Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

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The Lived Experience of Meditation

Jennifer Barnes


Heuristic Phenomenology lends itself well to a relatively naïve exploration of meditative experiences. I began with an interest in knowing more about the nature of the bodily sensations that I experienced during meditation. I aimed to capture lived experiences as they emerged into consciousness, so I bracketed out my expectations, as much as possible, and meditated. I noticed that I could not tape descriptions of my experiences while in a deep meditative state because when in this state, I was not aware of the material world in which my body and the tape recorder existed. I had to be satisfied with describing meditative experiences as I emerged out of them, and regained connection with my body. Meditative sounds, vibrations and light, seemed to be perceived through my bodily senses but I knew they were not of a physical origin. As I focused my attention on these sensations, they increased in intensity. I entered a spiritual place where time, space and materiality were irrelevant. My experience has its own validity, ensured through the application of the phenomenological epoche, granting the ability to be open to whatever occurs to consciousness. I began this research with the assumption that meditation occurs when I apply a particular technique, when I concentrate on my breathing and not on my thoughts. I concluded, with an understanding that meditative and spiritual experiences occurred both in and out of structured meditation processes.

Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, Volume 1, Edition 2 September 2001
AJOL African Journals Online