Fatness or Expansion of Body – Video 4

[Page updated: 8 March 2019]

This is the 4th video in the series of meditation experiences videos. The topic of this video is an experience that some people get after the mind stops thinking thoughts. The experience is what I’ve always called the “Fatness Feeling.” I have had this feeling since I was a small boy. It didn’t happen during meditation, I wasn’t doing any. It happened as I came out of sleep and woke up on my bed. I felt a numbness in my hands usually and it progressed all over my body – or, remained at the hands. It then turned into a growing feeling – my hands and/or whole body got rather numb and then felt like it was growing… expanding outwardly at all points.

A truly strange experience! I was very happy when I received this experience during meditation the first time. I cried later – there was a tremendous relief to find out what it was after all those years of not knowing. None of my friends ever had it. My family did not have it. Nobody I ever talked to – had it. I quickly stopped telling people about it for fear of being different.

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Video 4 – Fatness – Expanding Body Feeling

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Author: Vern

A dozen years ago I created a simple meditation process that sent me through the jhana levels without even knowing what jhana was. The journey is well worth the effort. I hope I can persuade more people to meditate and experience some of the things that happen when the mind stops. It may well be the most profound human experience available to us. Copyright ©2018 All content written by .

49 thoughts on “Fatness or Expansion of Body – Video 4”

  1. Hello, recently I had a nervous/ emotional breakdown. I went to therapy, church, and did meditation (of the heart). So many things has happened to me and this feeling of my body expanding while I sleep is a new one. I have been going through a healing crisis letting go of old emotions, and now this. I don’t understand it at all. Please any advice is welcomed. Thank you.

  2. Hi Nikki,

    I don’t know if there is anything to understand about the experience… it just is. It isn’t going to hurt you, it’s something that your mind is doing. In the context of meditation I can make some sense of it. But, if you’re not meditating, then I can’t really help. Just know that other people have had it happen, and we’re OK!

  3. hello,
    thank you for posting this video, i too have had this from when i was in my early 20s and maybe sooner but not realized it.
    i am 49 and in the last year i have only been able to have some clearer understanding as to what was happening. i have started a deeper look at meditation and was told to read the books by Drunvalo. im glad to see that i am not the only one that has had this feeling of getting big.

  4. Hi Tina, Thanks for writing. I have had very few people contact me about having this feeling. I think it is rare, but there must be more people having it. I wish more people would write and let me know they are experiencing this. Thanks for telling me! Metta! Vern

  5. This just happened to me the expansion of the body the vastness it was amazing I felt huge so much that I freaked out I remember feeling this as a child in my dreams Eckhart tolle meditation made me felt this

  6. Hello

    I have had this expanding sensation since early childhood. It comes and goes without warning. I remember the first time it started happening during a real high fever I had. The feeling is like ‘seeing’ (from the inside) my hands
    As well as tongue growing tremendously. Like there is an invisible stretching going on.
    I am prone to zoning out (I call it natural meditation) and I have found that only some of these times does the expanding feeling occur.
    It can be a frightening experience. I’ve done my best to observe where, when and what I am feeling when it does happen so that I do not lose focus and throw myself into a panic state.
    I’ve spoke about this with only a few people, and each time no one has heard of it or felt the sensation, so I have never gained much more information about it.
    I do believe though that it is linked to gifts. (Spiritual in nature)

    One vision (dream) that occurred during one of my expanding sensations while young was that of picking up what looked to be a tremendously heavy stone, the size of a vehicle, only it was light as a feather, while the other stone which was tiny like a marble and it being extremely difficult if not impossible to lift.

