indicating that you’re reaching a deep meditative state and activating your subconscious mind. These images may not be entirely random, as your unconscious mind could be conveying a message.
Rather than focusing on the images during meditation, let them occur naturally, and reflect on them afterward. Interpreting these visions might not always be possible or provide the desired answers. Nonetheless, understanding their meaning can offer profound self-insight and contribute to personal growth.