Author Topic: My bizzare experiences meditating  (Read 255 times)

mobius

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My bizzare experiences meditating
« on: July 25, 2018, 11:03:02 PM »
Sorry for a very long post but I went to get details correct as possible as I've not yet read about exactly my situation;

I started meditating several weeks ago. I used no specific religious method. I began by sitting cross legged, close my eyes and focus on my breathing. I did this for about 10-15 minutes per day after work (so afternoon/late afternoon) and I believe it helped me relax and calmed me down quite a bit. But nothing sensational was happening. Still I was enjoying it so I continued.

Then after a few weeks I tried a different technique; I kept my eyes open and stared at an object. Within only a minute or two I realized something bizarre was happening! It is always very slow and gradual. But using this method I can on demand bring forth what I can only describe as an altered state of consciousness. It is very difficult (maybe impossible) to describe. My body becomes very still (but not paralyzed) Whatever I'm looking at changes color; and everything in short, looks weird. My breathing becomes noticeably slower/quieter. I think my body temperature also drops a little bit.
I've done this about 5-7 times now. Sometimes I've closed my eyes after this then begins another sensation;

When this happens (again it's very gradual) my arms and legs but also the floor and things around me (whether I'm looking at them or just imagining them with my eyes closed feel like they are growing farther away from me or getting smaller.
Then, the opposite happens and my everything feels like they are very close to me and large.
Another way to put it is it feels like my mind or my mental image is growing smaller or somehow removed from my environment, then bigger and closer to it.
It's also important to note that not only my arms and legs or any actual physical object; but my imagination is effected as well. If I imagine to myself, an apple for instance, it seems too large and unrealistic or too close or too far away from me. I don't seem to have a full control over how I imagine things in my mind at this point.
This feeling grows and becomes more and more intense if I keep meditating. (It vanishes very quickly if I open my eyes and get up).
The further along the more difficult it is to describe. As it gets more powerful it feels overwhelming and scary. The only reason I feel remotely comfortable with this is because I've experienced it several times now and am learning to deal with it, but it still frightens me every time.
As the feeling grows further still it feels like I'm falling or being enveloped into something else. Once it felt like while everything in my mind still felt totally out of whack in size and location, there began an intense pulling sensation mixed with falling and lifting sensation simultaneously. It feels like my body or mind is both sinking and rising up or being pulled apart or stretched by both ends. Usually by this point I have to stop out of fear/discomfort or it's just been so long I decide it's time to stop. (it takes maybe 20 minutes to get to this point). The farthest I went I was filled with both fear but also joyful curiosity.

Now an important aside: this is not the first I've had this sensation (while meditating that is). This very sensation I first had as a very young child. In fact I've had it several times as a child and still have/had it occasionally but not nearly as often as when I was a kid. It starts when I lie down in bed to go to sleep sometimes, it seems to just start happening for no apparent reason. Until I've started meditating, I didn't like this sensation at all and thought it was just some weird optical illusion in my head so I'd always get out of bed and turn the lights on to make it go away.

While I'm not sure if this was the very first time; it happened memorably when I was around 4 or 5 years old; I had the flu and I had a very high fever. So high in fact that my parents took me to the doctor right away but it had lowered by the time we got there so I didn't need to go to the hospital. I don't remember how long I was sick but I can distinctly remember the sensation a few times I think, and having it in bed one particular night (while having a bad fever). I believe I called to my parents in fear; they turned on the lights and it went away but not immediately. I probably tried explaining what I felt but I doubt if they understood or even would remember this. According to them I also slept walked and had severely bad dreams during this sickness. I've never slept walked since that.

Since then this scenario (as I described above) occurs very rarely, maybe once a year or less, seemingly randomly in bed before I go to sleep. Until now, I had no idea what this was or why it was happening. I searched online for it but never found anything useful. I am aware of the ego-dissolution and out of body experiences, which I've read can occasionally happen with meditation. I would not exactly describe this as something like that. Although it could be that I've not taken it far enough to realize that yet.
The sensation is not painful, but it isn't pleasant either. It's both exhilarating and terrifying. I feel like this may "lead" somewhere but I haven't gotten there yet.

Now I've meditated in this way just several times (for about 1 week) and I've noticed a few things:
First, the first few times I was filled with a deep sense of calmness and peace. I've laughed to myself sometimes even though I was scared.

I've also had some weird dreams. It could be a coincidence but I think my dreams have been noticeably different then before (but I haven't remembered any real well yet. I have remembered quite a few of my ordinary dreams from the past).

