Author Topic: After years of meditation, a new level?  (Read 695 times)

John Bruzi

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After years of meditation, a new level?
« on: March 23, 2019, 01:20:25 PM »
Hi guys it's been a while. I would like to post an important update on my practice which is now years old. It will be remembered that, in the past, I have more than once complained about meditation "symptoms" like rapid heart beats, "movement" in the head and increased alertness before sleep (inability to fall asleep), among other things (which aren't always bad or frustrating, in fact sometimes exciting).

All that (or most of it) has now become manageable. My heart is now only racing when my breath is messy or my attention distracted, and there seems to be some sort of harmony (a sync even) between my (now slow) breath and overall energy concentrations and "movements" across the body. This synchronization usually culminates in a powerful vibration between the eyebrows and the crown of the head (which is otherwise subtle), as well as an aggressive straightening of the spine, in what feels like an explosion in the forehead (before it use to feel frightening, now it's thrilling).

So far so good. But what's with the muscle contractions every time I "drift" and loose focus? I'm not even sure the actual muscles would be contracting (spasm) but it sure feels like it. The physical feeling of contraction usually feels like fear "localized" in one part of the body (usually the part most prone to pain, like a spot where you've had surgery in the past). I usually snap out of it because it feels like the muscles in question will explode if I don't (even though, as I said, I'm not sure the muscles would even be tense or if it's just the nerves).

And the thing is, I've had two hernia surgeries in the past and I DO NOT want to induce a third hernia through meditation (if that's even possible!). All I now is that there is physical pain even after the sitting is over. These are uncharted waters for me.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2019, 08:27:34 PM »
Good to hear from you John. I can relate to sensations between the eyebrows and top of head, and other parts of the body. My view is this is muscle memory related to apprehension, fear, anxiety, you name it. Often it is a catalyst to enquiry, as in, your mind feels the need to trace the source of the apprehension. And if you scan through your thoughts long enough, you'll find a mental object to be apprehensive of.

Try and cultivate calmness and a feeling of relaxation in your body, and let go of those sensations.

John Bruzi

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 07:00:50 PM »
So there's no danger of some sort of energy overload that might damage my muscle tissues, at all?

Dharmic Tui

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2019, 08:49:04 AM »
Wouldn't have thought so, sounds like you're just more conscious of the underlying sensations in your body.

stillpointdancer

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 11:12:41 AM »
So there's no danger of some sort of energy overload that might damage my muscle tissues, at all?
When I went through phases of this kind of thing it meant I usually had to meditate alone. My whole body would twitch and jump, as if someone had put an ice cold spoon down my back. Once or twice over the whole meditation session wouldn't be so bad, but every couple of minutes was a bit too much, I thought. I guess I could have pulled a muscle if I was prone to that sort of thing.
“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

John Bruzi

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2019, 12:23:49 AM »
Well these days I can't sleep. This is how bad it is. Usually closing my eyes and getting lost in my breath is a good way to put myself to sleep. Now the very thing that puts me to sleep is keeping me up no matter how sleepy I am. Every time I close my eyes and drift I am invaded by waves of aggressive muscle spasms/contractions and feelings of "localized fear" (if that makes sense) in the same parts of my body.

A similar thing has happened in the past (though not nearly as aggressive) and I had to take a break from meditation before I was able to progress with the practice.

stillpointdancer

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2019, 11:17:37 AM »
A similar thing has happened in the past (though not nearly as aggressive) and I had to take a break from meditation before I was able to progress with the practice.

I've often taken breaks from meditating. It's a good way to find out if it's working. When I did it the physical effects fell off but I felt much worse in myself, after a month or so, than when I was meditating. One year I tried a daily three minute practice only, before I went out to work and this seemed to have the same good effect as longer practices, but without the side effects.
“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

John Bruzi

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2019, 09:07:59 PM »
Okay, the pain has now moved on to new places (without fully subsiding in the old places). Now the whole lower left part of my body hurts (the episode is usually triggered by me meditating while sleeping on my left side cuz this is how I usually fall asleep) and it feels like nerve and not muscle pain. It's weird I don't know what to do. It's not just twitching but chronic pain like their's a real problem with my nerves!

I stopped meditating for around 4 to 5 days and the pain did subside but returned as soon as I came back to the practice.

Thing is, even if I don't actively meditate (usually lotus position), I usually fall into a semi-meditative state trying to sleep every night, and this triggers the same reaction (especially if I'm sleeping on one of my sides as I'm a side sleeper).

Also I'm not sure this is relevant but this whole pain episode was preceded by a period of intense sexual cravings (probably meditation induced).

Do I power on through and keep meditating or do I turn around and take a break? Does working out help by clearing energy channels and making the body more flexible?

stillpointdancer

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2019, 10:40:05 AM »
This is similar to my reply on the other thread. Personally I would take a break of a few months and then either start again ideally with a teacher who can help modify your practice, or if not return with a different programme of meditation to try, maybe to start with some form of progressive relaxation rather than body scanning, as there is a difference.
“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

John Bruzi

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2019, 12:13:00 AM »
I'm taking a break alright but like I said even if I don't sit and meditate I naturally fall into a meditative state every time I'm trying to sleep. It's become a habit, a curse!

I want to sleep guys! How do I close my eyes and fall asleep without inviting the same Kundalini wrath upon myself?

stillpointdancer

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2019, 11:25:36 AM »
Years ago I bought one of those self-hypnosis tapes (yes, that long ago)  where the guy puts you into a light trance before a gap in the tape for auto-suggestion to take place. I still remember his voice relaxing my body and slowing my breathing. When I needed to be able to sleep, I used a version which didn't bring me round at the end so let me drift off to sleep. Whenever I find myself wide awake in bed I run through the whole process in my head, turn over and find myself awake next morning.

