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Anxiety is crippling. I know this from years and years of anxiety attacks.

Many years ago, meditation induced panic attacks, so I wasn't able to meditate properly.

You have to convince yourself that the problem is your mind - not your body. That is not easy to do.

A Theravada monk teacher suggested that it is perfectly fine to lie down to meditate instead of sitting in the standard meditation position.

You might consider TRE shaking therapy (google it). You can do it by yourself.  It's simple. You shake out all the tensions and traumas built up in the body.  As long as you don't have real psychosis (severe PTSD, bipolarism, etc.), you will be fine. If you have severe mental illness, you need to do it under a trained TRE expert. That said,  most all the videos on Youtube show you how easy it is. The only thing is, is that you have to stay with it. You can't do it for a month or two, and then quit.

You need to combine TRE perhaps with your vipassana or zen-style meditation practice. Even some Tibetan visualization meditations would be good for you. Learn to observe your body, and understand that all your emotions arise from transient thoughts that have no inherent value or existence.

Also, perhaps try chanting "AH", and feel the vibration below the belly button; or, go do Shumbhavi mudra (raise your head a bit and turn your eyes inward toward the third eye area between eyebrows on a lotus position.

I'm sorry if I overloaded you with information. There is hope. The holy Buddha promised that "even this shall pass" (impermanence of all phenomena). I tell myself this. It is logical, but yet we fight against the rational mind. We know all things are constantly changing.

I've been struggling lately with anxiety and anger. It is samsara. Another thing that helps is knowing that life is suffering. You must come to terms with this reality.
 
Much love in the Dharma  :)
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Usually in meditation we observe sensations and note that they are transient, temporary and they arise and disappear. But if meditation causes you anxiety attacks, then maybe you shouldn't do it or do it under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
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Hi all


I wrote this post weeks ago, but because I felt better I decided not to share it. Today the same thing I described below happened to me, I'm worried and would like to know if someone knows anything about or felt the same.

My name is Ada, I'm 21 years old.
I’ve been meditating for almost 2 years years now, every day for about 5-12 minutes. A couple of weeks ago I had my first 30 minutes long meditation (it was a guided visualization). In the last maybe 10 minutes of the practice, I felt like my heart skipped a beat, my whole body fluttered, it kind of felt like I was falling asleep and someone pulled me back. I didn’t really care about it then and just kept going with the practice.
The same sensation occurred multiple times after, in the same situation (the end of the meditation). I started to really worry about it. The feeling became stronger and now makes my body flutter every time I meditate, ruining my practice. Since I realized something is not right, the sensation started to haunt me at night, right before falling asleep. I'm afraid of it, my sleep is very bad and I wake up almost every hour. In the same days I started meditating for longer I also started the Wim Hoff breathing technique. When this happened to me at night for the first time I stopped this practice cause I thought it might be in some kind related.
After it kept happening to me for a couple of days in a row, I called the doctor. He thinks it's the stress related to moving out of the house in 2 weeks, although I told him I'm not that stressed (at least consciously) about it. I had a blood test done and am going to have ECG. Still waiting for the results.
I have a healthy lifestyle, I'm vegan, I eat clean, drink a lot of water, supplement with vitamins and exercise.
 
But I also have depression and anxiety. Since I started to do yoga and focus a lot more than before on my spirituality (about 3 months now) my mental health is a lot better and I manage it easier than ever.
In the past, I had the feeling of my heart skipping a beat although it felt different from what I have now and wasn't regular at all (once for a couple of months, now- every day before going to sleep and meditating).
I also had a pain in the left side of my chest, have been taken by ambulance, and tested with ECG. Medics told me that everything looks good and it's probably one of the chest muscles cause I did yoga with a lot of chaturangas that day, or stress.

Today I woke up gasping for breath. I never had this sensation before, I know how my sleep paralysis used to feel and it's completely different. I'm really worried, I haven't slept almost the whole night cause I'm simply afraid to do so.
Does anyone have any idea what it is? Why did it start to happen while meditating for longer?
I'd highly appreciate any answer.


And now the update after a couple of weeks:
After having done ECG and the blood test the doctor said everything looks good and its most probably anxiety. She prescribed me anxiety and insomnia medication. My sleep got a lot better, the heart sensation I was describing before stopped completely. But there's also another thing. Because of moving around and having a lot on my head, I narrowed down the meditation to about 13 minutes.