I woke up one morning with an odd feeling. I can't really describe it; only to say that I felt like I was changing. I thought, maybe this meditation was working but I don't exactly know how. I noticed the same oddness while driving on my way to work but it faded. Random things sort of "poped out" at me, like lights on the dashboard and signs along the road.
Also it may be purely coincidence but I've had several headaches the past few days when I did the most intense meditation. And sometimes, especially after doing the intense meditation my eyes feel weird and I almost have a feeling like I'm afraid I'm going to accidentally slip  back into that state without wanting to.

I eased back on the 'intense' meditation however, because twice now I had a disturbing episode. Both while *not* meditating, once when I woke up in the middle of the night, and second while I was at work, minding my own business. Both times were very brief but I had a sudden and intense fear or anxiety so strong I felt like I was losing my mind. And I was afraid I was going to have a nervous breakdown or something. I don't know why it happened, I was not really thinking about anything in particular both times. It wasn't a very articulate emotion with much logical cause.  I don't think I've ever had anything like this until now. I've been depressed in the past especially when I was a teenager, but these episodes were different and weird. I feel strange and I've questioned my sanity a few times. But I don't think I have any real serious mental problems, I've never been diagnosed with anything anyway. I'm not sure but I believe I may have had Asperger's Syndrome when I was a child (Because I had almost all the symptoms). I was never treated and I've mostly grown out of them. I'm much more socially able then I was as a teenager.

I don't know what's going on and despite reading that supposedly meditation has no negative effects I feel afraid I might drive myself insane or something. Maybe I'm not ready to handle this strong meditation yet? Or am I doing something wrong? Or is this all just normal and I'm being paranoid or over thinking it?
I read that lack of sleep could be a problem; I get up pretty early for my job and tend to be tired a lot. I don't always get to bed when I should and I always pay for that.

Over thinking, fear and anxiety are big problems of mine for years and it's one of the reasons I started meditating; to improve/get rid of them (if possible). I'm still meditating, but I'm trying to take it very slowly. I don't want to give up. But this is (as I said in my intro post) much more serious and bizarre then I anticipated going in.

dharma bum

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2018, 03:20:58 AM »
i'm not an expert so please consider my suggestions as no more than suggestions.

i'd get more sleep. given a choice between meditation and sleep, i'd pick sleep any time if i'm sleep-deprived. HH the dalai lama in fact said something to the effect that sleep is the best meditation. lack of sufficient sleep makes us anxious and fearful.

i'd not do the meditation techniques that precipitate anxiety and stress especially as you seem to be able to do breathing meditation. IMHO, all the different sensations you describe are not unusual during meditation. it's just the brain responding to the change in what is fed to it.
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dharma bum

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2018, 04:02:06 AM »
Mobius, sorry, i'd also suggest that you work with an experienced teacher.
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stillpointdancer

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2018, 09:05:59 AM »
Mobius. Dharma bum has some good advice. Personally, I'd give meditation a miss for a few weeks and see whether it is the lack of sleep having an effect, or whether it was the meditation. People react in different ways to different meditations, and not all of them good, so if you return to meditation without a teacher you need to do it gradually and in the knowledge that you can have these reactions. Maybe restart with five minutes of relaxation meditation, building up to an additional five minutes of mindfulness of breathing.

If the effects come back, then have another break from meditation, and even think about whether meditation is for you at this point in your life.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

mobius

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2018, 01:53:48 AM »
thank you for the replies and advice.

I agree I think I simply got into too quickly/too much. Especially since I wasn't quite prepared for it. I don't want to quit though or give up. I will take my time and ease into it gradually. Doing a little bit day by day. If it really is only negative I'll have to stop. But I think this could be ultimately beneficial...

A thought I had was: maybe this fear/anxiety are things that were bottled up inside me coming out due to meditation.

stillpointdancer

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2018, 11:02:19 AM »

A thought I had was: maybe this fear/anxiety are things that were bottled up inside me coming out due to meditation.

Yes, meditation has that effect too, which is why most people advise learning to meditate with a group who can give guidance when things go 'wrong'.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

mobius

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2018, 01:49:21 AM »

A thought I had was: maybe this fear/anxiety are things that were bottled up inside me coming out due to meditation.

Yes, meditation has that effect too, which is why most people advise learning to meditate with a group who can give guidance when things go 'wrong'.

In that case, it kind of makes me more determined to go on. In a way, I'm glad those things happened to me then. Keeping emotions bottled up inside is bad, and they need to come out. Even if it's difficult, I want to do it to improve myself.

-----

Today I meditated closed-eyed.
After a while, once I entered the 'zone' there were/was a large spot in front of my eyelids, pulsating and burning like the sun. Then my body felt like it was spinning counterclockwise horizontally at a constant speed. I had REM as well, thought this isn't bothering me as much now. As before if I opened my eyes the feeling instantly goes away.  I wasn't feeling motion sick at all (which makes sense, since my physical body wasn't actually spinning...)
The feeling was sort of magical and (like before) kind of filled me with delight.

