Do you have any questions about healing, intuition, or guided imagery? Ask our expert, imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek, the creator of the Health Journeys tape series and founder of The Guided Imagery Resource Center

. Contact her at columnists@staff.beliefnet.com.

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I just finished a yoga session. I was concentrating real hard and couldn't see anything--only darkness and flashes of light. Somehow, I noticed that my muscles were twitching, and I could feel my face smiling. I felt so happy inside. But then all of a sudden, I got afraid that I might not be able to come back to reality, so I forced myself to open up my eyes. I realized I was tired and breathing hard but was still happy.

Will you please explain what happened? I never felt that happy before. I want to do it again, but I'm scared.


You've had what's been called a mini-mystical experience.

It's a little scary because you transcended your notion of "self." You felt like you lost your identity and merged with the universe. In a way, you have. Your mind has expanded and blended with everything else.

There are different names for this state of consciousness in the various religious traditions. If you slip into this state unprepared, it can be frightening or disorienting. But it's actually something that people work very hard to achieve, a kind of divine hookup that may be a milder version of what many people describe in their near-death experiences.

It sometimes happens with guided imagery, as well as with prayer, yoga, and other forms of meditation. Sometimes, it just happens.

I recommend that you work regularly with a reliable meditation or study group that can help you gain a context for these events and a language for talking about them.

The other thing to keep in mind is that it's always safer to "lose" yourself in one of these "mystical mergers" if you're clear on who your "self" is. That's why most spiritual practices encourage people to have a strong identity first. That's one of the reasons Kabbalah teachers usually require that students be 40 years old before even starting!

But a good, grounded study group can help you sort all this out and provide a vehicle for getting back there, too. Good luck!

(The twitching, by the way, is just energy releasing. That's most likely to happen when energy is starting to move around where it hasn't before. Kind of like an old Model T revving up.)

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