  7. Hell Ursula,

    Wow, thank you for your comment, I enjoyed reading about your experiences. I also think it is related to the readiness of our minds to go into meditation and progress along the path rather easily. I’m guessing, of course. Your dream was very interesting. Was it a dream, or were you awake and could hear / see outside things in the environment? Just curious. Best of life! Vern

  8. Hey Vern,

    Interesting video – can’t say I have experienced the ‘fatness’ feeling yet, but the numb hands, that happens every time I meditate and I pretty much got that from day one. Hasn’t spread much further yet, but I can always tell if i’m ‘deep’ into a session by the fact I literally could not tell you where my hands were if you asked me during sitting. Its maybe got as far as the elbows once or twice, but nothing further yet. I think possibly because i just focus on breathing in general, whereas I should possibly be focusing on a more specific place, so I will try and venture into that next time. Anyway what you’ve mentioned here is good to know!

    Also I just purchased your book and wanted to say I am enjoying it so far. Many thanks


  9. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I feel the same during my meditation. But lately I am getting additional symptoms as well: expansion in my throat, en then sometimes comes sneezing, then my eyes and noise starts leaking, first one side then the other. Just very exciting. We will keep meditating 🙂 With Love

  10. Definitely something I’ve never experienced! It definitely gets exciting when the nose starts leaking! Best of luck to you!

  11. Hello,

    I had this feeling a lot when I was a child, usually while sleeping when I had a fever. You know the Pink Floyd song, Comfortably Numb? I believe the songwriter wrote about this sensation. “When I was a child I had a fever. My hands felt like two balloons. But now I’ve got that feeling once again. I can’t explain, you would not understand. This is not how I am. I have become comfortably numb.”

    Anyway, I’ve began meditating recently and have been getting that expansion feeling in my hands. They feel as if they swell up impossibly large. I can’t really seem to handle the feeling very long right now, I feel anxious about it. If I focus on the feeling too much, I get nauseus. But at the same time, I feel compelled to allow the feeling. I simulatenously want it and fear it.

  12. Hi,
    I am so glad to have found your video. I have also experienced the fattness in meditation. It first happened when I was a child in the night and once when I had a fever when I was around 10 years old. It happened again about 2 years ago in my meditation, and I noticed I was going through high stress at that time. Whether the stress had influenced this experience, I am not sure? I just had an episode today in my mediation, I felt my consciousness expanded and the room felt larger, much larger. I looked at it as peaceful as I could, smiled and just sat with it. I could feel my ego starting to panic, but I simply allowed the experience to go through me and I slowly opened my eyes and it slowly disappeared over a minute.
    I have never met anybody who has experienced this in meditation, so thank you for your video. I am not afraid of this experience in meditation, but I do notice I tend to get it during the 20 minute mark of meditation and when I am in stress in life.
    I felt like my concentration changed. Surprisingly clearer and sharp, but my ego wasn’t sure about the whole experience. I kept breathing and telling my body that I was safe and now I feel good.
    I will simply see it as an experience and nothing more. Thank you for your video and all the comments shared.

  13. I did some digging after my lady comment and have found this ‘expanding’ feeling happens a lot with astral travel. Not only is it not just a sleep thing, it can happen quite readily during awake hours, mostly when we are in a meditative state (induced or not)

  14. I just had this same feeling in meditation!!! It instantly reminded me of when i was under 10 years old with a high fever! Whats with this fever thing?? Seems like a lot of people mention it. Thats not a coincidence. During the childhood fever it also came with a feeling of disorder amongst material things such as my bed and blankets. Also the room felt huge!

  15. I had a really high fever when I was young – 106F and I remember seeing stars coming at me… ha! My mother thought I was going to pass away when I told her that. She rushed me to the hospital! Maybe not a coincidence. Maybe a high fever cooks the brain just right so later on we can have these amazing experiences? No idea… thanks for sharing though!

  16. I have a feeling where my body seems to be shrinking infiney small whilst my ‘head-space’ seem to expand infinitely large. Where can I learn more about that expanding circle thing you were talking about, because that sounds very similar to what I experience?

  17. If you write me and explain everything – I’ll respond. I don’t know where else you could look. There must be someone talking about it somewhere, but I haven’t seen it anywhere that I recall. 😛

  18. Vern

    Sorry about the late reply.

    Okay so, during the fever, I felt as though I was on train tracks. And I could see a train coming at me. My mom had to calm me because I was certainly ‘seeing’ a train coming towards my direction.