Idk if this is a coincidence or not but I've noticed the past week since I've been meditating like this I've been extremely tired in the late evening. (I was often though since long before I've meditated. But this specific fatigue it seems to come and go for weeks at a time.)
I fell asleep in front of the TV after this tonight and when I woke up an hour later forgetting where I was, when, what time it was or day it was. I got paranoid for a moment thinking I slept through a whole night or something. I felt very weird. Again, I think this was mostly just my own fear overacting.

dharma bum

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2018, 03:09:14 PM »
Quote
Idk if this is a coincidence or not but I've noticed the past week since I've been meditating like this I've been extremely tired in the late evening. (I was often though since long before I've meditated. But this specific fatigue it seems to come and go for weeks at a time.)

it might be the case that meditation makes you calm down and that's when you realize how tired you are. that's what happens to me quite often. many times, we are in a frenzy of activity, jumping from one thing to another and we don't realize we need rest/sleep.
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mobius

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2018, 01:29:58 AM »
Quote
Idk if this is a coincidence or not but I've noticed the past week since I've been meditating like this I've been extremely tired in the late evening. (I was often though since long before I've meditated. But this specific fatigue it seems to come and go for weeks at a time.)

it might be the case that meditation makes you calm down and that's when you realize how tired you are. that's what happens to me quite often. many times, we are in a frenzy of activity, jumping from one thing to another and we don't realize we need rest/sleep.

excellent point... I think that is exactly what was happening to me.

I'm getting less afraid of meditating now. I was able to do it this morning with less anxiety before and during. This morning there was a moment or moments when it felt like my mind was on the floor... ??? like you know how even with your eyes closed you can imagine or ask yourself; what does my room look like; , and you see it as you would if my eyes were open. When I thought about this it was as if I was looking from the vantage point of my feet. Then my mind felt very far away, everything was blackness and there was nothing to to have any kind of reference but I felt distinctly far away from... my body? maybe?

I read somewhere someone saying something like "Westerners are in the heads too much, they need to get their minds out of their heads and into their bodies..." I don't understand that, or how to interpret it but maybe this has something to do with it?

Idk what the hell is going on; this is breaking the rational scientific side of me :D

dharma bum

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2018, 03:44:15 AM »
Mobius, i'm so glad you're feeling less anxious. one of the most fascinating aspects of meditation to me is the insight one gets in the working of the brain from a scientific point of view. our dreams or visions are never random or arbitrary. they are the result of memories we have stored in our brains - sounds, images, narratives, fantasies. even when we jump from one thing to another in our thoughts, the jumps are not random. usually there is a connection between one thought to another.

Quote
I read somewhere someone saying something like "Westerners are in the heads too much, they need to get their minds out of their heads and into their bodies..." I don't understand that, or how to interpret it but maybe this has something to do with it?

i don't really know. i don't know if there is all that much difference between western minds and eastern minds. i do know that people in the east are more accepting/fatalistic which can be a good thing or a bad thing.
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stillpointdancer

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2018, 11:40:50 AM »

I read somewhere someone saying something like "Westerners are in the heads too much, they need to get their minds out of their heads and into their bodies..." I don't understand that, or how to interpret it but maybe this has something to do with it?

Idk what the hell is going on; this is breaking the rational scientific side of me :D

I think that many of us don't realise how disconnected we can get from our bodies until we sit in meditation and bring our awareness to them. Even something as simple as 'checking in' with different parts of the body to see how tense or relaxed they are can have an effect. A more advanced practice is considering each part and its function, and how it relates to the cerebral 'you'.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

mobius

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2018, 02:30:12 AM »
today I tried some open eye focus until I saw greyness. I want to keep trying at open eye but it's hard to keep my eyes open for that long so I almost always close them after a while. When I closed them today there was the imprint/image of a large boxy orange thing still for a long while. Then I felt myself going into the zone. I looked down a little bit then I think I opened my eyes very briefly and saw my legs. Then their image was imprinted on my eyelids and it kept rising upwards and twisting around.
Then I began the spinning illusion again. I have a theory about this now;

when I experience REM during meditation (as I did on this occasion), I can notice it even when I open my eyes just a crack and I can see my vision literally vibrating back and forth.
With my eyes closed I think this may be creating an illusion in my brain telling me that there's movement going on when there isn't any. Sometimes it just feels like oscillation, but then depending on how I react, what I think or moving a hand slightly or etc it can change and begin to feel like I'm spinning around.

This effect is distinctly different from the other one I described. I've never had the two at the same time. This one is far easier to handle and not as disturbing. It was actually quite fun the first time.

The other effect is more fascinating and mysterious but likewise, more unnerving, and getting that to happen is difficult. I have no idea what really triggers it as of yet.

