Author Topic: Huge pressure into the whole head  (Read 11963 times)

Anarcho

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Huge pressure into the whole head
« on: December 07, 2015, 10:18:27 AM »
Hello everyone,

First of all, I would like to say thank you for the existence of this website and all the help it can give. I want to precize that I have read at least 20 topics about this subject without finding an answer to my specific problem. That's why I'm creating this one.
I learned Vipassana with making a stage of 10 days. To explain what I feel, it's maybe important to precize that I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, for about 7 years now.
It began with a huge pressure into my teeths. Then, I felt tingling in my legs, tiredness, discomfort in all the body, and mostly a real difficulty to breathe.

The stage was difficult for me, but after a while, it helped me to feel better and more calm. Unfortunately, the difficuty to breathe was going on.
So I tried to practice Transcendental Meditation. When I began with it, I felt like if my brain was trying to go out of my head with a huge pressure. It was not a suffer, but a real unpleasant sensation.

Since this time, I feel a huge pressure into my head, every time that I practice TM or Vipassana. This terrible sensation follows me during the day after meditating.
The only possibility to make it stop is stopping meditation for days. That means forever.



My Vipassana teacher said me that it was a normal process. He explained me that the practice of TM made me come tension to the surface for eliminating them. He explained me that it was normal that I felt them during my practice of Vipassana.
He proposed me to go on with my practice, with observing these sensations with equanimity.

That's what I did. The problem is that these pressures never stop. After 2 months, they are ever so strong every time I practice. I could do the whole hour of meditation into my head. It's true that the pressures are ever changing, but they never disappear like the pains into my back when I observe them with equanimity.
I feel these pressures in all my head. For instance, I begin to observe them in the top of my head. When I observe them, they become extremely strong. It's almost impossible to keep the control. If it decreases on a point, I will feel appear another strong pressure for instance in the left of the top of my head. Then an extremely strong one in my forehead, then into my nose, then into my chin, then back into the top of my head, then into my teeths, then back in my forehead, then just a little bit more to the right of my forhead, then back in the top of my head.........  I sometimes even feel a strong dizziness. It's like if I was almost pass out. I'm every time afraid of it when I practice Vipassana.
These pressures are not a pain. But they are really unpleasant. It's extremely difficult to stay equanim compared to the other sensations.

Unfortunately, this bad sensation goes on hours after meditating. I feel only this. It becomes like an obsession. Even writing you now, I feel strong dizziness.
Unfortunately, the teacher stopped answering me. That's why I need your help.





Can I really go on practicing Vipassana without danger? You would understand that I'm afraid, because I'm feeling every time worst after practicing it, compared to the time I don't practice.
Is it really a way to eliminate my tensions? I have a lot of respect for this technique, but I'm very skeptical about the possibility that it could scientifcally be a way to eliminate the tensions. And I m of course afraid that the practice could make it worst.
Is it possible that this tension disappears if I go on practicing? Is it possible on the contrary that it only makes them more present like now?

Another question is during my practice, how many time should I take observing them? I read that some people were advising to avoid these sensations with trying to feel sensations in another part of the body. But it doesn't seem me to be the sense of Vipassana. If I understood it well, Vipassana is on the contrary a technique which proposes to face the truth, with equanimity. If I really feel the most vulgar sensations that appear to the surface, I only feel these pressures into my head.




I would be really gratefull for your advices and I hope that this topic will be able to help for years people facing the same problem than mine.



Vivek

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2015, 01:26:25 PM »
It looks like you are wanting the pain to go away, which is a sign of aversion. Sensations disappear sooner or later, but no one can predict when it happens. Doing the practice in order to make the pain go away is not beneficial and will only reinforce the aversion towards the sensations. If you keep letting of the wanting to control the sensations, it should help make progress with the practice.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Matthew

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2015, 02:46:44 PM »
Hello Anarcho,

Welcome to the forums. I'm sorry to hear you are experiencing these problems yet it has some comparisons with situations we have encountered before.

