Author Topic: Problem with a persistent sensation on my face  (Read 1151 times)


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Problem with a persistent sensation on my face
« on: September 21, 2016, 02:37:25 PM »
I attended my first 10-day Goenka course in July and everything went very well for the first 6 days. But on day 7, I developed a very strong sensation on my face that makes it difficult to follow the technique. It manifests as tightness in my sinuses and muscle spasms in my forehead and right eye. I can devote my attention to these sensations and I observe them moving around my face, somewhat, but they always stay in the same general area. But due to the strength of the sensations, I cannot feel sensations on other parts of my head. It also keeps me from observing the sensations below my neck for more than a couple of seconds. When I try to do this, the tightness and spasms increase considerably and I lose consciousness within about 5 seconds. My general approach has been to try to observe the sensation with as much equanimity has I can muster and without a desire for the sensation to go away. But after sessions of doing this, I'm very fatigued and have a headache that lasts for some time. I spoke to the assistant teacher about it and was told to basically doing what I was already doing.

After the course, the problem continued and I was only able to continue my practice for one week before it became too tiring and I stopped. The problem only happens when I meditate, so that improved things, but it meant I couldn't get the benefits of meditation that I'd noticed in my first 6 days of the course. Wanting to try again, I recently attended a second 10-day course in the hopes that things would improve or that the assistant teacher could suggest something that would help, but that didn't happen and the 10 days were extremely frustrating.

Has anyone experienced anything like this and gotten past it? Is there something I could be trying that I'm not or is it just a matter of persevering?


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Re: Problem with a persistent sensation on my face
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2016, 03:03:43 PM »
Hello curunir,

Don't you make too much focus in your meditation?
I mean, maybe you are forcing too much when observing?
This should explain that it tends to get better when you stop meditating some time.
Maybe the face is contracted when you observe it? Have you tried to consciously relax this area when observing, just letting as it is: body, and sensations. You could try to feel you are relaxing this area when observing it. Try to regard it as it is not yourself. Feel you are relaxing while meditating.
It is surprising that having taken part to a full 10 days course, this sensation is still obssessing you.
Happily, there are other ways to practice meditation in accordance to Buddha's teaching.
Maybe you should try to practice another method.
It is also necessary to exclude the possibility of a real illness by seeing doctor.

« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 03:09:29 PM by Laurent »


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Re: Problem with a persistent sensation on my face
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2016, 03:53:29 PM »
I have worked with similar extremely difficult body sensations.  What has worked for me is to notice any subtle attempts at trying to make the sensations go away.  I find when I focus a lot on the sensation, thinking that I'm being equanimous, I in fact really want the sensation to stop.  Noticing this lightens the load a bit.

Metta or lovingkindness practice is a nice antidote, notice the suffering the sensation is causing and bring lovingkindness to it.  Or precise attention to the breath, wherever you can feel it.  Let the face sensation be in the background and focus instead on the breath.

I would look at Matthew's instructions on doing breath meditation on the body as a whole rather than the nostrils, the focus on the nostrils could be aggravating the whole face thing.
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Problem with a persistent sensation on my face
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2016, 07:25:13 PM »
I've had this sensation affect me for years. As BeHereNow alludes, a possible method to alleviate the sensation is kindness, being kind to yourself, and approaching your meditation with a level of relaxation. Also being conscious and accepting my of that sensation as an element of your present moment can be a useful insight to your practice.

Trying to will the sensation away or being distressed by it has the inverse affect.


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