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Hi Michael
If you are meditating for a reason such as anxiety then it's important to understand what it is you are actually doing. I began meditating many years ago as an experiment to see if it could change how I perceived things (I was a science teacher interested in optics). Little did I know what I was starting.

1.) does anyone know what happened to me what did i experience?
The simple answer is stuff happens when you meditate, so it's best to try a few simple guided meditations first if you can't find a teacher. What you did is called 'Just Sitting' meditation and is quite advanced for a beginner as things tend to bubble up to the surface of your mind. Sometimes you merely become aware of stuff that happens anyway but normally doesn't get noticed.

2.) what does anyone know about the negative experiences of people?
If you research meditation you will find lots of examples of negative experiences. Again, a teacher will help but if you can't get one it's important to understand that meditating is not usually a series of happy, relaxed sitting experiences. It can be, but it means you aren't making any changes you might want to make, although the medical benefits such as lower blood pressure are often useful.

3.) is meditation not for everyone?
When I was a teacher in a Primary school I often used to take assemblies (usually morning religious assemblies here in the UK) and teach simple meditation to 8 to 11 year olds as part of multicultural themed assemblies. Most of them seemed to enjoy it but there were always those who didn't. My own view is that most people miss out on something if they don't meditate.

4.)What is meditation? like what is it really?
We are only just starting to understand this. Current thinking is that the brain is so plastic that it continually changes. New cells can form as we learn new things and new connections between areas of the brain can replace old connections in ways we can physically measure. Whatever we do brings about change in the brain, if only a strengthening of habitual thinking and understanding.
Meditation has developed over thousands of years to take advantage of this plasticity in the brain. People might not have known how meditation worked, but trial and error showed the effects of it. When we meditate, whether we know it or not, we change the wiring in our brains deliberately rather than leaving things to happen by chance as they do every day. How we choose to meditate dictates how we want our brains to change.
Buddhist meditation has developed differently in different parts of the world, but there are common strands to bring some kind of balance to how we change. There are relaxation meditations to help both mental and physical health, mindfulness meditations to make us more aware of what we are and how we respond to the world, vipassana or insight meditations to help us understand things in a different way (maybe levels of consciousness?) and so on.

So what meditation is really, at least in my understanding, is a series of practices to give you the chance to change yourself, in ways that you control, by sitting (or standing or walking) within some kind of meditation practice. The changes are real and measurable (with the right equipment you can see physical changes in the brain). It's a bumpy road but one that has enriched my own life and hopefully yours too if you decide to carry on.
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Questions on Meditation effects good and bad
« Last post by georg7887 on November 28, 2019, 10:49:58 AM »
Hi Michael,

I'm trying to give you a detailed answer to your first question. If you don't understand something, please feel free to ask. If you are interested in my opinion on the other questions please let me know.

In the following I want to describe, in my understanding of reality, what you may have experienced during and after the meditation. I write may here, because I'm not claiming to be a seer or psycic ;). I just wanna make clear that all my following assumptions on your experiences are based on my own and could also contain some of my own misunterstandings. May the following words be of some benefit to you.

During meditation you were (as you described) focusing your attention on sounds and thoughts. At one moment (to another and maybe another, …) you felt a bodily sensation (intense pressure in your forehead).

At this moment(s) your attention got attracted by this bodily sensation and your focus shifted (away from sounds) to the pressure in your forehead.

So, this bodily sensation become your new object of meditation (knowingly or unknowingly, only you could tell). To this point it was only a sensation (without any positivity or negativity in it), it was just pressure, which you were recognizing.

Then your mind was reacting (unknowingly I assume) to this sensation, which showed up in a feeling tone (which in Buddhism is “only” to distinguish between liking, disliking and neutral). I assume it was a feeling of disliking.

This feeling of disliking led to identification with the pressure (=I’am the pressure) and a “judging” response (e.g. thoughts (knowingly or yet unknowingly to you) like I’don’t like it, make it go away, I should be calm, etc.). This thoughts probably caused a reaction of more bodily sensations, identifications, thoughts, which lead to more and more (unaware) confusion, till you came to the moment when you were recognizing: I’m anxious.

This bunch of bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts, etc. made up the story which we call anxiety. So, anxiety is not just one thing.

The really important thing were the moment you recognized anxiety: You were awake at that moment, being back in the here and now, experiencing some taste of anxiety.

So, what can you get out of that? The one side of your experience showed you, that this hole bunch of unknowing experiences (anxiety) were too heavy to handle for you and you was trapped in your anxiety instead of watching and observing it for what it really is (sensations, feelings, thoughts, etc.).

The other side of this experience motivated you to search for a solution/answer, to overcome your anxiety.

In short: Overcoming your anxiety with meditation is possible: You can do that in getting to know your anxiety better and befriend with it over time. Step by step, little by litte. Not forcing anything and trying to be gentle with you, even if anxiety overwhelmed you – it’s only human.

