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Q&A: What's up with these random memories that pop into my head while meditating?

Hello Charlie,

This is the first time for me. It was weird but really amazing. I have lots of anxiety and somehow after doing your meditation I went into the middle of somewhere felt very in peace,comfortable, and happy, like in a protected place, felt energy concentrated where the body of the sternum starts. Some images pop: bike, birthday cake, and suddenly I felt a strong necessity to cry. At that moment you gave other instructions so I went out. But I don't understand why the brain will give an image that occurred thirty years or so ago, and why would I feel such a strong need to cry. Specially, since the vision was not a sad memory. As total beginner in the field of meditation, is meditation a personal journey where people will experience particular things that can't be really understood? Or is there a written guide that can explain the states one can encounter? Thank you much. I enjoy a lot the class! :)

Remembering all my sodas


This is a really great experience to have and many other meditators describe similar experiences. It sounds to me like there was a moment where you truly experienced a meditative state of consciousness. That feeling of being protected that you described is associated with the relaxation response, essentially the opposite of the stress response. In this state you will feel calm stable and collected under any circumstances. There will often be sensations of pressure or energy associated with this and if you look into the meditative traditions of the world you will find that there are points in the body that they will describe that correlate with these spots. For example in Vedic culture (northern India) they describe the Chakras, energy points in the body that when opened symbolize relief from physical or psychological conditions. The sternum lines up with the Anahata chakra which is the point most frequently connected to emotional release. And now we come to the crying... Don't you think it's interesting that in our daily social interactions we constantly reinforce that everything is fine and don't allow ourselves or others around us to be authentic with their emotions? Every time we greet someone we say "How are you?" Then reflexively they answer "Good" or "fine" without even thinking about it. What we are really doing when we greet people this way is saying "Reinforce to me that everything is fine because I don't have the energy or adaptability to deal with your real emotions." It makes sense then that after a lifetime of interacting with people in this way you'll feel a sense of emotional release during your meditation. It's good to let your guard down and let yourself feel the emotions that come out. By allowing yourself to be authentic with your sadness you also give yourself permission to feel spontaneously blissful. The message you convey to your body in meditation is that you love it no matter what emotions it gives you. The images that you experienced are from moments in your childhood when you didn't feel this pressure to always be "OK." Isn't it amazing how consciousness works!


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Meeting with Morgan Freeman at 2:30 PM every day.

I've taught quite a few people to meditate and I get asked a lot of crazy questions. I've been thinking of making a book about the funniest and weirdest questions that I get asked but the number one question I get asked is some variation of "How do I find the time to meditate?"

Let me answer your question with a question. Who do you have a huge crush on right now? Real life or fantasy it doesn't matter. You can say Ryan Gosling or that hottie from Game of Thrones, it's OK. Second question: Who could make your financial dreams come true right now? A big investor in your dream project, a director that could cast you in a big movie, your boss at a promotion meeting. Whomever you like. Now imagine for a second that this person called you up and said that they wanted to meet with you for twenty minutes. Would you have any time constraints? I imagine that you would magically find the time no matter what your situation was. Now here's my follow up question: 

What would change in your life if you were as dedicated to developing yourself as you were to wish fulfillment from these other people?

I would suggest that one of the changes that might take place would be that you would become more worthy of a big life changing event. If you had that meeting you would be the kind of calm, creative, collected and funny person that would make the most of this situation. Now let's alter the meeting a little. Instead of a meeting with a cutie or someone with a fat wallet let's imagine you were meeting with God. Since he's been typecast this way God is going to be played by Morgan Freeman in our shared fantasy. Morgan Freeman is going to meet with you and offer you a blessing that will make you happier, more creative, less susceptible to disease, almost immune to heart attacks, smell better, smile more and have a lasting sense of inner happiness that will never go away no matter what your external circumstances are. Would you take that meeting for twenty minutes or would you have trouble finding the time?

Wanna join me? I'll be meeting with Morgan Freeman today at 2:30 PM.

With love,

Charlie Knoles

P.S OK cool but why are we meeting Morgan at 2:30 PM? Answer: Your brain has this really cool cycle called the serotonin cycle and basically what it means is that every 2 hours or so you get a peak and a slump of creativity and focus. It goes up and down all day but then weirdly at around 2:30 PM you get a big mega-slump and your serotonin level goes down dramatically. You know the feeling. You reflexively want a nap or coffee at that time of day. Smart countries do siesta. If you meditate you get a big boost of serotonin and the rest of your day and evening feel awesome. It also means that you have your evening meditation covered and don't wind up having that conflict between dinner/social duties and meditating.

Click here to send me your meditation questions!