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Dear Jay Cutts.

I just want to ask a question, why I do see faces of happy/calm people looking at me (children, men and women) when I meditate or dosing? People I never saw in my life. What is this phenomena?  I see them very clearly for a short period of time (around 5 seconds maximum)...and sometimes, I do see my own face, but this is very rare...

Karume Asangama.

Hi, Karume.

You are wondering why you see an image of a pleasant face at certain relaxed times. It's not so strange, really. When we see a pleasant face in reality, the brain is able to record the image. Later on, when the brain is not engaged in any particular activity, the brain plays the image back and we briefly see a pleasant face. Most likely the face we see is not a particular person but a composite of different people. The  visual image is accompanied by pleasant feelings in the body. When we are babies, it is very important for us to see the friendly, smiling face of our mother. It is somehow helpful for our little nervous systems.

This playing back of a pleasant face may be a healing response of the brain. The important thing is that for this to happen, there must be some time when we are not requiring the brain to do its usual work. This is true for much of the internal healing that we need. It is important to have lots of time when the brain is not engaged in any particular activity and yet we are awake. Of course, sleeping has its own healing effect but for other kinds of healing it is important that we be awake and yet quiet.

It's nice that you experience pleasant faces.

I don't know if I have addressed your concern. Feel free to write back.


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Jay Cutts


From nearly 30 years of personal meditative work, I am interested in exploring together the deeper concerns of our lives. How can we shed light on these concerns for ourselves - directly, clearly, moment by moment? At the same time, how can we come in touch with the simple beauty and affection of live that reveals itself from time to time even though our lives often feel anything but simple, beautiful or loving. If you have a question, I will try to work with you to clarify and explore it. Note that I change private questions to public so they are available to others. If you have something that is truly private, let me know.


Close to 35 yrs experience in spiritual, meditative inquiry, first in the Zen tradition and later through direct inquiry rather than traditional practice. I have attended retreats and worked with Toni Packer, of the Springwater (NY) Center for Meditative Inquiry and am interested in the work of J. Krishnamurti, who also worked with people in direct, personal meditative inquiry.

BA Linguistics University of Michigan MA Special Education University of New Mexico

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