Meditation can be your training field, in which you can start to watch what your anxiety is made up of, it’s the playground in which you can get in contact with it. But I can’t say it often enough, don’t force yourself too much, start regularly but slow. 

You may reflect on the following question:
-   What do you think what meditation should be like/should not be like
-       or in other words, does a good or a bad meditation exists and if so, what makes the good one
        good and the bad one bad?

I also would be interested how if you tell me something about how you meditate (how long, how often, etc.)


Greetings Georg
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Questions on Meditation effects good and bad
« Last post by Siddharth on November 28, 2019, 07:17:46 AM »
1) what happened to you is fairly common and is basically you getting a little anxious due to observing things in your body mind that you did not know about before..
2) negative experience of meditation is generally when people force more than they can handle..like 10 hours a day for 2 months and so on..also depends from person to person and if you have serious psychological issues..you should take up meditation under guidance but from what you described..you will be fine.
3) this has been discussed a lot of times here...the thing with meditation is that it does work as mentioned here before. And you must be accepting of all the +ve and seemingly negative externalities..
4) i leave this to others...and suggest you figure out for yourself..

With regards,
Siddharth
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Questions on Meditation effects good and bad
« Last post by michael171 on November 28, 2019, 01:46:38 AM »
I started practicing meditation about 2 months ago to help with anxiety. However, i wasn't practicing an explicit type vipassana or mantra. I was simply sitting out side and listening to the sounds and watching thoughts come and go trying not to focus on them. After a while i began to get this relatively intense pressure in my head more so on my left temple and it would migrate to the center of my forehead, now i researched this and found that it was not uncommon, However the reasons for it are many ranging from chakras to stuck energy to a third eye etc. Now, Im not very religious however this did kind of freak me out. I mean who would have thought that just sitting in silence would cause issues. And keep in mind i started "meditating" with out any prior knowledge of any of these topics so to go in and read some of these topics caused a bit (lot) of anxiety as well as confusion on the topic. I also did some research on negative effects of meditation, there are accounts of people going deeper into depression getting more anxious experiencing flashbacks from past traumas, involuntary bodily movements feelings of "spacing out" and even psychosis. I am not here to bad mouth this practice i simply wish to understand i did feel better when i meditated and to be honest the only reason i had anxiety was because of what i read i don't think it was a result of meditation. At first i thought i had a brain tumor lol. But yeah there were positive results i felt good i felt calmer and I think it helped me with maintain a sense of focus and peace. I have not meditated since everything i have read mostly so that i could wait for the head pressure to clear up(which it has mostly) and to better understand what it is that i am doing. I feel that i was practicing something i didn't fully understand and so because of all of this i wanted to see if i could find more knowledge and to see if this is something for me or not. 

So my questions are pretty simple
1.) does anyone know what happened to me what did i experience?
2.) what does anyone know about the negative expierences of people?
3.) is meditation not for everyone?
4.)What is meditation? like what is it really?
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Meditation Audio And Video / Re: Basic buddhist meditation instructions
« Last post by efeatherly1 on November 27, 2019, 04:55:37 PM »
Many thanks for your kindness! I'm sticking with it Matthew. I know I need time to explore and experience where I am.  Perhaps knowledge and background could help in my understanding, enrich and sustain my motivation. I'm aware to bring awareness back from the many thoughts. I hope to get more comfortable and the experience becomes more pleasant. I'm agitated, most everywhere.
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Meditation Audio And Video / Re: Basic buddhist meditation instructions
« Last post by Matthew on November 27, 2019, 04:27:20 PM »
Agree with Raushan. Also:

https://www.veoh.com/find/Tan%20Ajahn%20Jayasaro

From that link you can access the videos from Tan Ajahn Jayasaro, a student of Ajahn Brahm - these are quite good (the link posted higher up no longer works). Unfortunately a couple of important ones have gone .... aha! impermanence ....

It's only five days since you had the "Gotcha!" moment with Shamatha practice, so I would suggest time exploring it on the cushion is still your wisest investment efeatherly :)
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Meditation Audio And Video / Re: Basic buddhist meditation instructions
« Last post by raushan on November 27, 2019, 02:41:46 PM »
Check videos by Ajahn Brahm and Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Meditation Audio And Video / Re: Basic buddhist meditation instructions
« Last post by efeatherly1 on November 26, 2019, 08:32:24 PM »
Is there an online shamatha/vipassana course that coincides with the shamatha instructions (by Matthew) on this Forum, that anyone would recommend?
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Sangha: Community Introductions / Re: New members introduction thread 2017 - present.
« Last post by Middleway on November 24, 2019, 02:08:18 AM »
Welcome to the forum Matthew!
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Hello, my name is Matthew.  I have been doing meditation at home for 5 months, and I have listened to quite a few audio books about meditation. It was the Art of Living book that really struck a chord with me.  I plan to go on 10 day retreat at some point.  I am currently listening to The Mind Illuminated (which is helpful), but as a beginner I have a lot of questions.
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