The ten day course I am guessing was with Vipassana International, the School founded by S.N Goenka. For some people the way that "Anapana" is practiced on these courses is not the most helpful. The forced concentration into a small area of focus sets up a tension in meditation from the beginning, whereas the Buddha taught, "breathing in .. aware of bodily sensations and calming bodily sensations". There is a big emphasis on calming at every stage in the way these teachings were originally taught and practiced: focussing on your nose for three days does develop concentration yet less so relaxation/calm. It also focusses your awareness on the head as opposed to the body and I note this is where you are feeling this pressure/pain.

There is an experiment I have proposed before to people having the kind of issue you are having and I would propose it to you also: On the homepage there is a meditation instruction in full for "Shamatha/Calm Abiding" meditation.

I would propose that you copy the instructions from there into a word document or some other form and print them off. Then try practicing with this method which is about feeling all bodily sensations throughout the body created by the process of breathing and relaxing/calming all areas of tension found in the body while you do this.

I would propose that you try this experiment for maybe two weeks - without doing other practices. See if it makes a difference. You will need to read the instruction carefully and maybe a few times as you go along to remind you of the differences between the practice you have been doing and the Calm Abiding practice. There is a long history of people with anxiety issues (and other psychological issues) discovering this more open and less forced technique causes them fewer problems in meditation.

The key really is to feel and not force your way into knowing the body and mind through meditation. This parallels Vivek's words above:

It looks like you are wanting the pain to go away, which is a sign of aversion. ... Doing the practice in order to make the pain go away is not beneficial and will only reinforce the aversion towards the sensations. If you keep letting of the wanting to control the sensations, it should help make progress with the practice.

If you want to try the experiment and have questions about the technique don't hesitate to ask.

Kindly,

Matthew
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Anarcho

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2015, 03:26:10 PM »
It looks like you are wanting the pain to go away, which is a sign of aversion. Sensations disappear sooner or later, but no one can predict when it happens. Doing the practice in order to make the pain go away is not beneficial and will only reinforce the aversion towards the sensations. If you keep letting of the wanting to control the sensations, it should help make progress with the practice.

Thank you for your answer, Vivek.
Of course that I have aversion for these sensations. But who could really not have some in my place?
These sensations have me made lose my friends, my job, my life and all my perspectives.
It seems me very theoritical to have no aversion for this kind of situation.
Moreover, all people I was talking to to the course were coming there with a target. That's also a sign of craving, but it worked for them. I'm wondering who is really practicing it without absolutely any kind of target. I just can't believe into it.

When I only had tingling into the legs, I was practicing with the target to make them feel lower and it worked. I also had aversion at this time. It's impossible for me to understand why it is so much different now with these pressures in my head.





Thank you very much Matthew to have also taken the time to help me.
I will try the method you recommended to me, maybe ask you some questions and I will tell you if it can evolve otherwise.





I'm sorry by the way for my english if there are some mistakes. It's not my native language.



Matthew

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2015, 03:41:10 PM »
Thank you for your answer, Vivek.
Of course that I have aversion for these sensations. But who could really not have some in my place?
These sensations have me made lose my friends, my job, my life and all my perspectives.
It seems me very theoritical to have no aversion for this kind of situation.

That's because at the moment "letting go" is principally a theoretical exercise for you - when you gain more practice at letting go you get better at it: letting go truly is an experiencial thing you can learn, it takes quite some mindfulness - you also discover it is not circumstances but our reactions to them and expectations of them that cause suffering.

I'm sorry by the way for my english if there are some mistakes. It's not my native language.