I think I already mentioned this but I'm 100% certain now that open eye meditation makes my eyes and head hurt afterward. Is this normal? It's a bummer because I feel like that's not good and I shouldn't be doing it. But I want to...

mobius

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2018, 01:30:36 AM »
I have finally found a partial answer to my experiences!!!!!!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_in_Wonderland_syndrome#Diagnosis

there is no doubt exactly what I'm experiencing during my meditations!
Everything else fits! I had it as a child and it often came before sleep.

I'm relieved to finally find an answer... but I'm also a little bummed. As it seems I wasn't experiencing any kind of new view of my self or making any real 'progress' like I thought I was. If anything this is going to be an obstacle for me. Because when it happens, it's quite distracting. How am I to meditate successfully if this frequently happens? Admittedly it doesn't always happen; in fact it's been several days since it has. When it does happen it's not as frightening anymore; but I think when it happens I'm not getting the full benefits of meditation.
For example, I only experienced the deep sense of calm and happiness during times when it *didn't* happen.

Laurent

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2018, 11:29:39 AM »
Good find  :)

In the french article of Wiki it is specified:

"Causes

La cause principale de ce syndrome est la migraine, notamment chez l'enfant.
Une autre cause est une infection par le virus d'Epstein-Barr (EBV) ou virus de l’herpès 4 (HHV-4) résultant en une mononucléose infectieuse à tel point qu'un auteur considère que « tous les patients présentant un tableau clinique compatible avec un syndrome d’Alice au pays des merveilles devraient faire l'objet d'un dépistage sérologique du virus d'Epstein-Barr. "

Google Trad:

"The main cause of this syndrome is migraine, especially in children.
Another cause is an infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or herpes virus 4 (HHV-4) resulting in infectious mononucleosis to such an extent that an author considers that "all patients presenting a table clinic compatible with Alice in Wonderland syndrome should be serologically screened for Epstein-Barr virus"

Regards.




Siddharth

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2018, 03:15:16 PM »

.. it seems I wasn't experiencing any kind of new view of my self or making any real 'progress' like I thought I was. If anything this is going to be an obstacle for me. Because when it happens, it's quite distracting..

The fact that you have a diagnosis is some "progress".
Do not fret about things that are not in our control...a lot of things, perhaps all things as we perceive are transitional.
Do what you can from where you are..
a few minutes is better than 0.
a distracted meditation is better than no meditation.
I know about people with terminal cancer, in deep physical and emotional pain, doing what they could from where they were...some were "more at peace" .

Hope you stride on the path. It is more difficult at some times, and more difficult in general for some of us, but trust the law of averages.

And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

mobius

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2018, 10:20:17 PM »
I decided to take the advice here and take a break from meditation for a little while and see what happens.

Last night was a terrible night; I could not sleep until 2-3:00 AM. For some reason instead of falling asleep I kept falling into a meditative state and having hallucinations. It was making me anxious because I was extremely tired and wanted/needed to sleep, not meditate. Then at one point when I felt like I was drifting into sleep something happened; and I really don't know what it was. I mightn't been drifting into some altered mental state or something else, I can't even begin to explain it; its even harder to describe than the Alice and Wonderland's Syndrome. But it shocked the hell out of me, I became totally alert and sat up in bed and my heart was racing. The weird thing is I don't even know why or what was going on at all. There was nothing in my mind but blackness, I wasn't thinking about anything in particular. But I do know I was severely sleep deprived, which is not good. Lack of sleep can make you go insane, supposedly and that's what feels like is happening to me. I'm going to get more sleep than usual from now on. Maybe even take naps during the day which I don't often do.

I've had this feeling now several times, only really since I started meditating. It's always very brief but the only way I can think to describe it is that I feel like I'm losing control of my mind. This can't be a good thing right? Is this normal with meditation? Is this what ego dissolution feels like? I didn't even meditate for very long or very deeply that day.

I'm fairly certain now that whatever I was doing before wasn't the best type of meditation as I was focusing on this AIWS thinking that was a positive part of it, but turns out it was likely not. So I'll try some different things, if/when I come back to it. I'm hoping that if I get into a better sleep routine and become healthier I can come back to it later and be happy/successful with it, instead of all this insanity.

John006

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Re: My bizzare experiences meditating
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2018, 07:08:01 AM »
Concentration meditation includes concentrating on a fixed point. This could involve following the breath, rehashing a single word or mantra, starting at a candle flame, tuning in to a repetitive gong, or counting beads on a mala. Since focusing the mind is testing, an amateur may ponder for just a couple of minutes and after that work up to longer terms.
In this type of meditation, you just refocus your mindfulness on the picked protest of attention each time you see your mind wandering. Instead of seeking after arbitrary thoughts, you basically let them go. Through this procedure, your capacity to think moves forward.