Meditation Discussion Forum

Vipassana Meditation Forum => Under The Banyan Tree => Topic started by: ChanthyOptimize on November 24, 2021, 06:44:09 AM

Title: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
Post by: ChanthyOptimize on November 24, 2021, 06:44:09 AM
Hello, everyone.
I was a daily meditator in the past. I did medition every single day for about two years. I could control my mind better, but my physical body became weaker day by day because of meditation.
I felt too much exhausted, headache and couldn't fall asleep easily.

Therefore, I completely decided to give up meditation for about 2 years.
But my mind has become worse.
I really truly want to live as an everyday meditator, so I started practice meditation again for the last 1 month.

The problem has been the same.
During meditation practice, I feel great in spite of some physical pain. It's okay for me.
But after I stop doing meditation for only 10-15 minutes, I feel too much exhausted and headache.
and I can't fall asleep.
1. I do meditation in the morning.
2. Only 10-15 minutes eats + consume 5 times of my mental energy (too much mental fatigue)
3. At night I can't fall asleep as a result of my morning meditation. My mind is wide wake and alert, and I observe my breath 5 or 10 seconds later, it is time for me to sleep. but My mind is just at my breath or my body sensation, which makes me unable to sleep and the next week I am in very extreme low energy mode to go to work. The worst is when my neighbour is playing music, my body temperature become a bit higher and my mind tends to be focusing on that music almost a whole night.

Do you ever experience this?
Any helps?

Thanks
Title: Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
Post by: Matthew on November 25, 2021, 07:35:30 AM
Hi, and welcome to the forum.

It sounds as though you are using force to suppress thought, that your practice isn't balanced:

"control my mind", "exhausted, headache and couldn't fall asleep", "Only 10-15 minutes eats + consume 5 times of my mental energy (too much mental fatigue)", etc.

Can you say a bit more about what meditation you do? What your practice involves, and where our how you learned to practice?

I don't believe it will be hard to resolve your issue yet some more information about your practice, as well as the outcomes you have described, will be helpful.

Warmly,

Matthew
Title: Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
Post by: ChanthyOptimize on November 26, 2021, 09:48:21 AM
Thanks for your reply, Matthew.
Every day, I drink lots of water, I do the walking exercise more than 1 hour. I feel completely okay,
BUT
Whenever I do meditation, I feel completely different.

I've practiced 2 forms of meditations. None works for me.
1. I do meditation by observing my breathing in and breathing out in the morning. It is okay for me during the meditation, but after doing it, I feel very exhausted. and my mind is always being with my breath the whole day and I feel like there is some air in my forehead, causing me so headache and too much exhaustion. The worst is that I can't fall asleep easily as my mind and focus are always being with my breath. and I wake up so many times at night. In addition,

2. I've practiced Vipassana by observing my sensations on my body. I learnt this from KoenGa's 10 days course. The Problem is similar to observing my breath. I still am exhausted and experience insomnia as the result of meditation.

I don't know what is wrong with my practice.
My dad practices a breathing observation meditation every day. It works perfectly fine for him.
My brother practices it 2-3 hours every day. It works like magic.

I will ask my friends and my family to donate some money every month to this Vipassana https://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/

And I think speaking is better than writing to describe my meditation practice problem.

Thanks
Title: Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
Post by: Matthew on November 30, 2021, 04:05:32 PM
Hello again,

I believe from the evidence of your experience that you are putting too much/misdirected effort into meditation. This could take the form of too focused concentration, rather than a balance between calming bodily and mental fabrications whilst developing awareness of the entire body as you breathe in and out; and/or suppression of thought. It's likely both if I had to guess.

Vipassana from the Goenka school teaches Anapana focusing on the nostrils. This is based in a common mistaken translation from Pali.

The mindfulness with breathing described in the Suttas is clear:

Quote
He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.'  He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

Source: Access to Insight, the Anapanasati Sutta
 (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html)
sensitive to the entire body and ..
calming bodily fabrication

These two phrases are key to understanding the beginning, middle and end of mindfulness with breathing practice: being 'sensitive to the entire body', letting the mind rest with the bodily sensations created by the process of breathing in and breathing out, engages and activates the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic or 'rest and digest' nervous system. When these are engaged and activated your body calms - especially when combined with the mindful intention to 'calm bodily fabrications'. When the body calms, the vagus nerve, which consists of around 90% fibres sending signals from the body to the brain says to the brain "hey, everything's good .. nothing to be stressed about" and the mind naturally begins to calm too.

Nowhere, in any Sutta is there a mention of nose-meditation.

The footnotes in the Sutta linked above does reference the Pali, Paramukham, "mindfulness to the fore" and possible interpretations, yet misses the correct one. This is best translated as "making mindfulness the foremost quality of mind" or "raising mindfulness" to be perhaps clearer: that is to say that one brings oneself knowingly to a state of mindfulness, one remains in this state, letting things be, letting thoughts arise, as they naturally will, and always returning mindfulness to breathing in/out sensitive to the entire body and calming the body, when noticing mind has attached to thought or to a train of thought.

So thought is not forced away ... practicing in this way one notices thoughts arising and falling, or one notices that the mind has attached to thought; moved away from whole-body awareness, and then with mindfulness is returned to the physical sensations created in the body by breathing in and out. This is done with compassion and kindness to yourself: no need to criticise that natural tendency of the mind to wander.