    Now, there are no fevers. I have ‘seen’ complete darkness, and a sense of being able to move (I think it was the mid stages of astral travel)

    I guess the sensations are very vibrated,

    Has anyone had the ‘expanding’ feeling be set off by a sound, or sight?

  19. Hi,
    I also had this kind of experience since i was little, i felt like expanding and became very big and sometimes i felt like shrinking into very small.
    It was weird and i was afraid back then.
    And i have those experiences lately during meditation.
    I’m glad to find somebody that has the same experience.
    My last experience during meditation, i felt like expanding and then shrinking really small, as if i am smaller than an atom, but i was scared to follow.
    I was scared like i was going to disappear, so i stop the meditation.
    When i opened my eyes, the sensation continued for several minutes before it disappeared.
    I’ll be glad if you can give some opinion or explanation on this.

  20. I have just had this same experience of fatness/ hand/ body / head expansion or shrinking sensation/ awareness during meditation. It instantly reminded me of being ill as a child. I’m not sure if it is associated with a fever or something else? I felt like the sensation was incremental becoming more intense, to the point where it started to make me feel sickish and really heavy. I started to feel fear, then had to open my eyes and focus on the room. The sense of remanissnse was so strong. It was kind of pleasant and really real (for want of a better explanation). I wander what is feeling is?

  21. Nice to hear! I don’t know that anyone has a name for it, let’s just call it the ‘fatness feeling.’ It’s really an incredible feeling. Let it go next time. Meaning – fear not… just go with it. It isn’t going to hurt you, and yeah, it feels out of control, but I’ve let it go and there’s no ill-effect. See what happens next time… 😉

  22. Hi Steffeny,

    There are so many odd experiences that can happen during meditation, and even continue after you stop… it’s just amazing to experience them, but don’t get attached to them and keep trying to get the same experience – just let them go after a while…

    I never had the shrinking feeling… but you say you were scared, so you stopped – that’s normal.

    But then next time – let it go and see where it goes. You’re not going to disappear… 😉

  23. I had the expansion dense feeling as a child when I was falling asleep and didn’t like it and then it stopped. I’m now 46 and it happened again for the first time a few months ago and it happens when I meditate. It’s amazing. I never knew what it was as a child and didn’t like it but now I feel comforted by it

  24. I had a feeling of incredibly large hands and small head while meditating just now. I also get small hands/ large head sometimes too.
    I also remember the feeling of having a massive head/ brain small body while trying to sleep as a child !
    To be honest, I find the recent meditation experiences to be unnerving and quite freaky, and I usually stop my meditation. It normally happens about 10 mins in.
    If someone could shed some light on this I’d be very grateful. Comforting to hear others experiencing similar feelings but what is actually happening in the brain/ body connection?

  25. I recently had this experience while meditating and it really freaked me out. I didn’t enjoy it at all… I felt like my who body was slowly swelling up. My hands, my head, my mouth and tongue. Like my whole body was so swollen. I thought I was going crazy so I quickly stopped the meditation and opened my eyes and I still felt that I was swollen for a few minutes even though I could see I wasn’t. I had to distract myself by doing something else so I wouldn’t focus on what I’d just felt. Is this normal?!

  26. in some people – normal… happened to me a number of times, and even while not meditating, but in that weird place between waking up and sleep in the mornings… had this happen over my childhood for years and years…

  27. Things like this happen all the time… I wrote in a journal after my meditation, and there were just all sorts of things like this. You might be able to find the article I did on mirror meditation if you google it, or search this site. Quite bizarre to lose your face and head… Yeah, it’s normal, and there is quite a bit that is odd during meditation.

  28. Waw, I have been searching for years about this…. problem was that I could not name this feeling… but here it is I am reading you and I am finally finding some people to talk about it! It happens to me a lot as a child when I was falling asleep… feeling really like big, like way bigger than the room, and also like squeezed or held, and also feeling like I was in another reality. Very hard to describe with words… a feeling that is a bit scary but also familiar to me. It came back in meditation, during my pregnancy and now more and more during meditation…
    Still can’t understand why, or where is my soul during this feeling, but I really hope one day I’ll get it. If you do find answers, please let me know.