A couple of days ago, when I already settled at the new place, I expanded my practice to 30 minutes.
And today it happened again, exactly the same feeling as before, at the of the practice.

I'm really confused, can anyone share their thoughts/experiences with this kind of feeling?

Thank you for taking your time on reading.

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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Struggling - no equanimity
« Last post by Alex on July 30, 2020, 02:07:49 PM »
Hi Alex. Thanks for your response. No worries. I always read threads, but only make a comment if I think it might be of some help. I'm always rather reticent to offer advice about using meditation and the path for its therapeutic value. I'm a great believer that the best time to make progress is when everything else in your life is quiet and there's nothing much happening. Over the years I saw many people attending the Buddhist centre for the first time at a time of crisis in their lives in the hope that they will find an answer there. The people in charge were very good at advising such people at a personal level, but this is so much harder when you only know them from a couple of posts.

I wouldn't say that I thrive on disagreements to my posts, but I always reflect to see whether I was wrong in what I said and, strangely, enjoy finding where I've been wrong. It's the only way to learn. On the other hand there often isn't a right or wrong answer and its useful to see what has been thrown into the mix to mull over. I don't mind when people read posts and don't post themselves, and I hope they find it helpful, but it is much more satisfying to get some kind of reaction, whatever it is. I'm fairly fireproof so please keep responding whether you feel I might agree or not.

Allright, thanks!
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Strange feeling when meditating
« Last post by Matthew on July 29, 2020, 03:58:07 PM »
Hey Will,

I've had some similar experiences personally - particularly this energy people label as kundalini. The first time was in Munich in 94 when a friend leant me Sogyal Rinpoche's "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying".

After reading a few chapters I came across a meditation called 'Tonglen' or 'sending and receiving'. In this practice one visualises breathing in all the darkness in the world and sending out loving kindness to replace it. Wow! Was I in for a shock. After 20 minutes I had this energy running up and down my spine - it sure was intense. Not painful exactly, yet so intense and joyous as to almost be unbearable. So I stopped. Let it dissolve, and it did. I wanted to see if the experience was reproducible or a one off, so once I was sat fully in peace I started the practice again. Sure enough, this time after just a few minutes, there it was - like I had electrodes attached at the top and base of my spine inducing powerful waves of energy.

I kind of scared myself at this point, what with no training, no reference points, and just a dusty old book as my guide 😁

So I didn't go there again. Not then. Since I have experienced similar strange manifestations of many kinds in practice. My rule of thumb with whatever arises is to let it be, to watch its arising and falling, and most importantly, not to apply too many labels or stories to it. Things are what they are - words and stories hide reality from us more often than they reveal it.

How are you doing now I wonder? Has anything else like this happened? Are you able to practice without clinging to such experiences?

Kindest regards,

Matthew
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Struggling - no equanimity
« Last post by stillpointdancer on July 29, 2020, 11:23:08 AM »
It has been an interesting, if somewhat infuriating at times, discussion.

Definitely!

@stillpointdancer
Don't know if you're still reading this thread, but reflecting back, I regret a reaction of disagreement towards something you wrote. It was prompted by emotion. I'm sorry if I caused you any harm.

Kindly
Alex
Hi Alex. Thanks for your response. No worries. I always read threads, but only make a comment if I think it might be of some help. I'm always rather reticent to offer advice about using meditation and the path for its therapeutic value. I'm a great believer that the best time to make progress is when everything else in your life is quiet and there's nothing much happening. Over the years I saw many people attending the Buddhist centre for the first time at a time of crisis in their lives in the hope that they will find an answer there. The people in charge were very good at advising such people at a personal level, but this is so much harder when you only know them from a couple of posts.

I wouldn't say that I thrive on disagreements to my posts, but I always reflect to see whether I was wrong in what I said and, strangely, enjoy finding where I've been wrong. It's the only way to learn. On the other hand there often isn't a right or wrong answer and its useful to see what has been thrown into the mix to mull over. I don't mind when people read posts and don't post themselves, and I hope they find it helpful, but it is much more satisfying to get some kind of reaction, whatever it is. I'm fairly fireproof so please keep responding whether you feel I might agree or not.
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Struggling - no equanimity
« Last post by Alex on July 29, 2020, 08:37:16 AM »
It has been an interesting, if somewhat infuriating at times, discussion.

Definitely!

