Author Topic: Observing emerging dreams  (Read 1970 times)

vedanta

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Observing emerging dreams
« on: June 23, 2014, 10:24:43 AM »
Just for overview on myself, I have been meditating for 10 months now. Self trained based on books and but shall be attending a goenka course in September. So far my practice mainly involves breath meditation and study of sensations in chest and abdomen area with relation to thoughts and feelings.

I have been encountering a problem since past 1 month. After about 20 min into meditation, my eyelids feel heavy and I start seeing weird figures/objects like a very distorted figure of a man gradually increasing in size from tiny to a good picture size who over time smiles or does some action.....Figures or visions are always different from each other, different from reality, and don't seem to have any relevance. I usually catch them within a few seconds of formation and they disappear.

BUT I have noticed that if I don't catch them quickly more figures join it and it turns into a dream! This is different from daydreaming or normal thoughts we have related to everyday people and stuff. It is more like night dreams.

I am always sitting alert, cross legged, back straight, never dozing. I lose my focus to these visions generally for a few seconds and am back to my breath. Again and again. Constantly till I get up. If I sit for an hour, this starts at 20-25 min into meditation and continues all the way till the end of the hour. When I finally get up my eyelids still feel heavy and I am probably slightly sleepy like but not sure if this is because of an hour long meditation or I am actually 'sleepy'. I certainly don't feel like going to bed.

I make sure I sleep 7-8 hours everyday, even tried 9 hours. I exercise for an hour and shower before i sit. So i am not sleepy. Tried only showering, no exercising - no change. I tried in the afternoon in bright daylight. No difference.

I googled this. From the information I found it is either sleep deprivation or exhaustion. But I am neither. Or it is seen in beginners. But I am already 10-11 months into meditation. Having this problem only since a month now. Sometimes I go in and out of it, meaning I shall be in this state for a few minutes then normal meditation state with intermittent daydreaming (diff from these visions) and intermittent focussed attention on breathing and at other times stuck in constant dream like state.  Found some discussion in a yoga forum but the chakras, energy...didn't make any sense to me.

Is this a phase? What is happening?
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 08:30:24 PM by vedanta »

Matthew

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Re: Observing emerging dreams
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2014, 02:46:10 PM »
Hello Vedanta,

It's hard to say for sure, sometimes practice does vary. For the main part my practice leaves me feeling awake and aware and though there have been temporary periods when it has left me feeling sleepy I have never encountered the kind of visions (hallucinations?) you describe.


It could be the case that the way you are focusing on the breath is tranquillising you into a mild hypnosis. I wonder if you meditate with eyes open or closed also. If eyes closed then meditating with them open and looking at the floor 1-2M in front of you could overcome this. If concentration becomes too loose bring the gaze nearer and if too tight lift your eyes a little.

It could also be the case that this is a 'phase' you are passing through although that you report it happening regularly 20-25 minutes into practice makes me suspect it is more likely due to a subtlety of practice leading to you fall into the edge of sleepiness.

Kind regards,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

vedanta

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Re: Observing emerging dreams
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2014, 10:42:12 AM »
They are definitely not hallucinations. I am certainly dreaming. But these are dreamswe generally see at night, not day dreams. Only difference being I catch myself a few seconds or sometimes a little more ( half a minute?) into the dreams.

If this is something normal, I am fine with it. For example, I read someone's comment on a yoga site to a similar problem somebody had. It said that behind the normal thinking layer this is just another layer which is where we enter into at night. But there was just one person who had responded with such a response. Everyone else seemed not to have experienced this.

Then it makes me wonder if I am actually dozing subtly, not deep enough to fall asleep. If so,  i feel like i am actually  wasting my time as I am not alert. Yesterday I cut short my meditation at 30 min because I was 'dreaming' for the last 20 min. I don't know if it is the fear but for the past 2 days the 'dreaming' starts 10 min into meditation.

Some people on the yoga forum had suggested to direct ones focus to the observer. I tried but am unable to do. I keep losing focus to the dreams.

Matthew

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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Observing emerging dreams
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 01:15:20 PM »
Sounds like you are dozing off. If it was a mind-layer beneath normal consciousness you would not expect to feel sleepy and unalert when accessing it whilst awake.

