Why We Feel Scared During Meditation & 5 Tips To Overcome The Fear

Is it normal to feel scared during meditation? Why does it happen? And how can you overcome your fear without quitting a meditation practice?

If you’re sitting down and focusing on your breath for a few minutes, it’s not scary. But sometimes, during deep dhyana, people begin to have strange experiences. And they feel scared during meditation, which makes them abruptly stop their practice altogether.

But can meditation be scary? Yes.

For a long time, I kept wondering how something so sacred can make you uncomfortable. Is it normal to get scared during meditation? And why is it even happening?

I stay hush about this because it’s something unexplainable. And I haven’t been very successful in finding scientific backing for it yet, which I typically quote while writing about other metaphysical topics.

Even then, I would finally like to address this fear, having gone through it myself over the past few years. It doesn’t matter now, if it can be proved or not. This isn’t an article to change your mind, if that’s why you’re here.

Me, along with countless other people experience fear during meditation at some point or the other, and we deserve to know what’s happening. And I’m fortunate now, to have some respite and answers for you. Let’s take a look.

WHY We Feel Scared During Meditation

There are actually a couple of reasons why deep meditation can become scary. Here are some of the experiences that might scare you.

#1 – You begin to ‘see’ or ‘hear’ things.

It doesn’t have to be a ‘ghost’ as such, to scare us.

It’s actually common to hear stories from people who start getting insight from Angels and Masters.

But if you’re like me, knowing that that’s also a possibility starts making me nervous. People recount seeing flashes of divine lights, or automatic writing to reveal some profound truths from the ‘other side’. I don’t want that kind of intervention.

No matter how good a spirit, I’m not ready to see you or talk to you. Nope! No thank you.

On another note, I should share that I was never scared of the dark. In fact, I lived alone for many years, and managed well. But there was a period when I went deep into meditation, when I kept feeling like there’s ‘something’ in the dark, or that I’m being watched.

I remember another distinct period when I started experiencing night terrors and had to sleep with the lights on.
night terrors, feeling scared during meditation

I couldn’t sleep until 4 AM, because the energy would feel heavy and frightening around me. At that point, I had been trying many different meditation techniques over the years, but for some reason, something felt wrong. Very wrong.

I came out of that period through some of the tips which I share in the next section.

#2 – Your body behaves in weird ways.

I know that my ear would ring quite often, when I meditated regularly. I’ve been told that I had tinnitus, but it seems to be a common point of confusion in the spiritual community.

I no longer hear the ringing, and can confirm that it wasn’t because of any ear problems. It was just a consequence of meditation activating something in the higher chakras.

At other times, I’ve also experienced a lot of heat releasing from just one specific part of my body, like my palms or back. Or in contrast, feel chills run down my spine.

person s right palm over white liquid

I would wonder if everything was okay and if I googled reasons, I’d see suggestions like my kundalini energy is rising, or my chakra system becoming balanced.

Looking at meditation and energy from that perspective is complicated for most of us, so I’d like to be a bit more simplistic.

Meditation can make your body temperature change. It’s normal, even if it doesn’t feel to be.

For instance, heating up is typically associated with lots of old energy being released and healing energy entering your system.

This is also why you find yourself breaking into a sweat from a really good massage or chiropractic session. The blocks are getting released in the form of heat!

#3 – Your subconscious acts crazy.

Maybe you have glimpses of a terrible past life, or a trauma from your childhood and are triggered. In meditation, there’s no knowing what pops up from the subconscious mind to be healed.

People that start meditating seriously often recount crying a lot, feeling a rush of different emotions, and being drained of energy. This is because along with the aforementioned energy blocks, emotional blockages are also released.

This means that sometimes, you will feel worse before you feel better!

One day, you might feel angry at your parents, and though to them, it’ll seem like it’s for no reason, you’ll be learning how to handle something that angers your inner child.

family of four walking at the street
Meditating can be like opening up the pandora box in your head.

For some people, this can be terrifying because they don’t want to deal with all that. So they tend to shut down their meditation practice, because they’re just not ready to heal those shadow emotions.

#4 – You feel more lost.

This is one of the problems that makes people think meditation will lead them into renouncing their entire lifestyle, and going to the Himalayas to live a monk’s life.

When we meditate continually, we notice ourselves distancing from the nitty gritty. We’re no longer getting stuck in the things that used to bug us. And as a consequence, we feel more lost than ever, because we’re undergoing some strange changes.

aged ancient asian buddhism
This is normal, and also, temporary.

The solution isn’t in stopping meditation, or in renouncing the human experience, rather in changing the style of meditation you do. We’ll talk about this in the following section.

#5 – You might actually feel ‘it’.