@stillpointdancer
Don't know if you're still reading this thread, but reflecting back, I regret a reaction of disagreement towards something you wrote. It was prompted by emotion. I'm sorry if I caused you any harm.

Kindly
Alex
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Struggling - no equanimity
« Last post by Matthew on July 29, 2020, 01:01:54 AM »
A lot more words. Read what Alex and Middleway have written Sarah. Both write from a position of great compassion and with much wisdom.

You wrote:

Quote
but I don’t feel I can cultivate that via meditation, because I can’t generate the feelings of calm abiding/love/etc....

Yet the truth is you have chosen not to try and cultivate this. You have been offered advice as to how you can do so, if you want to, yet because of the strength of the stories you tell yourself, you choose not to.

I wish you the very best. I hope you will find your balance and equanimity soon, and the strength to continue growing, to move beyond that you cling to.

I do not believe there is anything more we can offer you at this point. It has been an interesting, if somewhat infuriating at times, discussion. For the benefit of you and the community here I will now bar you from posting for one month. If you decide you are ready to meditate again at some point in the future, we will be here if you seek companionship on that journey, but for now it's time to practice - it's why we are all here, and clearly at the moment, you are not.

Look after yourself. Stop believing the stories you tell yourself. They don't help you.

And realise you are stuck in fight flight, and you need to escape this trap this by seeing it.
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Struggling - no equanimity
« Last post by Sarahpro on July 28, 2020, 11:54:59 PM »
Hey. I don’t think it’s because of fight or flight? I don’t feel a fight or flight reaction. I’d say it’s because my heart is empty. The more empty, the less home I feel in my body.
About cultivating body awareness....like I’ve mentioned the awareness dwindled gradually as I lost balance of my mind. I really think the heart seems to be a connector of body and mind/ the more self love I held, the more I was aware of subtle sensations, I guess because I was out of my mind.
At this moment, I feel like if I go into my body, I just go into emptiness and reactivity. I know reactivity is a choice but it doesn’t feel that simple. It just feels like my mind habitually reacts so quickly with so many horrible thoughts that I don’t even have a choice not to react. So yeah awareness may not be the best thing right now.
Also theoretically the meds I’m on should be working better. If I’ve had a psychotic break I should not be facing the fear that caused the damage, but unfortunately the meds aren’t working very well, I think because the depersonalization is so intense.
Maybe there is still nothing you can say. I am grateful for the support. I guess what I really wanted to hear here is that everything would be ok if I committed to ignoring my thoughts etc and that I could find the light again. I don’t believe meditation will get me there, I believe it has to be found in the healing of relationships, but I haven’t been ready to let in love yet I guess. I’d find it hard to believe that an awareness based practice could benefit me right now when awareness was the problem, showing me more than I’m ready for. Equanimity is what I lack, but I don’t feel I can cultivate that via meditation, because I can’t generate the feelings of calm abiding/love/etc.... sooo I feel like I’m stuck until I heal
I also really just wanted to hear that people have been  in similar predicaments and have found their way out. Like those who have had ego death, lost all equanimity/love, etc.
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Struggling - no equanimity
« Last post by Alex on July 28, 2020, 11:11:51 PM »
Hi Sarah


About attention

There is primitive type of attention in threat-like situation: attention is narrowly focussed (on perceived threat), shifts involuntarily (to threat cues). There is low level of present-moment awareness. The focus is on content of our thoughts. In science this is called bottom-up attention.

The more cognitively complex attention (that allows for skilfull emotion processing) on the other hand shifts flexibly, to the full range of internal and external inputs, it is more open and inquisitive, ready to learn. It can monitor and guide the process. This is called top-down attention.

Language is such a tricky thing. We use the word ‘awareness’, but we mean very different things…
When you use 'awareness', you mean first primitive threat-based type of awareness. You litterally said you don't feel safe in your body: your threat-system is active. Or fight/flight mode as referred to by Matthew. Attention shifts unvoluntarily and reactively to mainly the mental reactions about the sensations you feel.

Bodily felt safety and the accompanying soft, natural awareness (and the benefits this has for learning and emotion processing) WILL be the fruit of a practice as described in the homepage, in no way do they have to be the starting point. You don't need that type of awareness to start the practice, you crave it, but you really don't, you can develop it. All members of this forum are living proof of that.

And even though you're choosing not to develop what you cherish most, this option will always be available.
Your choice also means that there is not much more to say here...

I wish you well.
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