No worries Anarcho,

Your situation comes up frequently so I made the meditation instruction into a pdf file. It can be downloaded from this link:

Shamatha/Calm Abiding Instructions - pdf file
« Last Edit: December 07, 2015, 03:53:47 PM by Matthew »
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Vivek

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2015, 04:21:52 PM »
Quote
It seems me very theoritical to have no aversion for this kind of situation.
I agree, Anarcho, to have no aversion at all sounds very ideal, and that is not what I was asking you to do. What would be more useful, is to just see this for what it is every time it happens: aversion. Every time you are aware of your aversion towards these sensations, it strengthens your skill of mindfulness. And that is all that is required from your part: just note the aversion when it occurs, like "oh, here it is, aversion", and let go of wanting to control the sensation as best as you can. Keep on doing it, then eventually your muscles of mindfulness starts getting more and more stronger. This is what I would view as the core of the practice. Please check out Matthew's suggestions given above, you may find those useful.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Anarcho

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2015, 12:40:07 PM »


That's because at the moment "letting go" is principally a theoretical exercise for you - when you gain more practice at letting go you get better at it: letting go truly is an experiencial thing you can learn, it takes quite some mindfulness - you also discover it is not circumstances but our reactions to them and expectations of them that cause suffering.


That's totally right. It sounded very theoritical to me, but I noticed it yesterday by the experience.
The term "letting go" combined to the fact that Vivek told me that I was only trying to control the sensation (which is totally true) made me finally be aware that I was not practicing in the right way.
I still have a lot of work to do, but I already have the feeling that I was able to change my way to watch the things.
I'm really grateful to both for it.
The practice you proposed me is also an easier step for me.

I agree, Anarcho, to have no aversion at all sounds very ideal, and that is not what I was asking you to do. What would be more useful, is to just see this for what it is every time it happens: aversion. Every time you are aware of your aversion towards these sensations, it strengthens your skill of mindfulness. And that is all that is required from your part: just note the aversion when it occurs, like "oh, here it is, aversion", and let go of wanting to control the sensation as best as you can. Keep on doing it, then eventually your muscles of mindfulness starts getting more and more stronger. This is what I would view as the core of the practice. Please check out Matthew's suggestions given above, you may find those useful.

Should I only be aware of the aversion or should I at the same time try to observe the sensation with avoiding to the maximum the aversion? In fact, I don't know if I have to feel the aversion without reaction or if I have to "change the judgement".
By the way, watching my first answer, I see that I was a little bit agressive. I sometimes feel so desperate that it makes me have inappropriate reaction. I know that you just came to help.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 12:45:20 PM by Anarcho »

Vivek

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2015, 01:58:22 PM »
Quote
Should I only be aware of the aversion or should I at the same time try to observe the sensation with avoiding to the maximum the aversion? In fact, I don't know if I have to feel the aversion without reaction or if I have to "change the judgement".
You don't have to "do" anything. Just merely observe whatever comes up in your awareness. It is possible to be aware of the sensations as well as the aversion towards them. Just observe and allow things to unfold by themselves.

Quote
By the way, watching my first answer, I see that I was a little bit agressive. I sometimes feel so desperate that it makes me have inappropriate reaction. I know that you just came to help.
No worries, Anarcho. I did not sense any aggressiveness in your previous post. Glad to know that you are taking the suggestions in good spirit. 
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Alex

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2015, 04:15:42 PM »
Hi Anarcho

I was considering what to write to you, but it seems you have already put the sensible advice that Mathew and Vivek offered to good use.

Learning from experience and seeing for yourself how contact with unpleasant sensation leads to aversion and a tendency to control. Experiencing for yourself that you can engage with sensation or aversion in a different way and just let them be. These are important steps, good for you!

There is a big paradox in meditation: you have intention/motivation for meditating, like everyone else, but concrete expectations prevent progress. When you let go of expectations, you can open up to your experience just as it is, not as you would like it to be. If meditation could be forced or controlled, we would direct the meditation to the same dead end street where we always find ourselves.  ;) Meditation opens up a different way… in due time.

May you continue to grow in your practice!  :)

Kind regards
Alex

Anarcho

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2015, 06:22:32 PM »
Hi Anarcho

I was considering what to write to you, but it seems you have already put the sensible advice that Mathew and Vivek offered to good use.

Learning from experience and seeing for yourself how contact with unpleasant sensation leads to aversion and a tendency to control. Experiencing for yourself that you can engage with sensation or aversion in a different way and just let them be. These are important steps, good for you!