    Thank you all so much! Ophélie from Switzerland

  29. Thank you for your comment! That’s amazing that we both have had this experience as children, and then again during meditation. I wondered for decades what the feeling was. I still don’t know WHAT it is… but the fact that it recurred in meditation and that you and some other people have experienced it is great.

  30. How amazing! I was searching online for answers thinking that this was for sure a totally unique experience, turns out it’s not. I also was unwell as a child with high temperatures this is when I first experienced the feeling of an expanding head and shrinking body… I have never been scared by it, I put it down to being unwell and would also have hallucinations due to the raging temperature. When I felt this expanding/shrinking again a few months ago whilst meditating I had so many questions! And have not found this thread. I was to know more. What does it mean. Thanks guys 🙂

  31. I’ve just meditated for the first time ever and I had this feeling around 10 mins in. I immediately recognised it as the same feeling I had as a child when I was sick or falling asleep. Amazing to read other stories that are the same! Is this some kind of expansion of the mind or expanding our subconscious?

  32. Not sure! Seems to be a brain state that can come naturally, and most of us are amazed by it for years… and then some of us find that it is reproduced during certain experiences of meditation… coolstuff!

  33. Not sure what it means… but it does allow you to be in a different state of mind for a bit. I also had very high temperature as a kid and I wonder if that has anything to do with it starting then. Anybody else experiencing it – and had 106°F or around there – temperatures while sick?

  34. Wow im glad that I found this, first time body expansion happened to me as kid i had about 40 maybe 41C about 105, 106F, and i was scared that i started screaming, after that sometimes happend to me before sleep laying in bed and i never went through i always open my eyes and waited for sensation to end i was scared maybe cuz that bad sensation when I was kid, now sensations come back during mediation not every time but it happens and again im waiting some time but it become so strong that I’m opening my eyes, now when i read this i see that it’s something normal during meditation and next time I’m going to try to follow it through. Thanks for this.

  35. Hello everyone,

    I’m 33 and been meditating for about 3 months every day for 1 h – 50 min.
    Last night I had this state more intensely than usual.
    I do mindfull meditation and focus on the breath being present and simply watching the mind. My goal ( if I can call it this way ) is to reach the source and ignore the experiences from the planes of power ( read something about this on shinzen Young’s the science of enlightenment book ) .
    I found out that if I set my mind to accept everything that will happen in the next session and more importantly not trying to expect or reach a certain point ( just see what’s going to happen ) , my meditations are very interesting every time.
    This feeling cam about 40 to 50 minutes on the session . The feeling was intense and honestly very interesting . My whole body at first was very numb and swollen ( very big in size ) and progressively started to get heavier and desnse like a big heavy rock . I could observe that I didn’t felt my outer limits of my body . It didn’t frightened me ,on the contrary I was kinda glad I was experiencing it .
    I can’t say how long it lasted but after a while the sansation started to subside and my body was left a bit tingling.
    Almost immediately afterwards intense pain started to appear in my knees foots and back shoulders. In my experience pain is a sign of the body resisting and just infusing equinimity helps tremendously on decreasing the sensation and eventually overcoming it .
    When I was about to surrender to the pain, the ending bell sounded ( I use an app to time my sessions ).

    Anyways I hope I didn’t bore you with my experiences and i believe that everyone that is experiences these kind of sensations should be grateful ,in my perspective these being signs of progress.
    My advice is just to watch them with equinimity and focus intensely on the meditation object.

    Good luck to everyone !