How do you focus on breathing?

Also it may be worth trying the above suggestion regarding eyes open.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

VinceField

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Re: Observing emerging dreams
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2014, 05:57:03 PM »
I have experienced what I believe you are experiencing many times, although it only happens when I am meditating while lying in bed.  My lucid dreaming and out of body practices have helped shed some light onto these phenomenon, as I have experienced them countless times in numerous variations.  When your relaxation deepens past a certain level your body starts to prepare for sleep, and at this point visualizations usually start to arise.  Whether these visuals and sometimes audios (which can often times seem real) are strictly a product of the subconscious mind or if there is an accessing of other realities is hard to say.  What generally happens is one's consciousness shifts from a physical attunement to a nonphysical attunement, and one's nonphysical or spiritual layers of self are accessed and a limitless variety of experiences may arise.  If one allows this state to deepen even more, one's consciousness will shift into either the dream state or the out of body state, depending on one's levels of awareness and lucidity.  If one is not mindful, the dream state can be unknowingly entered seemingly within moments.  You will suddenly find yourself immersed in another reality engaged in situations that you were unconscious of entering.  If the meditator remains mindful, one can find themselves shifting into nonphysical dimensions and spiritual realms and can then consciously explore the nonphysical universe. 

Quardamon

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Re: Observing emerging dreams
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2014, 06:19:44 PM »
OK. If the comment of VinceField helps you, great. But you said, that the chackra's , energy on a yoga forum did not make sens to you.
The reaction I was writing at the same time is more harsh:

So far, I am just following whatever I gathered from books and youtube videos, major influence being 3 steps to awakening by Larry Rosenberg.
If I try to focus on my breath during daily life to maintain mindfulness,    . . .   

Do I understand well, that you try to meditate all day?

Meditation, in part, is a skill - just like rowing.
If you train too much in the beginning, you are asking for problems.

You have to learn what meditation does to you, and proceed from there.
So, to be concrete: Stop doing it all day.

I hope you can take my directness. And I really want to know if I understood well that you do it all day.

@ VinceField: Thank you.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Observing emerging dreams
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2014, 10:17:43 PM »
...
If I try to focus on my breath during daily life to maintain mindfulness,    . . .   

Do I understand well, that you try to meditate all day?

Meditation, in part, is a skill - just like rowing.
If you train too much in the beginning, you are asking for problems.

You have to learn what meditation does to you, and proceed from there.
So, to be concrete: Stop doing it all day.

I hope you can take my directness. And I really want to know if I understood well that you do it all day.

@ VinceField: Thank you.

Nicely put Q.

Additionally, in daily life it is more productive meditation to fully concentrate/immerse yourself in what you are doing. Driving a car whilst meditating can be a hazardous exercise.

When reading be mindful of reading, when walking be mindful of walking, when talking be mindful of speech, when taking any action ... be mindful of the action. And, be mindful of the thought and intentions behind these things.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 10:35:40 PM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

vedanta

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Re: Observing emerging dreams
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2014, 11:05:57 AM »
Do I understand well, that you try to meditate all day?
I don’t do sitting meditation all day. I meditate for an hour each day. The dream problem occurs only when I sit and meditate.
I wonder if you meditate with eyes open or closed also. If eyes closed then meditating with them open and looking at the floor 1-2M in front of you could overcome this. If concentration becomes too loose bring the gaze nearer and if too tight lift your eyes a little.
I have tried meditating with my eyes open but I feel like it makes my eyes squint as I concentrate, even if I am looking 1-2 m away.  The squinting seems to bothers me, I try to ‘unsquint’ them but it is a constant distraction. As minutes pass (like 10-15), I naturally feel like closing my eyes. I have given up on this months ago and continued with eyes open.
You will suddenly find yourself immersed in another reality engaged in situations that you were unconscious of entering.  If the meditator remains mindful, one can find themselves shifting into nonphysical dimensions and spiritual realms and can then consciously explore the nonphysical universe.
Now I am a very timid person  :( and am certainly not up for this. I am just concerned with ‘my mind’ and don't want any paranormal experiences.
If one allows this state to deepen even more, one's consciousness will shift into either the dream state or the out of body state, depending on one's levels of awareness and lucidity. 
I don’t want to allow this state to deepen -dozing, dreaming, entering parananormal whatever. I took a very strong coffee yesterday before sitting, worked (not sure if this was just a coincidence, shall try again). But I am not a coffee person and do not want to get a caffeine addiction for the sake of meditation.
How do you focus on breathing?
I used to focus on the nostrils till months ago.  Now I do this only if I feel like it, either part or entire session. Otherwise, I focus on just being aware of sitting and breathing, plain awareness. At times I shift attention to my chest and abdomen. I don’t necessarily focus on one particular place. I go with the flow, no rigid sequence. If I can catch my thoughts as they come OR  if I look back at the thought trails I just had and feel any sensations in my chest/abdomen area, I focus on them instead of breathing or split my attention between these sensations and my breathing. Sometimes these sensations are pretty strong. I tried Goenka style body scan, not that I have taken the course. Learnt it from youtube videos. But I do this fairly ok till I reach my waist. Below that, I cant seem to hold focus. My mind goes off to entertain itself. Tried this for a month. Gave up. Shall be doing the course in september.

