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Meaning ?
10/24/18 7:06 PM
I’m new to meditation, about 4weeks and about 45 min/day. Some independent research and some on-line instruction. I saw Daniel Ingram on  Robert Wright’s show and that brought me here. I wanted to relay my experience during meditation today. I had a very pleasant experience where it seemed like some entity reached out a hand and cupped my chin and said “welcome lovely student.” I found myself trying hard to have to have both hands cup my chin but that didn’t happen. Then the phone rang and it all faded away. I’m just curious if anyone else has had this type experience and what it might mean if anything. Thanks and Peace to all.

RE: Meaning ?
10/24/18 9:06 PM as a reply to Crockett Gunn.
Hello Crockett,

Sounds like a very interesting experience! It's tough to tell what it could be for a couple of reasons. I'll lay out some questions that might help you (and others on this forum) to get a better understanding of what this might mean so as to guide this discussion in a productive direction:

What drew you to meditation in the first place? What are your long term goals and hopes related to meditation practice?

What are your goals/intentions during a single meditation session? Are you trying to chill-out and increase concentration, or are you trying to gain insight into how the mind creates a reality/sense-of-self out of various sensations?

Were you practicing a concentration flavored technique or an insight flavored technique (with the understanding that some level of concentration is needed for Insight practice and some level of Insight is needed for concentration practice)? What technique were you practicing specifically (Mahasi noting, Goenka body scan, the style layed out in the book "The Mind Illuminated", mindfulness of breathing, a mantra, or some other technique)?

Are you familiar with the Stages of Insight (Vipassanā-ñāṇas)? These stages are layed out in Daniel's book "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha" (you can read it for free on mctb.org). You can also read about these stages at: https://alohadharma.com/the-map/. It's best to read both, honestly. 

How do your sits progress during a single practice session (do you get calmer and more concentrated or more agitated/impatient, are you able to stay with the meditation object or do you keep getting caught up in fantasy/mental fog, are you caught up in intellectual understanding or experiential understanding, etc)?

What sources have you drawn from up until now (in terms of websites, blog posts, books, dharma talks, etc.)? 

Based on your report: If you read about the Path of Insight, it sounds like a potential "Arising and Passing" experience which can often be profound and people experience this stage in various ways. Some people have amazing, deeply spiritual experiences (out of body travel, contact with beings of "other realms", seeing lights, etc.) and some people just have slightly stronger concentration and can stay with the chosen meditation object. If you're interested in developing Insight as Daniel describes it, this is just one stage in the process. The idea is not to get caught up in all the crazy stuff that can happen (even if it is really interesting) and to just keep practicing the chosen Insight technique (if Insight is what you're practicing).

Hope this helps in some way! 

RE: Meaning ?
10/25/18 6:18 AM as a reply to Crockett Gunn.
Crockett, lots of weird stuff can happen during meditation... and also nothing weird can happen. There's lots of variations among people.

Could you say more about what it felt like? and whether things like this have happened to you before? (Some people feel like they are always in touch with other being/entities and other people never/rarely have this experience and it's kind of freaky.)