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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?
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.
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:

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 :)
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.
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?
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!

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.
Use your newfound focus and calm to put yourself into a better place to live your life.
I am not an expert, but I can say what works for me a little bit.
1. For me, I don't get stomach knots. My hands tighten instead. So I am aware of that.
2. If I try to meditate thinking I am meditating to reduce my anxiety, then it never works for me. Then I start getting anxious about my anxiety. "Oh no, it's not working". So I get more anxious instead of less.
3. Instead, I say there is no purpose to my meditation other than sitting for 30 minutes or whatever.
4. Sometimes I m just too anxious to sit for 30 minutes. It's okay. Some days, meditation is okay. Then I don't say to myself that I am reducing anxiety. I try to not get trapped in expectatios.
5. I say I'm not trying to reduce/fight anxiety. Anxiety will always be there. Let me try to get used to anxiety, even welcome it, so more the time I spend being aware of anxiety, the better it is for me. This thought takes some time to set root in the mind. But the basic idea is to not try to reduce anxiety even regard it as an old friend.
5. I try to pracise everyday. For instance, at the grocers'. "Should I be in the other line because my cashier is a bit slow?" So this is a minor anxiety and to be aware of it is practice for bigger anxieties.
6. Metta meditation. "Oh you poor guy suffering so much." Be kind to yourself for your suffering.

I don't want to convey the impression that I have a handle on stuff. For me, it's a constant struggle as well. But I convince myself that the struggle is good for me.
Hi seekr,

It is a case of relaxing/calming bodily tensions with each in breath and each out breath. This is really is more of a physical relaxation/letting go than a mental or thought process - although the intention comes before the practical realisation, of course.

Most of the attention is placed on the breathing as you do this. Focussing attention on the physical knots may make things worse. Thinking these repetitive thoughts clearly isn't working for you either.

When you get caught in thought, just calmly notice it has happened, and return to the in breath and out breath, calming and relaxing with each in breath and with each out breath. Thoughts of "am I doing it wrong" are coming from fear generated by over-thinking.

When I first started I guess about 75% attention was on breathing & body, 25% on mental processes.

Like any skill it takes time, and repeatedly getting it wrong, before you learn how to do it right. Hopefully with each session you can make small improvements. One per cent improvement every day gives approximately a 35% improvement in one month. After two months this rises to an 87% improvement.

You did not mention how long ago you switched the practice to this method - but the above gives you some indication of timescales that you might start to feel your way into the practice.

Doubts come from fear, so let go of them and relax.
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