  36. Sometimes people have bad experiences arise. Assuming the experiences don’t cause you too much stress, or cause you to think you need to hurt yourself or someone else…. you could just experience it and get through it. I had a couple experiences where I ended up in tears… and then it gradually went away. This might be something like what you’ll experience. 🙂

  37. Hi Alex,

    Interesting for sure. I’ve had very similar experience where you mention the heaviness… for me it was like a very solid feeling, as if I was the weight in a pendulum clock at the bottom of the swing – just felt rock-solid, heavy, dense. Great to hear someone else experiencing something similar! Cheers Alex…

  38. This is really amazing to find people who have also experienced this expansion/shrinking feeling. This started happening to me as a child probably around age 5. By the time I was in the 4th or 5th grade it was happening almost every night. I would feel as if my entire body were expanding so huge, bigger than anything real. If noises were around or if there was noise in my head it would simultaneously get louder as the room got smaller and smaller while I continued to expand. Less frequently it would be the opposite.. where I felt I was shrinking so tiny, the walls getting further and further away, and all noise was but a far away whisper.
    The sensation has always terrified me. It always occurred as I was falling asleep or would wake me up during the middle of the night. The only way to make it stop was to sit in the light and wait it out until I could come back to reality.
    As an adult it has occurred at random times. This year, for the first time, I will sometimes get the beginnings of the expansion feeling during the day. I don’t know how to explain it so I just tell anyone I’m with that I feel an anxiety attack coming on.
    It still scares me. I always equated it to a strange panic attack but could never find anyone who had experienced the same.
    The expansion feeling happens at times when I really start to clear my mind in meditation. One time it was a group meditation when it occurred. I tried to stay with it, but I got so scared, and it made me cry. The leader, my acting coach at the time, told me it was a sign of unresolved trauma in the body that wants to come up at times when the mind is shutting off.
    I really can’t take the feeling for very long, and it keeps me from going deeper with meditations. I wish that I understood what this means and why it happens.
    Anyone with answers, please let me know

  39. Hi Caroline,

    Thank you for your comment!

    It’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s not some deep-seated issue coming to the surface… your fear is just over the feeling of expansion, and it’s natural… but unfounded. There’s nothing negative in the experience, it’s just something that feels amazing and we’re at a loss for explaining in conventional terms.

    I’ve had the feeling since small, and there are many others who’ve contacted me with the same experiences (similar).

    It’s almost as if we revert back to the state of the infant mind where we are not aware of our boundaries. We don’t know the fingers in front of us are connected to us – and they’re connected to our feet, our back, our head, our eyes… etc. It feels like that to me sometimes.

    Anyway, when you feel it – just feel it. Focus on it and see what it’s like. Fully experience it.

    Cheers Caroline!

  40. Amazing!
    I have had this feeling for as long as I can remember possibly from age 4! I have never shared this or looked into it until now, because I did not think of it as being strange or even noteworthy. I have only made special note of this sensation because I experience this nearly every time that I meditate.

    I often experience this at night or anytime that I am falling asleep, or now during mediation.
    My head and body expand and expand and get so large that my bodily sensation begins to outrun my visual frame. It is often as if my own body is being enlarged and pushed more and more in a rounding outward motion towards my frame of reference, where it feels like it may just push me (my conscious self) out of the way. If that happens sometimes it gets overwhelming and I open my eyes to stop the expansion and pushing of the image into me. During this I do not have awareness of where my body is or any control of it as I often do not have a base in the experience. I also experience the extreme shrinking infrequently.

    I now feel that this experience could be harnessed into something very neat. Possibly into a conscious beyond myself that I have just not learned to control yet.

    I also experience extreme lucid dreaming without trying. When this happens I cannot escape my dream even though I know that I am asleep. I desperately try to open my eyes and cannot, or I try scream so someone can get me but nothing actually comes out.

    I was wondering if other people who experience the expanding conscious also experience getting trapped in lucid dreams.
    Also had anyone who experiences the expanding been able to harness other abilities out of “normal” consciousness through this?