I’ve had one or two rare occasions where I felt ‘it’ happening. It was as if I wasn’t this body, and that I wasn’t this breath. But as soon as the realization started crawling in, the conscious mind became alert and blocked it.

There’s a reason why so many monks committed suicide during Buddha’s era – they didn’t want to live anymore because they felt that life had become futile after they realized the ‘Truth’.

buddha statue

Such is our case. Sometimes, during meditation, even the positive experiences can alarm us. I’ve heard a loved one tell me that they had the opportunity to ‘make the jump’ during meditation, but they held themselves back because they were worried about their family.

This fear may be one of the deepest and toughest challenges for any meditator. And though I haven’t overcome it myself, I do hear a certain tip quite often. This is mentioned as the final tip in the following section, so keep reading!

5 Tips to Overcome Feeling Scared From Weird Meditation Experiences

I’ve tried and tested all of these, and shared them with enough people to know that they definitely bring results.

Of course, be realistic when trying anything new. If you’re experiencing fear during meditation and it is even rippling into other areas of your daytime (or nighttime), don’t expect it to get better overnight.

Give anything at least a few days or weeks of continuous practice to see a real shift. That said, here are my recommendations.

#1 – Have a dedicated meditation space.

Instead of meditating on your bed, or even in the room in which you sleep, try to meditate in a dedicated, separate space. When we meditate, we attract all kinds of energy towards us, not just the positive.

woman meditating in bedroom

It’s like opening a portal! So, we want to make sure the portal is away from our resting spot. This ensures that we sleep better without night terrors or ‘seeing things’ in the dark.

Some more tips in setting up your meditation space are:

  • Try to set it up in a place where people aren’t coming and going all the time. When you meditate, a place that’s buzzing with unconscious energy will make you restless, whereas a place that’s generally quiet will automatically help you quieten.
  • Keep some salt or tourmaline crystals near your bed, if you’re feeling uncomfortable at night. They are both highly effective in clearing out energy.
  • Every night before you sleep, visualize wrapping your room and your house in White Light, and ask the Universe to protect your space.

If you no longer feel comfortable meditating altogether, for some time, try out walking meditations that you can do outdoors. I created a guided walking meditation here, that you can explore.

#2 – Don’t (always) meditate on the third eye.

The biggest mistake that we make in this spiritual journey, is to think that we need to focus only on the Third Eye Chakra. The truth is, that when we do that, we overstimulate it.

Thus, psychic senses might become overactive, and we may in general, experience heavier subconscious thoughts as they release to heal. This fuels the feeling of being scared during meditation.

scared during meditation, third eye open
In order to balance our energy, as well as our meditation experiences, we need to make sure that all seven chakras are balanced. Not just the third eye.

And if you do like to meditate on a specific chakra, pick the Heart center. There is an entire spiritual organization, called Heartfulness, which focuses on meditating on the Heart Chakra.

The meditations in the Heartfulness groups (all free, by the way) led to a breakthrough, after weeks of fear and sleeplessness! So rest assured, it works. 🙂

#3 – Ground your energy.

Fear is a primal emotion, which rises from our primal instincts. So, in order to help heal this fear, we need to start at a primal level. The best way to ground your energy is to work with the Root chakra.

The simplest way to start grounding your energy, is to visualize your energy moving down into Mother Earth, and fresh energy rising up. As you anchor yourself, you will feel more in control and present in the body. Thereby feeling less scared of losing it.

woman spreading both her arms, spiritual woman, divine feminine, feeling scared during meditation, grounding

Another technique is to use your physical senses to ground yourself. When fear rises during the meditation, play some nice chanting music or watch a comedy skit on Youtube.

Allow yourself to switch out of the fear through engaging with the physical reality, versus trying to escape it (which ironically leads to more fear).

#4 – Clear the energy.

Not only should you be anchoring yourself and releasing the dense energy from yourself, you should be clearing the energy of your space regularly. Including the bedroom, like we discussed before.

Like I said, when we open this ‘portal’, this new realm, we may invite anything and everything in. By clearing the energy of the meditation space frequently, you’re able to free any old or stagnant energy, and keep things flowing.

Even if there are unwanted visitors (if you believe in them), they move out just as quickly as they come.

Some tips on clearing the energy of the space include:

  • Burning incense or camphor after your meditation practice.
  • Placing salt, rice or lemons in areas that feel heavy or dense. When the effect seems to wean off, place a fresh batch.
  • Ring a bell or clap your hands around the room that feels dense. You can even use spiritual tools like a singing bowl. Sound is another great solution to get the energy moving.
tibetan singing bowls

I will be sharing a much more detailed post on how to clear your space, stay tuned for that!

#5 – Understand death more closely.

