Meditation Forum

Vipassana Meditation Forum => Meditation, Practice And The Path => Topic started by: John Bruzi on March 24, 2019, 08:05:30 PM

Title: What exactly am I doing?
Post by: John Bruzi on March 24, 2019, 08:05:30 PM
So as my practice becomes older I am really becoming curious as to what it is exactly that I'm doing. For starters, I would like to know the name of the practice I'm indulging in. I'm told it's mindfulness but all the "side-effects" and symptoms (some of which mimic Kundalini, an altogether different practice, no?) are raising questions.

This is how I've been doing it. Focus on the breath, up and down, and let your whole body breath until it becomes a rhythm. Over the years a "point of focus" has somehow emerged between the eyebrows/on top of the head (sometimes naturally, sometimes induced) . I've gone through all sorts of ups and downs, from the racing heart syndrome, feeling of imminent movement in the head, electric currents up the spine, resurfacing of (suppressed?) feelings/sensations (sometimes local, sometimes mental) and finally painful muscle spasms/contractions and occasionally regular anxiety/sexual lust (don't know why they come hand in hand with me) after or during a sitting (usually after a period of abstinence).

What terrifies me is Kundalini. I hope I haven't been doing Kundalini all this time (so many of my symptoms are almost identical to account describing Kundalini) because I'm told that for the uninitiated mind it can result in acute psychosis. I'm also told that it differs from regular mindfulness in that it's more goal-oriented, mindfulness being about nothing but the practice itself.

So there you go, What am I doing with my brain and body, exactly? What practice most accurately fits the profile?
Title: Re: What exactly am I doing?
Post by: Laurent on March 25, 2019, 01:27:15 AM
What is the goal of your meditation ?
Title: Re: What exactly am I doing?
Post by: John Bruzi on March 26, 2019, 12:15:25 AM
At first it was gaining control and dominion over my feelings and reactions (fear, OCD, anxiety, you name it). As I progressed and gained more understanding and experience of the whole process I knew this wasn't the way and that it's not how things work. I started becoming more curious and less goal oriented. I no longer use meditation as a therapy. I now have the sort of mind set where I just keep on meditating and wait to see what comes through, always telling myself that I have barely scratched the surface.

Now I just sit, let my guard down and wait to see what fate has in store for me. Breath, let go of control as much as I can and try to digest whatever my mind/body throws at me. But letting go is easier said than done and I do want to say that even during detachment my mind is prone to getting too excited about (and therefore becoming attached to) particular "experiences" (good or bad). In the past I have aggressively tried to reproduce them through vigorous breathing. I'm past that now, I think, but I do consider these experiences (if they come) as a mark of deep meditation, some sort of barometer by which I now I'm in a deep meditative state.
Title: Re: What exactly am I doing?
Post by: Dharmic Tui on March 27, 2019, 05:58:42 PM
Has your general approach to and outlook on life changed?
Title: Re: What exactly am I doing?
Post by: raushan on March 28, 2019, 02:17:43 PM

Here is the thing. Sorry for hijacking the thread.
My approach toward life definitely has changed since three years I have been meditating but I don't know whether it's because of meditation or because I am growing. I mean every people as they age, their approach towards life will change. An adult can't behave as a teenager.

So, My main concern is how do you know that meditation is actually working for you. Because I have definitely improved my life but that happened because I feel I started talking to more people or started reading books. 
Title: Re: What exactly am I doing?
Post by: Dharmic Tui on March 28, 2019, 06:06:23 PM
Do you need to know? For me, meditation has influenced me to live less selflessly. This allows me to make more objective business decisions, as well as put more effort into either helping others or making others feel better. In return, my life has been met with greater success in every realm - ironically as my desire for success is diminished.

I think to answer your question raushan, it's probably a sum of meditation and life unfolding in general terms.
Title: Re: What exactly am I doing?
Post by: John Bruzi on March 30, 2019, 09:12:09 PM
Has your general approach to and outlook on life changed?

It has, yes.

But I really need to know what I'm doing.
Title: Re: What exactly am I doing?
Post by: stillpointdancer on March 31, 2019, 10:33:45 AM
Has your general approach to and outlook on life changed?

It has, yes.

But I really need to know what I'm doing.
You have concentrated on the first stages of mindfulness meditation, but without any real idea of how to progress beyond this. I never heard of Kundalini meditation before, so I looked it up and realised I'd done that many years ago as part of a programme of investigating using energy in meditation.

