973: Why Do I Feel Disassociated After a meditation

Photo by  Mickey O'neil  on  Unsplash

Photo by Mickey O'neil on Unsplash

Today I answer a question about meditation that was posed on Quora.  You may experience the same thing that the questioner does, so I hope that my response gives you some information to make your sessions more relaxing and enjoyable.

I feel dissassociated after meditation, how can I return to my "normal self"?

Gauging from your question, it’s difficult to say if you are a beginner or a seasoned meditator, or, with the utmost respect, have a psychological diagnosis.  The reason I point out the latter is because the term dissociative often has a psychological connotation, signifying a break from reality.  Many times dissociative events are unplanned and the result of trauma.  

Again, despite the limited information in your question, it is difficult to say.  However, the fact that you are able to end your meditation on your own, makes me think that it isn’t so much a true disassociation as it is a different sense of being.

Which to be honest is true of many meditations.  Let’s operate on that premise and get an answer to your question.  How your mind works in your daily life is significantly different than how it operates in a meditative state.  More specifically, when you are in your day, you are not actively running your mind, it is running you.  You are constantly reacting to stimulus. Your mind is generating thoughts seemingly on its own. 

When you are meditating, you are actively “taming” your mind.  You are bringing your awareness to your thoughts and either assessing them as valid, or simply letting them pass without reaction and returning your focus to your breath or a mantra.  

In day to day life, many people are under constant stress.  Accordingly, the body is responding in kind, raising blood pressure, pumping out adrenaline and speeding up breathing, along with many other physiological responses. 

However, in a meditative state the exact opposite is taking place; your body is initiating a relaxation response, which is the lessening of the symptoms discussed above.

What I would imagine you are experiencing is a profound relaxation that only seems strange or unusual because for the majority of your day your body is under constant stress, whether that is minor or extreme.

The other thing to be aware of is that in a deep meditative state the mind and the body are not delineated, they are not two separate entities, they are experienced as one.  That alone is a big reason why you may be feeling “out of sorts”.  In your day to day life your mind and body are experienced as two separate parts of who you are.

With the distinction made between the two states of being, it may be important to ask the question why do you feel the need to return to “normal”?  Normal, as defined by the majority of hours spent not meditating, is stress.  

A large number of meditators want to do exactly what you are noting as odd, bringing the sense of peace they experience in their practice into their waking life.

However, if it unsettling for you I would recommend the following.  Upon opening your eyes at the end of a meditation (assuming they are closed), slowly begin to move your hands and feet.  Wiggle them around just a little to reassert the feeling that your mind controls your body, a waking mind perception.  Then slowly bring your attention to your surroundings, scanning all parts of the room if necessary.  Once you have re-acclimated yourself to your surroundings, get up and walk around once you feel you have successfully brought yourself out of your session.  Then of course, go about your day.


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