There is a big paradox in meditation: you have intention/motivation for meditating, like everyone else, but concrete expectations prevent progress. When you let go of expectations, you can open up to your experience just as it is, not as you would like it to be. If meditation could be forced or controlled, we would direct the meditation to the same dead end street where we always find ourselves.  ;) Meditation opens up a different way… in due time.

May you continue to grow in your practice!  :)

Kind regards
Alex

Hello Alex,

Thank you to have taken the time to read and answer me. I really appreciate.
What you say is effectively the most paradox that I saw during the stage. I think that everyone is practicing with a target (mostly being more calm and equanimous), but we have to practice sincerly as if there was absolutely no target. Quite strange...
That's also my main problem with the practice. I'm someone who ever push a lot. For instance, I always did sport "until I die". I'm also someone extremely rebellious. To my mind, this practice takes me to the inverse of my personality.


I just have a little more question for all. I know that I should not ever worry in link to the equanimity, but I feel miserable again today.
I tried to let go everything as I did yesterday. I observed extremely strong tensions in my arms and legs (I don't know if it's due to my anxiety or not, but whatever) and I didn't react. The sensation stayed the same during all the meditation and followed me after the practice. Is it a sign of a bad practice, or just a normal process?

By the way, I was feeling extremely fine every time I practiced in the train. And every time bad after practicing at home. And I still can't notice what I changed between the two. That of course makes me ask a lot of questions. It's strange, but the truth.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 06:27:22 PM by Anarcho »

Anarcho

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2015, 08:02:29 PM »
Moreover as what I felt and seems to be not explicable even for a teacher, I'm mostly afraid to notice that we don't really seem to understand what the practice really does into the body, which effects it could really have from one person to the other, and also the reasons of the side effects that some people seem suffering from.

I read a huge numbers of continental articles which make the praise of mindfulness, but they really semt me to don't know the topic. Even my doctor never heard that meditation could give difficult times. Nowadays, despite scientific studies, I think that the shadow around the practice is too much deep.

Matthew

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2015, 08:47:45 PM »
Anarcho,

If you learned at a Vipassana International (Goenka) retreat it is important to know a) that the techniques taught are only around 100 years old and b) that the Assistant Teachers who teach are not really allowed to teach and c) that the quality of these "Assistant Teachers" is very variable.

It is no surprise the teacher can not answer your questions. Well, not to me.

As I explained, the technique you learned is a forced concentration technique. The Buddha taught a "middle way": not too tight, not too loose, not too forced, not too relaxed. The instructions I suggested you experiment with develops calm and concentration hand in hand. It is not too forced, it is embedded with calm/relaxation and awareness/mindfulness. It is fundamentally rooted in experience of the body: body comes first in Buddha's teachings. Understanding your body, being mindful of your body is the root of all mindfulness: the physical reality of life.

The scientific articles are, pretty much without exception, based on studying varying degrees of abstracted "Vipassana" meditation that comes from this only hundred or so years old technique, which has deep fault lines running through it. Of course they don't know the topic. If you want a proper psychological examination of the fundamentals of meditation and it's goal in the Buddhist tradition, buy yourself a copy of "The Psychology of Nirvana", by Rune Johansson, London, Allen and Unwin, published 1969.

It will show you why all these scientific studies are missing the point: they abstract one aspect of mindfulness practice, put it under a microscope, and examine it out of context.

Missing the "bigger picture" both the scientists and the "Assistant Teachers" can't help.

Don't give up. Learn: use your own rationality and common sense to explore the practice and the teachings. Be honest with yourself.

Kind regards,

Matthew

ps You had a bad day - sorry to hear - the story you tell yourself about this day is more important than the facts, when it comes to your perception of it. That is what equanimity aims to teach us.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 08:56:31 PM by Matthew »
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Anarcho

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2015, 09:01:37 PM »
Anarcho,

If you learned at a Vipassana International (Goenka) retreat it is important to know a) that the techniques taught are only around 100 years old and b) that the Assistant Teachers who teach are not really allowed to teach and c) that the quality of these "Assistant Teachers" is very variable.

