Seeking Honest Descriptions of Personal Meditation Experience…


You may be familiar with Philip Kapleau’s 1965 classic Three Pillars of Zen. At the request of Kapleau’s Japanese teacher, Hakuun Yasutani,  the book included a series of frank accounts of regular people achieving life-changing experiences. This was a real first, and motivated many Westerners to pursue rigorous Zen practice.

Now a student of mine, the writer and journalist Jeff Warren (author of The Head Trip) is doing something similar with mindfulness. I think it’s a worthwhile project. If you have experiences to share (see below), I encourage you to send Jeff an email. He can be reached at

All the best,

From Jeff Warren:

I’m looking for people’s honest descriptions of personal meditation experience.  I’m very grateful for whatever people would like to send me. I have yet to decide with my publisher whether I will use people’s first names, initials only (as in Three Pillars), or keep the anecdotes anonymous. Please indicate your personal preference in this regard and I will of course comply.

Some possible themes:

  • Experiences of both sudden and gradual changes and your thoughts on this general topic
  • Experiences of dramatically increased sensory clarity + insights into mind and body
  • Initial breakthrough experiences
  • Kundalini /energy experiences
  • The experience of no self, unsatisfactoriness or impermanence in each sensory moment
  • Self-dissolution and / or “Dark Night” experiences
  • Experiences of equanimity or reduction in sensory fixedness
  • Decrease in self-rumination
  • Increases in sensitivity and vulnerability and openness
  • Changes in creativity
  • Experiences of emotional / mood cycling associated with meditation
  • Experiences of unusual phenomena/ hallucinations / “makyo” / powers, etc.
  • Cessations / fruitions
  • Stream-entry, and how this changes one’s perspective
  • Post stream-entry changes, integrations, unexpected challenges, unexpected insights, further paths
  • General thoughts on how meditation has changed your consciousness