Every day-to-day or even chronic fear ultimately goes back to the ultimate one – fear of death. So not only do we need to ground ourselves in our own body, we need to look at death more closely.

christian cross surrounded by daffodils, fear of dying, death, graveyard, butterflies,

This may sound morbid, but death is the very fundamental truth of life. That which comes, must go. And every spiritual master repeatedly reminds us of this inevitable reality.

Some great books to deepen and reflect on death include Death, by Sadhguru, and Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyol Rinpoche. They are not easy reads, but practicing their lessons will help you overcome your fear during meditation like no other tool!

Concluding Thoughts

When we experience supernatural or paranormal stuff, it can really freak us out. And even those that don’t believe in all that, begin to feel paranoia. If you have experienced the stuff I mentioned above, I can’t even blame you if you feel scared during meditation. It IS spooky!

But at the end, it’s important to remember to not feed the fear, and simply remain in your power.
Stay in your light.
And let the true benefits of meditation supersede the fears that hold you back.

Happy meditating! 🙂


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14 thoughts on “Why We Feel Scared During Meditation & 5 Tips To Overcome The Fear”

  1. Omg! I am so scared, like i get very vivid images that pop up in my mind! I see written words then a cross feels like things pop into my mind during meditation like i fear what i will see! But thanks for this!!!

    1. Obstacles will always get in the way before you reach the top when your emotions spike into fear try and stay neutral. Its easy said then done hence why it takes years of practice.

  2. Thank you for the post

    I read this post, because I started thinking maybe something wrong with me. I used to like dark, I could sleep by myself, alone at home. But, it started 3 months ago, I’m scared when it starts darking in the evening, from 8-9 pm I can’t be at home by myself, I can’t sleep alone at home, during meditation I’m scared of something, I feel like somebody around me, hear the sounds.
    I meditate with meditation music and candles. I thought maybe I got to grow more spiritually or my Ego protects himself and etc. That’s why I started making research and found this post. I understood that, it’s normal procedure, most people feel same during their spiritual growth path and meditation.

    1. Hey Assyl, thank you for sharing! I know how terrifying things can be and I’m happy to hear that you found some answers through this post. Take care dear one, and know that I’m right here if you need more questions answered 🙂

  3. I am so glad I came across your article. The last couple of months of my life is completely driven by just one emotion ‘FEAR of the UNKNOWN’. I have been practicing a Tibetan breathing technique and slowly have been moving into a different world within me. Voices all the time telling me strange things, and I google out , I realize they are true. It was quite interesting in the beginning however I started experiencing something strange ‘ something is not right’. Everything in my life is currently around that fear element. My wake up time, my sleeping arrangements, my thinking….feeling exhausted. Your article is the answer I was looking for. I understand this seems to be the nature of the path and I have to face it. Your words are so motivating and a big relief. Thank you so much ! Gratitude.

  4. I was experiencing the exact things. At sometimes during the beginning of my meditation, l refused to be alone in the dark. I would sleep in the sitting room with everything on and a slight move will send me on my heels. To me this was unusual because l loved darkness so much. It is the only place l feel safe. It reached a point where l wanted to meditate while everyone stares at me for ‘protection’. Then l stopped meditating. My life began falling apart. It did not actually 100% fall but l am 20 years and l was planning to get married just for survival. It was like the only thing in my mind. Then one day l sat down, close my eyes and decided to continue with what l started. I was scared. It was like someone was starring at me. But l told myself if l die, if ‘they’ kill me, let me die awaken. And the fear just disappear like that. I focused on opening all chakras, bought crystals and candles. I could tell my family thought l was crazy or something by the way they talked about it. But they are used to it now. For long while meditating have seen darkness. Nothing but darkness. Several time l questioned it. “Will this work?” Or “Am l just wasting time and stuff?” Then this morning l felt something for the first time. A headache, then that rapid pulse on my forehead. My heart felt free. I felt a crown-like thing around my head. Have not seen any colors yet but this is a hope that this path is the right one for me. Am still scared though. I meditate outside in our balcony every 3:20 to 4:20am. Then l would do sun gazing in the morning and other times evening. Though not everyday. Sometimes l blindfold myself to avoid seeing “whoever” is outside with me. Sometimes l open my eyes every now and then in fear. I came across this article and am reading all of it like “This is EXACTLY how l can describe my life right now” Thank you so very much ❤❤❤❤❤❤

  5. Yes, sitting in the “what is” is a challenge for me as well. Alot of things come to you during meditation and some of it is difficult to watch. Thank you for this important subject that needs to be discussed. By being aware that this will probably be part of everyone’s experience during meditation, it may blunt the blow a little and not be such a shock. Gassho all!

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