You asked about the effects of the meditation you were doing. Measurable effects include lowering of blood pressure and the resulting health improvements. Less obvious are the effects on the brain. Our brains change all the time, depending on what we are doing and even thinking, with changes in connections between different areas taking place, with some becoming weaker and some stronger. Meditation gives you a measure of control of the sort of changes you want to take place.

Mindfulness meditation as a programme starts with the body, but then usually progresses outwards to how we interact with others and the ideas we have about everything around us. As part of a traditional program of meditation the effects are gradual and can't really be felt by the practitioner as they happen slowly. The only people who might notice are those you haven't seen for a while who may see the changes you can't.

Of course, traditionally mindfulness is just one aspect of meditation practice, with others to do with insight, well-being, and so on. It's also the case that mindfulness needs to be taken off the mat as well, as part of a programme of applying the practice in everyday life. To get back to your original question, "I really need to know what I'm doing". Is it that you want more information about what you are you doing to yourself, or is it that you need to know where you are going in your long term practice?
Title: Re: What exactly am I doing?
Post by: mobius on April 13, 2019, 01:09:35 AM
As i usually say, im no expert but ill just add that; in response to your first post what you described sounds like how Micheal Pollen described "holotropic breath work' which is breathing in a very specific rhythm. In his book this was described as another type of meditation but it seems to me a bit or perhaps quite different from simply focusing on your breath without managing or paying attention to a rhythm and as such id think the results would be different. Every one is different and whats good for some people might not be good for others.

Just some random thoughts; as to some of physical health benefits it seems like all that matters is your mind and body is resting, less active and can thus heal itself. But the more subtles of the mind are important too and to understand that better myself the only thing ibe found more helpful at least for myself was Buddhism. Ive been reading Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein. As stillpoint said to really understand your mind u need to consider these things all the time; not just while meditating.
As an example since meditating ive noticed when i get angry more often, but it doesnt prevent me from getting angry. I need to think/act further to improve on my anger issues. Ive begun to 'carry my practice with me' I guess as they say. But it sure isnt easy.

Ive asked that question "what am I doing? And why?" many times about everything. And to be honest my answer is I dont have the first damn clue :D
Title: What is happening? And what is my role in this?
Post by: Quardamon on April 29, 2019, 11:03:27 PM
What practice most accurately fits the profile?
Allow me to take a different viewpoint: What is happening?
And after that: What is your role in what is happening?

What is happening? - Strong experiences have visited you over the years. In the beginning, they were related to your personal past. You wanted to work through things, using meditation as a therapy.
I suppose, that if you look back, you see that it has worked that way. Meditation for instance somehow gave you a tool - or was a tool - to get along with strong anger. So the meditation had its workings, and you learned to work with it. That is good.
Now you are changing. You are starting to become less goal oriented, and more curious. Curiosity is a beautiful tool. It allows the world to show itself in a different way.

Maybe there is wisdom in calling them "side-effects", those symptoms that mimic kundalini. I suppose so. When I had such things, my teacher told me not to give them much attention. He told me, as an experiment, to literary hold a hand just before my face, at a distance of 10 centimetres. And then asked, whether I could see my hand clearly. After that, he told me to keep the hand at 50 centimetres, and asked if I could see it more clearly now - yes, indeed.
To understand what is going on, it is good to have a light touch, to find a clarity and gentleness in how you see the world.
Personally, I like the picture of having a mutual relationship with reality - like in a friendship.

What terrifies me is Kundalini.
What strikes me here, is the word "terrifies" - not so much the word "Kundalini". Maybe I should acknowledge that the moments that I was moved by kundalini, she was quite gentle with me. I could not resist her, but I did not break anything or bump into things. So what I see is not so much the theme of kundalini, but the theme of how to relate to terror, to strong fear.
What helps me, is to regard such a strong fear as something that exists in the world. I do not regard it as my personal thing that I must do something with. Yes, I am afraid, and I need breath and space - but also: I have a meeting with fear. Or : Terror is showing itself to me. And I can relate to that what is showing itself. I do not need to resolve it. And also, I do not have to have an answer right now. It is even OK if I do not have an answer at all - there is no war going on, not here and not now. 

I hope this helps.