It is no surprise the teacher can not answer your questions. Well, not to me.

As I explained, the technique you learned is a forced concentration technique. The Buddha taught a "middle way": not too tight, not too loose, not too forced, not too relaxed. The instructions I suggested you experiment with develops calm and concentration hand in hand. It is not too forced, it is embedded with calm/relaxation and awareness/mindfulness.

The scientific articles are, pretty much without exception, based on studying varying degrees of abstracted "Vipassana" meditation that comes from this only hundred or so years old technique, which has deep fault lines running through it. Of course they don't know the topic. If you want a proper psychological examination of the fundamentals of meditation and it's goal in the Buddhist tradition, buy yourself a copy of "The Psychology of Nirvana", by Rune Johansson, London, Allen and Unwin, published 1969.

It will show you why all these scientific studies are missing the point: they abstract one aspect of mindfulness practice, put it under a microscope, and examine it out of context[/]. Missing the "bigger picture" both the scientists and the "Assistant Teachers" can't help.

Don't give up. Learn: use your own rationality and common sense to explore the practice and the teachings. Be honest with yourself.

Kind regards,

Matthew

Thank you Matthew for the answer and the reference.
I already read a lot of topics, but I could even read it now for more informations.
I'm really curious and have a (not ever good) tendency to try to understand everything. In this sense, I estimate almost dangerous from all these reporters to recommend mindfluness without any doubt, with a so poor knowing of the subject (even if they are maybe right to do so). By the way, I paid a lot to learn the Transcendental Meditation and my teacher never heard about pressures into the head. She just recommended me to stop the practice...
I didn't read english articles, but the articles that I read never wrote about complications, excepting one. They don't talk about the difficulty, the hard feelings it could make come to the surface, the risk of a feeling of emptiness, the risk of a decrease of the libido, the risk to change is way of life ... Even if they are probably right to make the method well known to everyone.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 09:17:44 PM by Anarcho »

Matthew

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2015, 09:17:01 PM »
The best understanding in meditation comes from understanding beyond words: understanding built on a quiet and tamed mind. Built on experience of inner peace and tranquillity combined with open accepting awareness of present moment existence.

Meditation undoes the power of the word, the thinking mind, the rational mind. It tames it and puts it in place, hand-in-hand with the felt experience of now.

It is existentially different to any understanding you will build on understanding built on words built on understanding built on words built on understanding built on words .....
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Anarcho

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2015, 09:22:45 PM »
The best understanding in meditation comes from understanding beyond words: understanding built on a quiet and tamed mind. Built on experience of inner peace and tranquillity combined with open accepting awareness of present moment existence.

Meditation undoes the power of the word, the thinking mind, the rational mind. It tames it and puts it in place, hand-in-hand with the felt experience of now.

It is existentially different to any understanding you will build on understanding built on words built on understanding built on words built on understanding built on words .....

I have not enough experience to confirm, but I can easily believe it.
I just think that it would be better for every beginner to know all the considerations before taking the choice to learn by the practice. One time we are experiencing, the choice is already done and we just can deal with it.

Matthew

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2015, 09:27:59 PM »
Try the experiment .. you will soon have the faith of confidence through experience. No need for the faith of belief. :)
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Alex

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2015, 02:08:10 PM »



I just have a little more question for all. I know that I should not ever worry in link to the equanimity, but I feel miserable again today.
I tried to let go everything as I did yesterday. I observed extremely strong tensions in my arms and legs (I don't know if it's due to my anxiety or not, but whatever) and I didn't react. The sensation stayed the same during all the meditation and followed me after the practice. Is it a sign of a bad practice, or just a normal process?

By the way, I was feeling extremely fine every time I practiced in the train. And every time bad after practicing at home. And I still can't notice what I changed between the two. That of course makes me ask a lot of questions. It's strange, but the truth.