The point of the practice is to allow body and mind to relax, to calm, such that the tendency of mind to wander into thought dissolves naturally with repeated right-effort of maintaining a regular meditation practice. There is very little force used in this process: just enough to take mindfulness from attachment to thinking processes back to the body, again and again and again when it happens; always gently, without self-criticism, just remembering ("being mindful") that we do the practice not to get lost in thought, not to suppress thought, but to become a kind, gentle and accepting witness to the madness of our thinking and our identification with it. This is the only healthy and balanced way to allow thought to begin to diminish and eventually cease: to give it space to be, without identifying with it. "I am not my thoughts" is the most revelatory experience ...

I will propose an experiment to you. Take some days, or a week or so, away from meditating - enough time you are not suffering the negative side-effects you have described in your posts. Relax and forget everything you know about meditation. When you are ready use the "Calm Abiding" meditation notes from the homepage of the forum, and try this way of meditating for at least a couple of weeks .. a month is more useful.

Don't hesitate to ask if you have questions.
Title: Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
Post by: Matthew on November 30, 2021, 04:09:29 PM
.
I will ask my friends and my family to donate some money every month to this Vipassana ...

That's a kind thought yet we're ok for now with money - the fees are paid for a year and we have the money for next year too. 🙂🙏
Title: Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
Post by: ChanthyOptimize on December 08, 2021, 12:18:25 AM
Thanks, my master
So Do have other kinds of meditation suggestions besides observing my breathing in and breathing out that suit my conditions?

And I would like to donate at least $10-20 every month to this forum. And this money can be spent for other meditation practitioners or to offer foods to the monks or to whatever that can benefit the Buddishm.

Thanks
Title: Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
Post by: Monica on December 08, 2021, 12:57:29 AM
The mindfulness with breathing described in the Suttas is clear:

Quote
He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.'  He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

Source: Access to Insight, the Anapanasati Sutta
 (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html)
sensitive to the entire body and ..
calming bodily fabrication

These two phrases are key to understanding the beginning, middle and end of mindfulness with breathing practice: being 'sensitive to the entire body', letting the mind rest with the bodily sensations created by the process of breathing in and breathing out, engages and activates the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic or 'rest and digest' nervous system. When these are engaged and activated your body calms - especially when combined with the mindful intention to 'calm bodily fabrications'. When the body calms, the vagus nerve, which consists of around 90% fibres sending signals from the body to the brain says to the brain "hey, everything's good .. nothing to be stressed about" and the mind naturally begins to calm too.

Nowhere, in any Sutta is there a mention of nose-meditation.

The footnotes in the Sutta linked above does reference the Pali, Paramukham, "mindfulness to the fore" and possible interpretations, yet misses the correct one. This is best translated as "making mindfulness the foremost quality of mind" or "raising mindfulness" to be perhaps clearer: that is to say that one brings oneself knowingly to a state of mindfulness, one remains in this state, letting things be, letting thoughts arise, as they naturally will, and always returning mindfulness to breathing in/out sensitive to the entire body and calming the body, when noticing mind has attached to thought or to a train of thought.

So thought is not forced away ... practicing in this way one notices thoughts arising and falling, or one notices that the mind has attached to thought; moved away from whole-body awareness, and then with mindfulness is returned to the physical sensations created in the body by breathing in and out. This is done with compassion and kindness to yourself: no need to criticise that natural tendency of the mind to wander.

The point of the practice is to allow body and mind to relax, to calm, such that the tendency of mind to wander into thought dissolves naturally with repeated right-effort of maintaining a regular meditation practice. There is very little force used in this process: just enough to take mindfulness from attachment to thinking processes back to the body, again and again and again when it happens; always gently, without self-criticism, just remembering ("being mindful") that we do the practice not to get lost in thought, not to suppress thought, but to become a kind, gentle and accepting witness to the madness of our thinking and our identification with it. This is the only healthy and balanced way to allow thought to begin to diminish and eventually cease: to give it space to be, without identifying with it. "I am not my thoughts" is the most revelatory experience ...


Thank you, Matthew, for this beautiful and useful explanation.
Title: Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
Post by: Matthew on December 08, 2021, 11:18:51 AM
Thanks, my master

OK .. so, one thing to get straight is that I'm no master and not anyone's master ... I'm a faulted human being working with meditation to change my relationship to myself and the world. I'm sure you are at least partly joking, but please don't see me as any different to you: I have good days and bad days, I sometimes mess up big time. It's not healthy to think I'm anything special as I really am not. This has been problematic in the past on these forums, when a person forms an inaccurate picture and later feels let down when discovering the other person doesn't deserve to be on a pedestal.

The problem I think you are encountering is one that is very common. I might be mistaken .. this is why I suggested an experiment: only by trying something different will you start to learn how to use mindfulness more wisely and without the obstacles you encounter now.

Quote
So Do have other kinds of meditation suggestions besides observing my breathing in and breathing out that suit my conditions?

If you look at the Sutta linked above, you will find that mindfulness with breathing is the first stop on a journey of getting to know yourself better. It goes beyond body and breath. However, even mastering mindfulness with breathing may take a long time, depending on your starting conditions/life experience, and the time you are able to practice.

For now it's probably best to try the experiment and not complicated things: you need to become comfortable in body and mind with this practice, and find out if you encounter the same problems or not. Perhaps after a period of working on that there is some benefit in bringing in other meditations, such as developing compassion and cultivating an attitude of kindness and acceptance towards all you encounter.

Quote
And I would like to donate at least $10-20 every month to this forum. And this money can be spent for other meditation practitioners or to offer foods to the monks or to whatever that can benefit the Buddishm.

Thank you for your generous thought, it is very kind. It might be more sensible to find a charity to donate to directly though. We aren't a clearing house for such matters - and our costs are covered until around September 2024 already.

Thank you, Matthew, for this beautiful and useful explanation.

Hope it helps Monica.