Meditation: what do we see, if anything?

There’s ample literature out there describing the zone of meditation in which one sees different kinds of lights.  Certainly what one sees is subjective, and as per Ayurveda it may even be linked to karmic influences. However, let’s keep it simple and try to look for recorded study of these light experiences. This one is  from a small sample size of meditators observed at the Brown university:

  • More than forty categories of experience were aggregated into six higher-order clusters: cognitive, perceptual, sense of self, affective/emotional, somatic/physiological, and social/occupational. “perceptual” is defined as pertaining to the senses, i.e. the visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory, and tactile systems. “Light experiences” emerged as a sub-category of perceptual experiences in the visual domain. Inclusion criteria for light-related visual experiences included use of the word “light” or description of an experience either directly linked to visual perception with the phenomenal quality of luminosity or brightness. “
  • Scientific studies of light-related experiences tend to classify such phenomena as visual hallucinations. This section presents findings from sensory deprivation, perceptual isolation, and disorders of the visual system.
  • The possibility of viewing meditation practice as a form of sensory deprivation has potentially profound implications. Current medical technologies are combining non-invasive brain stimulation techniques that alter neuronal excitability and enhance cortical plasticity with training protocols to enhance outcomes in neuropsychiatric patients, including dementia, pain, addiction, anxiety, and depression
  • The arising of lights may signal a period of enhanced neuroplasticity and potential for important and enduring shifts. Further research should investigate whether it is the unique configuration of sensory deprivation, attentional training, and investigative processes that accounts for why meditative practices tend to lead to enduring perceptual and affective changes and cognitive insights.

Source: NCBI


All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.

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