Every day is a different day… different conditions, different experiences.

Every meditation as well is a different meditation… different conditions, different experiences.

It’s okay to let your (miserable) experience just be your (miserable) experience.

How is your experience today?

 ;)

Anarcho

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2015, 08:15:44 PM »



I just have a little more question for all. I know that I should not ever worry in link to the equanimity, but I feel miserable again today.
I tried to let go everything as I did yesterday. I observed extremely strong tensions in my arms and legs (I don't know if it's due to my anxiety or not, but whatever) and I didn't react. The sensation stayed the same during all the meditation and followed me after the practice. Is it a sign of a bad practice, or just a normal process?

By the way, I was feeling extremely fine every time I practiced in the train. And every time bad after practicing at home. And I still can't notice what I changed between the two. That of course makes me ask a lot of questions. It's strange, but the truth.

Every day is a different day… different conditions, different experiences.

Every meditation as well is a different meditation… different conditions, different experiences.

It’s okay to let your (miserable) experience just be your (miserable) experience.

How is your experience today?

 ;)

Thanks for the message, Alex.
I try to let my miserable experience just being it. But to be honest, I don't succeed to stay equanimous after the meditation when I feel like this. It's obsessive. And I'm asking me a lot of questions about my practice. I'm also very surprised to have never felt these tensions when I was into the stage or when I was meditating into the train. But I noticed that I had a lot of thoughts, which was not the case during the stage.
Today, surprisingly, I had very less problems of pressures and tensions during the meditation. But it came just after and it came again for hours. I'm trying now to stay as much calm as I can : D
I just meditated one hour, because it was too much strong these last days.
I think that I still have too many expectations. That will be difficult to change.


« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 08:33:01 PM by Anarcho »

Alex

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2015, 02:46:01 PM »
Thanks for the message, Alex.
I try to let my miserable experience just being it. But to be honest, I don't succeed to stay equanimous after the meditation when I feel like this. It's obsessive. And I'm asking me a lot of questions about my practice. I'm also very surprised to have never felt these tensions when I was into the stage or when I was meditating into the train. But I noticed that I had a lot of thoughts, which was not the case during the stage.
Today, surprisingly, I had very less problems of pressures and tensions during the meditation. But it came just after and it came again for hours. I'm trying now to stay as much calm as I can : D
I just meditated one hour, because it was too much strong these last days.
I think that I still have too many expectations. That will be difficult to change.
Hi Anarcho

You write a lot of interesting observations from your personal experience here:

You try to let your experience just being it, but you notice that your mind does it’s own thing. Repetitively, even obsessively.

You notice a tendency to want to change things. Expecting that you will feel good during meditation and afterwards if you meditate "succesfully".

You notice that there seems to be more tension when you meditate alone. And that in some meditations there is more thought.

You notice that mind is asking a lot of questions… maybe in order to control the meditation process or in order to make sure that your practice will effectively pay off?

In any case, by paying attention to what is actually there, you are gaining personal experience in how the (reactive) mind works. Not theoretical knowledge, but personal and felt experience...

We can not control the mind, so we let it do it’s thing, while we stay present (anchored in the sensations of the breath) and relax. And we are patient, discovering step by step what unexpected results such a practice brings us.

Kind regards
Alex
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 03:01:18 PM by Alex »

Anarcho

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2015, 02:27:19 PM »
Honestly, the most I practice, the worst I feel.

Alex

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2015, 12:25:01 PM »
Honestly, the most I practice, the worst I feel.

Hi Anarcho

I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time.

You must be very confident that meditation practices may benefit you, as you persist in practicing even though a lot of difficult things are arising?

Can you describe the practice you’ve been doing for the past few days? Also, how do you engage with unpleasant thought / feelings / sensations that arise?

Kind regards,
Alex

Anarcho

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2015, 12:44:32 PM »
Hi Alex.

Thanks for the reply.

