As an active meditator, after some point of time, you start experiencing increased sensitivity to your emotions and negative thoughts. Some of these emotions are so strong, that they torment you time and again. When I was going through this phase, I became so sensitive that it used to bring tears into my eyes.
This is perfectly normal, and happens during one of the stages of meditation. It’s a sign that you are doing it right.
Think about it. You have been harboring these emotions for days, months, or years all together. So it’s very natural for you to be highly sensitive to them. Don’t judge yourself for being sensitive. Realize that this it is superpower.
By the end of this post you will understand this superpower very well. But let’s go step by step and first understand about the types of sensitivities we experience while meditating.
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Sensitivity can be of two types, the inner sensitivity and the outer sensitivity. Inner sensitivity is all about your thoughts, feelings and emotions, whereas the outer sensitivity is about the external stimuli which is constantly present at all times, such as, sounds and noises of the electronic gadgets around us, lighting in our rooms, and the temperature of the environment in which we are living.
From the psychological perspective, a highly sensitive person is one who has high sensory perception capability. People with High sensitivity show heightened level of awareness to social and environmental stimuli.
When we meditate regularly, we become more aware of ourselves and our surroundings, and as a result our sense perception capability changes significantly.
Being sensitive to life and nature
Being sensitive can actually be very empowering, but before jumping to a conclusion, let’s understand what exactly should we be sensitive to.
Millions of people die every year throughout the world due to hunger-related causes. And unfortunately, a majority of them are children.
Such a thing happening is an indication of collective ego at play. Being constantly bombarded by negative news, we have become insensitive to everything and everyone around us. We have lost touch with our own feelings and emotions.
I’m not saying that you should feel guilty about what, or how much food you are consuming, but you should be aware of the fact that most people in the world don’t even get access to basic life sustaining food items.
When you are sensitive to life, you treat not just your food, but everything around you with respect. You also feel compassion towards the other people, plants, animals, and nature in general. You get the feeling of oneness.
Let me give you an example. You need to inhale oxygen present in the air to live and function properly. You get this from plants. Plants on the other hand, consume carbon dioxide which you exhale, in combination with water and energy from sunlight, and prepare their food.
If you see carefully, you will observe, how all of these elements are intricately interconnected. If there was no sunlight, or water, life would not be possible on this planet. It’s all teamwork, and you are nothing, if you are not a part of it.
Before I start my meditation, I see the rising sun in the morning, and feel the love and warmth it offers. This kind of sensitivity empowers us, makes us humble, full of compassion towards all living beings, feel empathy for others, and raises the level of our consciousness.
Therefore, it’s okay to be sensitive to life and nature.
On the other hand, as an ego sensitive person, you not only hurt yourself but others as well. When you are highly ego sensitive, you feel irritated even when someone gives you a complement.
So, if your meditation is making you more ego sensitive as compared to life sensitive, you are definitely doing something wrong, and must seek guidance from a trained teacher or a guru.
Sensitivity of sense perceptions
I know of some people who don’t respond even when I shout at them to ask for something. It’s not that they are arrogant or that they have a hearing disability. It’s just that their minds are so preoccupied with random thoughts, that they fail to perceive, even when spoken to in a loud voice.
This is especially true if you are doing mindfulness meditation where you just observe your breath in silence. As your mind becomes more calm and clear of thoughts, you become more aware, and as a result highly sensitive to external stimuli.
Even after you complete your meditation session, your sensitivity to external sounds and noises remain high for quite some time, till you adapt to the natural environment.
A person who practices meditation for sometime, even acquires the capability to be aware of the sound generated by the drop of a pin. That’s because his or her level of awareness is greatly enhanced.
It’s making me go crazy. What should I do?
When you begin meditation one of the first challenges you face is that your mind keeps wandering every now and then, and it’s difficult for you to keep yourself focused.
With sufficient practice, very soon you start realizing that your conscious mind becomes less cluttered and that the frequency of your mind wandering decreases significantly.
Now as the mind becomes more clear and still, all those hidden feelings and emotions which were lying dormant in your subconscious mind gradually starts coming up to the surface of the conscious mind.
For a very long time, you have trained yourself to ignore these hidden emotions and feelings. These emotions could be associated with anything like, a trauma which occurred early on in your life, feelings of resentment for family or people who are close to you, loss of loved one, or undergoing abuse or ill treatment as a child.
Your mind is an intelligent entity and it knows how to suppress these negative feelings and emotions by getting you hooked onto addictions which gives short bursts of pleasure, such as drug abuse, playing video games mindlessly for long hours, binge watching television, binge eating, and drinking alcohol, among other things.
It is very normal for these feelings to come up while meditating. Try to think of this as a cleansing process of the mind. I can understand that these feelings are very uncomfortable and difficult to deal with. They well up like an active volcano which is about to erupt. Let it flow.
You need to accept these feelings and let them pass, and with regular meditation practice a time will come when these feelings and negative emotions associated with them will not bother you anymore. You will simply become an observer who’s just watching the contents of the mind, without judging them.
Yes! Meditation does make us sensitive but not from the perspective of ego. In fact, it reduces the ego, and makes us more sensitive to life and nature, and helps us develop compassion and empathy.
With sufficient practice, you train yourself to feel your emotions on a deeper level, and this in turn relives you from the burden you were carrying in your heart (on rather your mind) for years all together.
Being sensitive to your emotions is not a sign weakness. In fact, it takes a lot of effort to get in touch with your inner self, and most people don’t have the patience or lack courage to do that. They try to distract themselves by getting hooked on to addictions or use means of suppression.
This kind of suppression is very unhealthy for our body and mind, and can cause various ailments and chronic diseases.
Sometimes our thoughts and emotions are so overwhelming that it becomes difficult to ignore them. But that’s ok. As I said earlier, it’s a sign that you are making good progress in your spiritual journey.
With time the impact of these emotions will reduce, and you will simply be able to observe them without judgment or guilt. This is the superpower I was talking about. This is freedom. We all have it; we just have to realize it.
Can’t stick to your meditation routine? Confused about how to get started?