Perceptual Abberations During Zen Meditation
May 2, 2007
I sat down to do some meditation yesterday and experienced some of the most peculiar visual anomalies to date. I was staring at the towel in my bathroom (the bathroom is the only place I can ensure quiet), and suddenly the weave of the towel got larger and the edges of the towel sort of expanded into my peripheral vision. It was as if my vision was zooming in.
The only time I felt something similar to this is when I fell asleep in class. I have only fallen asleep once in class, and it was in Chemistry. I think I fell asleep with my eyes open and suddenly my vision zoomed in on the professors face. The moment this happened, I burst back into normal awareness and knocked my books into my lap.
This zooming is not the first aberration I have experienced. When I first started meditating, I would notice a red haze appear over my entire field of view. The red was the color of those temporary marks on your eye that you get when you look at the sun. As I kept up my meditation this eventually went away, and I suspect the zooming will as well.
A second aberration was when I was meditating after yoga. I entered a super-relaxed state and this lasted well after meditation. It was kind of like when I had my wisdom teeth removed and I was on Vicodin. When I took Vicodin it relaxed my muscles and gave me a floating feeling. I also rambled a lot. The relaxation after yoga was about ten times as powerful. So much so that I couldn’t really flex my hand muscles enough to pick things up.
The focus of Zen is not on these visual anomalies, but on your thoughts. It is discouraged to think them too worthy of further concentration. But they are really cool.