Now for my post on mindfulness. I am confused again.

Do I understand well, that you try to meditate all day?
Meditation, in part, is a skill - just like rowing.
If you train too much in the beginning, you are asking for problems.
Shouldn't I be practicing mindfulness all day? Not that I can. I am mostly lost in work, external objects or self-entertainment (thoughts). And I dont even remember to be mindful most of the time. I remember only when I am alone or doing some low level activity not needing much attention. When I am driving, I use a mindfulness app that rings a bell every 1 min (or as I set it) and reminds me of being mindful. A book I read "How to get out of this world alive" had mentioned that in mindfulness the frequency of remembering to be mindful is important. As one practices, the frequency increases until it reaches about 300 times a day. Then one can focus on being mindful 24 hours.

Here are the possibilities in mindfulness I have experienced:
1) Externally focused attention (losing oneself in a book/movie/task) ( 2) breathing and task (split attention), 3) observer (just me as a whole) and task/observation (split attention), 4) sensations and task/observation (split again) 5) Thoughts and task (split)
When reading be mindful of reading, when walking be mindful of walking, when talking be mindful of speech, when taking any action ... be mindful of the action. And, be mindful of the thought and intentions behind these things.
Matthew probably focuses on observer and task (3 above) and then as thoughts arise, analyzes them for intentions. (5 above)

[/quote]
Looks like siddharthgode focuses on breath during tasks (2 above)
Then I guess both ways are ok?
When it comes to thoughts, this is my problem:
3) Then there are thoughts. Problem is I am either in my thoughts or being mindful. I cannot 'WATCH' my thoughts like videos or books say. When I remember to be mindful, I can try to look at the last thought I had and analyze it in terms of feeling and sensations but then what I am doing is analyzing my last few thoughts and not being mindful in that current moment. I am lost in analysis. How do I watch my thoughts in the current moment?
Here was siddharthgode’s reply:
Yes.  You are doing right. Books say to watch thoughts arise and fall. Not to let thought trails go on like videos. i.e., There is a difference between a thought and a thought trail. Thought trail is a thought that has already grabbed once's attention and desires. Thought is just a pure image or a sound which is not identified by the self yet.
I guess I read in some earlier post, that it is hard to control thoughts once you get carried away. But if you catch them as they arise (If I can do this), in the beginning, they disappear. But one should analyze them then? Is it ok to look BACK at a thought trail and analyze it NOW?
But I tend to analyze and analyze and probably make more wrong assumptions in my analysis? Then is it ok to analyze? Some books mention against this coz you can make more false beliefs. Or should I just label thoughts and let go? Besides when I analyze I lose focus on NOW.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 12:22:31 PM by vedanta »

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Observing emerging dreams
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2014, 03:19:36 PM »
If you're analysing thought at this stage it's just more thinking ... you've purchased a first class ticket on the thought-train ...

Notice the thought or thoughts, relax, return attention to mindfulness of breathing: develop calm/serenity and concentration first: Shamatha and samadhi precede insight and are foundational to it for the majority of practitioners.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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