I practiced the Shamatha abiding that Matthew recommended to me.
It was possible to practice it unlike what I did before. But as I still felt more the pressures in my head after practicing, I was almost practicing it all these last days, almost every time while I was doing something else. I was ever focused on what I felt, but tried to don't react despite the fact that it was really unpleasant.
I often wanted to stop the practice, but as I felt these sensations ever more present and unpleasant, I went on with the practice.

I can be for a few time almost equanimous towards the sensations, but I must admit that I had a lot of aversions during the day.
The sensations were so much strong and unpleasant that I couldn't sleep and tried something else. I noticed that I felt it less after making a whole emptiness of thought in my mind.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 12:47:04 PM by Anarcho »

Alex

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2015, 03:03:21 PM »
I practiced the Shamatha abiding that Matthew recommended to me.
It was possible to practice it unlike what I did before.

That’s good. Do you read instructions regularly (in order to become more familiar with them and deepen your understanding)?

What do you mean by “It was possible to practice it unlike what I did before.”?

But as I still felt more the pressures in my head after practicing, I was almost practicing it all these last days, almost every time while I was doing something else. I was ever focused on what I felt, but tried to don't react despite the fact that it was really unpleasant.
I often wanted to stop the practice, but as I felt these sensations ever more present and unpleasant, I went on with the practice.

I’m not sure I entirely understand what you mean, but it seems maybe you are trying very hard, like forcing yourself to pay attention to the unpleasant sensations? When I read this in your opening post, this almost sounded like torture!

I would recommend not paying attention to the unpleasant sensations. Let them fade into the background of your experience. When the unpleasant sensations are there, you don't push them away, but you also don't focus on them... You know and acknowledge the sensations are there. And even though the sensations are unpleasant, you give them the right to be there. But you don't focus on these sensations: every time you notice attention is drawn to the unpleasant sensations, you have a choice to bring attention back to the breath. Again and again. And again and again. And again and again. This is what we call practice.  ;) And some days this will be easier than other days.

Same in daily life: you keep coming back to the breath or whatever you are doing at that moment (working, talking talking, walking, reading,…). At this stage it's counterproductive to focus on the unpleasant sensations.

I can be for a few time almost equanimous towards the sensations, but I must admit that I had a lot of aversions during the day.

I'm happy to read this. Every time you notice “I am almost eqanimous”, this gives you a glimpse of what is possible. I suppose it is moments like these that give you the courage to continue this practice?

But these tings take time: don’t expect it to be like that all the time. There will be aversion. Can you also let aversion just be? You know there is aversion and acknowledge there is aversion. You give aversion the right to be there. But when you notice aversion, you keep bringing attention back to the breath. Over and over again...

The sensations were so much strong and unpleasant that I couldn't sleep and tried something else. I noticed that I felt it less after making a whole emptiness of thought in my mind.

Good that you try to take care of yourself by experimenting with other things. How does that work: "making a whole emptiness of thought in my mind"?

Anarcho

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2015, 09:13:08 PM »
I practiced the Shamatha abiding that Matthew recommended to me.
It was possible to practice it unlike what I did before.

That’s good. Do you read instructions regularly (in order to become more familiar with them and deepen your understanding)?

What do you mean by “It was possible to practice it unlike what I did before.”?

But as I still felt more the pressures in my head after practicing, I was almost practicing it all these last days, almost every time while I was doing something else. I was ever focused on what I felt, but tried to don't react despite the fact that it was really unpleasant.
I often wanted to stop the practice, but as I felt these sensations ever more present and unpleasant, I went on with the practice.

I’m not sure I entirely understand what you mean, but it seems maybe you are trying very hard, like forcing yourself to pay attention to the unpleasant sensations? When I read this in your opening post, this almost sounded like torture!

I would recommend not paying attention to the unpleasant sensations. Let them fade into the background of your experience. When the unpleasant sensations are there, you don't push them away, but you also don't focus on them... You know and acknowledge the sensations are there. And even though the sensations are unpleasant, you give them the right to be there. But you don't focus on these sensations: every time you notice attention is drawn to the unpleasant sensations, you have a choice to bring attention back to the breath. Again and again. And again and again. And again and again. This is what we call practice.  ;) And some days this will be easier than other days.