  41. Great comment – thanks for that! I can’t identify with the shrinking or the being trapped in lucid dreams, though I have had quite a few lucid dreams. I always seem to wake up from them too quickly as I realize they are a dream that I want to keep going. Hopefully someone else can address your points… 😛

  42. I’ve never looked this up. I’ve had this feeling since a child too. I have a memory of being sick during a few occasions. I thought I was loosing my mind, weird…I’ve never told anyone until it happened as an adult. I told my parents and my mom freaked out. My dad kinda understood but not really. Think he was trying to be comforting. I’m 34 now. I just woke in the morning a felt it. So I finally looked it up and I’m amazed at how many people have felt this. The fat heavy like a stone feeling..expansion..the shrinking small like I remember feeling like a tiny ant laying on a giants bed or something.
    I went with it once..let it go a bit further out if curiosity. I’d always been scared. I got to a place where it felt as if I was self inducing a coma and may not return to earth or something…felt a distance growing and I was drifting out into the expanse of space and one with a Devine energy. It felt like dying maybe ? It’s scary but I wish it wasn’t and I wish someone has sat with it and can explain to me their experience so I feel confident that I’m not going to die. It’s the most intense familiar feeling I’ve ever felt. Please has someone sat with it? What was your experience? Or are you somewhere in a coma and that’s why nobody on here can say?!?! Ahh help

  43. ha! Are you somewhere in a coma… love it…

    A lot of people seem to have a weird state as they wake up. I can’t recall any shrinking feeling, but the expansion, yes, it was a really cool state.

    I’m sure you’re not dying if you go with it to see what happens.


  44. I am so happy to read that I am not alone to experience body expansion during mediation. When I told people about it they gave me a concerned look and advised me to not meditate again until I figure out what it is. It happened to me about a year ago during my first mediation class. Mine was a little different, the expansion started from my heart. First my heart got bigger and started oozing a thick material into my body – like how a toothpaste flows out when you squeeze the bottle. It kept on flowing endlessly and at some point I felt like I was may be 800 pounds or bigger. I opened my eyes to stopped meditating because I got so scared. The feeling started when the instructor said “……think of time in the past where you felt happy and at peace”. My mind started to think of that time but before I find it my body started expannd. It felt so familiar and I wondered why, but now after reading people’s comments here, I must have also felt it as a child.
    Today I felt it again while I was praying. This time I let go for a while and the expansion stopped and my body became regid and hard as a rock. I wanted to keep going but I got scared again because I don’t know where it would take.me.
    I also had lucid dream experience – I wanted to wake up but I couldn’t.

  45. You’re telling some of the experiences that happen naturally as you meditate. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re growing. Some other people report shrinking. I don’t recall that one, myself. Sometimes I feel very SOLID – maybe like a rock, but more just firmly seated. Like firmly planted. It feels as if I’m a pendulem at the bottom of the stroke – still – solid – balanced – centered. Feels amazing.

    As weird as the feelings are, eventually just open up to letting them happen. Let go of the excitement. Let go of the weird feeling of it, and don’t judge it, just go with it.

    There are so many odd feelings as one starts to get close to the flat-mind state, the concentrated state.

    Remember, don’t get attached to any of it… just let it go and keep going. Bring your focus back to the breath or to the tingling in your hands, feet, heart, stomach, body, whatever, wherever… Bring your focus back to whatever feeling starts after you reach full concentration on the breath. 😛

  46. Ursula, thank you for sharing. I recently did a guided ku dalini meditation on YouTube. And had this same sensation, which ive had before in dreams when I was younger. And it scared me then. This time, I just kind of went along with it and it was amazing. I felt like my body was more dense than I could imagine yet I felt light and floaty. I have had the same reacuuring dream as Ursuala, I have seen a small pebble and I go to pick it up and it is an unfathomable weight and visa versa I see a huge stone that is light as a feather. I have always felt to silly to ask anybody else. The feeling I just got meditating I would love to feel again and go further with it. One of the most powerful non drug-induced sensations I have ever had. Thanks to everyone for sharing. And for this forum!

  47. Thanks Spencer! I have had the feeling of feeling very heavy, very centered… like a heavy pendulum that has stopped at the bottom. Just felt like that sort of balance, solidness… strange. Never had dreams like you had though. Everyone’s experience seems slightly different when taken in the entirety… some share very similar individual experiences though… anyway, thanks again…

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