Author Topic: Relationship between emotions and sensations.  (Read 2291 times)

gasteria

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Relationship between emotions and sensations.
« on: October 08, 2014, 08:50:06 PM »
I went through 10 days Vipassana course. I bought recordings of meditations and discourses. Listened to it again and again and still have questions.

1. How I can have aversion or craving in response to body sensations?
When I get angry my jaws get tense and teeth are clenching. But jaws sensation is completely neutral. I don't feel any aversion to it. I feel aversion to my anger but not to what my jaws feel like.

2. What does it mean gross sensations?  When there is lots of pain in the body, or when my body responds to my negative emotions?

3. I feel some vibrations in arms, legs and the face. But I don't feel anything in the rest of the body. Like they are not present during meditation. Except when sitting on the chair my back feels the chair. What the fact that I don't feel anything in most of my body means for my practicing of Vipassana?

4. I still don't get what is the purpose of constant scanning my body for sensations. I practice meditation for more than a month and nothing has changed in my sensations.

5. As for my emotions I made extreme progress. I do not react to negative emotions. I stopped being sarcastic and mean to other people or myself in response to my anger, resentment, fear and other emotions. I just endure it and wait it to pass. Also I get lots of serenity from meditations. So I apply Dhamma on emotional level but I don't get it in the body sensations and subconscious department.

I would appreciate sharing with any thoughts.


Goofaholix

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Re: Relationship between emotions and sensations.
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2014, 02:39:58 AM »
1. When you experience a pleasant bodily sensation you want to experience longer, or again, this is craving.  When you experience an unpleasant bodily sensation you want it to stop, and not come back again, this is aversion.  When you start seeing this process happen then you stop reacting to it on impulse, you then can choose how to react to these things.

2. Gross sensations are strong or obvious sensations, usually these are unpleasant but not necessarily so.

3.  If you don't feel sensations in certain parts of the body this is because the mind hasn't become sensitive enough to feel them as they are always there but some parts of the body are more difficult to feel than others.  You increase sensitivity by practising observing those areas.

4.  the purpose is not to change the sensations, the purpose is to experience the kinds of changes you explained in question 5, this is achieved by being more sensitive to and equanimous with what is happening in the body.

gasteria

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Re: Relationship between emotions and sensations.
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2014, 08:31:36 PM »
Thank you  Goofaholix for your response.

I agree that all emotions are reflected in the body. But I have hard time to recognize it. In the discourse 9 Mr. Goenka mentions that when someone is angry he gets unpleasant sensations in his body. He should focus on these unpleasant sensations instead of the anger itself. It might be faster breathing or maybe heat or maybe something else. But I fail to recognize that these sensations are unpleasant or gross. Just neutral physical feelings.

Same with pleasant sensations. Full stomach, or nice warmth, or being rested is a pleasant sensation. I don't think I am craving for it. I just enjoy it.

On the other hand I have tons of emotional  pleasant hang-ups. I like to be a center of attention, to be prized and appreciated. I like to look good and my closet is a testament how vain I am. But I don't feel it in my body. I guess I need to train my mind to better sense my body.

One positive side effect of Vipassana is that I lost 8 pounds in one month because I started to sense when my stomach is full and don't overeat any more.

I am looking forward see what else Vipassana can do for me.

yossarian

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Re: Relationship between emotions and sensations.
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2014, 06:45:15 AM »

On the other hand I have tons of emotional  pleasant hang-ups. I like to be a center of attention, to be prized and appreciated. I like to look good and my closet is a testament how vain I am. But I don't feel it in my body. I guess I need to train my mind to better sense my body.


I think this is exactly right.  The more dramatic sensations may be clear to you if you give it a seconds reflection (Orgasm, winning the spelling bee, opening birthday presents, ace-ing a test, seeing an attractive person etc...)   If you are "enjoying" any activity, whether ice cream or praise and attention, your brain's reward center is going off and releasing "feel good" neurotransmitters. There is a distinct tactile response to these experiences (maybe think of it as "mmmmmmmm"  ;D). The same goes for negative reactions, think of what dread feels like or, for example, crying is a universal physical process with distinct characteristics: squinting eyes, quivering chin, contracting stomach muscles etc... there are sensations in all of this. You simply need to sensitize yourself to the process of reacting, right now you're too close to it to realize it's taking place. If you keep practicing, you will eventually be able to see this process in a sort of third person perspective. Once you reach this stage you can begin to see the subtle aspects of craving.

Also, it's typical that our limbs are easy to feel sensations on yet our trunk area is often "blocked" when we start out. I think this is even addressed in The Art of Living Q&A section. I'm not entirely sure why this is the case but I speculate it's because we store so many of our reactions in our trunks, especially the gut, which has the second largest number of neurotransmitter receptors in our body next to the brain (hence the phrase "gut feeling"). This sheer mass of reaction means its more difficult for us to cut through our self-delusion in order to see it objectively. You may want to try Shamatha as an alternative method of insight practice as described on the homepage of this forum. The advantage of this method is it's emphasis on relaxation coupled with body awareness. You may find when you focus on relaxing and letting go, your body begins to "open up"

Otherwise, keep up the good work. I'm glad you are seeing such good results already.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 07:26:15 AM by yossarian »

Goofaholix

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Re: Relationship between emotions and sensations.
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2014, 08:23:01 AM »
But I fail to recognize that these sensations are unpleasant or gross. Just neutral physical feelings.

It's not as black and white as that, any number of sensations can be coming and going at any one time the point is now you're interested in them and over time the more interested you get the more you'll see patterns and how they tie in with your mental and emotional states.

 

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