Same in daily life: you keep coming back to the breath or whatever you are doing at that moment (working, talking talking, walking, reading,…). At this stage it's counterproductive to focus on the unpleasant sensations.

I can be for a few time almost equanimous towards the sensations, but I must admit that I had a lot of aversions during the day.

I'm happy to read this. Every time you notice “I am almost eqanimous”, this gives you a glimpse of what is possible. I suppose it is moments like these that give you the courage to continue this practice?

But these tings take time: don’t expect it to be like that all the time. There will be aversion. Can you also let aversion just be? You know there is aversion and acknowledge there is aversion. You give aversion the right to be there. But when you notice aversion, you keep bringing attention back to the breath. Over and over again...

The sensations were so much strong and unpleasant that I couldn't sleep and tried something else. I noticed that I felt it less after making a whole emptiness of thought in my mind.

Good that you try to take care of yourself by experimenting with other things. How does that work: "making a whole emptiness of thought in my mind"?

Thank you to have taken the time like this.

I mean that with the problem that I have, Shamatha is really easier to practice for me.
It became almost impossible to practice the method that I learned during the stage. The pressures were so strong that it was almost impossible to focus on something else.

I really focused a lot on unpleasant sensations, yes. We can almost talk of torture. I'm really surprised that you recommend me to let them go on the background.
During the stage, they taught me to focus on the most vulgar sensations, until they disappear. That's what I did for instance with the pains into the back. But these pressures never disappear and I'm usually feeling extremely worst after the practice, if I try to do the same with these pressures. Surprisingly, I also often read medical advices saying to accept everything felt. They even encouraged to ask more anxiety from himself. They say that it could be the best way to stop the general anxiety disorder. I did it a lot, but I ever felt worst with it.
Despite what I learned, I will try to follow your advice. Because I just have the feeling that this focusing is ever making me worst.

I really have the impression that I'm practicing false. I never felt so many tensions in my life than yesterday. I felt so many tensions everywhere. It's impossible to explain. It can't be a good sign of practice, because it's absolutely almost still the same.
When I was practicing into the train, I was feeling great almost every time. Here at home, I'm feeling miserable almost every time. I can't notice the difference between the ways I'm practicing in these different places, but it's really strange. Maybe I had less thoughts at this place, I don't know. Or it has maybe something to do with my way to react.
I won't pay train tickets just for meditating. I don't have the money for it and that would be a little bit crazy. I'm sure I was doing something differently. It's like if my bad practice at home was doing the inverse effect on me.

I'm motivated by the times I can be equanimous, yes, even if they are really rare. But to be honest, I'm also motivated by the experiences that I had before with my practice. I know that this is not really in the spirit of the technique, but I'm often trying to correct mine to be able to do it like before.

With this whole emptiness into my mind, I just sat and tried to think about absolutely nothing. I ever come back to this each 5 seconds when the spirit does his things. No thoughts, no sensations, no breath. I don't know if it's good or not to do this, but it helped a little bit.


Alex

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Re: Huge pressure into the whole head
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2015, 10:26:30 PM »
For most people, being on retreat (or stage, as you call it) is nothing like daily life. You don't have your regular life stress (work etc), you practice in the presence of other people (like on train, that seems to be a common factor) and most importantly you start by building a foundation of relaxed concentration (which will soon diminish as you slip back into regular life).

With such a foundation of grounded and concentrated yet relaxed awareness, you can engage differently with strong emotions, thoughts or physical sensations. And that is why Matthew recommend you first build the foundation in the shamatha meditation.

In any case, you are experiencing yourself that focussing on the strong sensations is not benefiting you and that shamatha is more right for you at this point in your life. So I invite you to experiment some more with it. Re-read the instructions. Don't suppress what comes up, yet don't follow or focus. Keep coming back to sensations of the breath while you allow yourself to relax.

Don't have expectations. Give it some time and see what happens.