The other strategy is a bit harder. I sometimes get the night terrors, although not as much as in the past where I tried to develop conscious dreaming to get myself out of those awful situations where you find yourself lucky to finally be awake, albeit in a cold sweat. It worked to the extent I found myself meditating my way out of the dangerous situation, literally dreaming that I was meditating. The dreams kind of fell off after that.

My current bad dreams are around a lack of ability to breath, which is not too much fun. My strategy for this type has been to thank my subconscious for bringing me awake, as it is usually because I am having a real problem breathing- blocked up or in a position where I'm kind of blocking off my breathing with my chin on my chest. Being grateful for being awake takes the terror out of the next few minutes, allowing me to go back to sleep.

Waking up with too much energy coursing through you may need you to develop something similar. Maybe meditating on death and dying so that you can be grateful for the energy reminding you that you are still alive? Anything to take the tension out of the situation really.
“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: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2019, 10:57:07 PM »
I'm taking a break alright but like I said even if I don't sit and meditate I naturally fall into a meditative state every time I'm trying to sleep. It's become a habit, a curse!

I want to sleep guys! How do I close my eyes and fall asleep without inviting the same Kundalini wrath upon myself?

This was the exact problem I had several of months ago. In my case I kept going into this weird REM state and hallucinating like crazy. Which, in retrospect maybe is not all bad and maybe I could learn from that and it could be good but idk. I also had migraines and other severe problems at the time.
Anyways, it made me very uncomfortable and I could not sleep properly, or at least it seemed that way. Eventually I would go to sleep every night. In my case what I did to avoid the meditative state was think/day dream (the opposite of meditation). Also; I stopped doing the 'deep' type of meditation I had been doing at that time which was often going into an REM state (during meditation). I usually meditate (now) by focusing on breath which feels good and seems to be beneficial but does not have these other intense side effects. After several weeks this problem gradually went away and now I no longer hallucinate like crazy at night or have the other problems. I could go to sleep without the worry that caused.
Ironically now though, lately, I've found that I can get to sleep quicker if I stop daydreaming and thinking, though I'm still not going into a meditative state but I might focus on my breath a little bit or just stop thinking and I start feeling more tired. I notice often that if I'm really thinking a lot in bed, I don't feel tired.
Another thing I changed was I was using a screen alteration program on my PC that changed the colors on my screen that was supposed to make it better for your eyes but for some reason this made me hallucinate more (I read there is possibly some scientific truth in that; weird as it is). I do however still hallucinate occasionally at night but it's not as bad and I can deal with it. I wonder honestly if I really just started hallucinating around this time, or if I really always had been but only noticed it now that I'm meditating....
I think the main thing that allowed me to go back to sleeping/getting to sleep in a regular way  is the change in the way I meditate however. I never get in that REM state while meditating now, and it doesn't happen at night either. So I would just recommend trying a different type of meditation and perhaps avoiding the states/symptoms you're experiencing during meditation and maybe it'll go away at night too.

It was during one of these instances of not being able to sleep (while I was meditating deeply) that I had an episode that may or may not have been an ego dissolution experience. I can't say for sure because these things are so difficult to describe to each other. In any case it was incredibly weird and crazy and made me feel strange and uncomfortable for the whole following day. For several days I was a little scared I was loosing my mind, another reason I decided to stop that type of meditation for good and stick with something more mild. Though a little part of me wants to experience that again and learn more about it, but I'm too scared to.
"I have seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it has never come to pass" - Mark Twain

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stillpointdancer

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2019, 11:58:57 AM »
It was during one of these instances of not being able to sleep (while I was meditating deeply) that I had an episode that may or may not have been an ego dissolution experience. I can't say for sure because these things are so difficult to describe to each other. In any case it was incredibly weird and crazy and made me feel strange and uncomfortable for the whole following day. For several days I was a little scared I was loosing my mind, another reason I decided to stop that type of meditation for good and stick with something more mild. Though a little part of me wants to experience that again and learn more about it, but I'm too scared to.

I was asked not to describe some of my experiences to others at the Buddhist centre in case I put people off meditating. But if we don't share, how do we know what is merely a side effect of meditation, and what is a warning to lay off for a while? My own experience is seeing some kind of monster leap down off a balcony in the shrine room where I was meditating, rune up to me, punch a claw into my chest and rip out part of my heart. I can still see it if I close my eyes.

As it happens, this sort of thing doesn't bother me. Instead it was hard not to burst out laughing and disturb the other meditators. It's my strange sense of humor I guess, but as it did this I warned it that it to take care, that it would be infected with me. And then it just disappeared. Of course, for me this really is a side effect of meditating, that it brings changes to the brain and that things which belong to our dreaming state kind of 'leak' into our wakeful meditating state. On the other hand, if you don't believe that then I can see that it would be a pretty terrifying experience.
“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

Quardamon

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Re: After years of meditation, a new level?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2019, 10:29:36 PM »
Hello John,
Glad to hear from you. And also from you, Dharmic Tui. I thought you were away. (Like myself, I must say.)
I should be careful in my reactions, as I meditate hardly, during the last two months or two years - depending on what you see as meditation. (From spring 2017 till winter 2018 I meditated mainly to bring some quiet and order in the 12 oar rowing boat that I was the helmsmen of.)
Sometimes I am surprised by a search of fear. I do not manage to understand what the fear is, but I try to sense the space in which the fear is occurring. I feel it like a scream that leaves my body, and I try to sense where it comes from and where it goes. So I take a little time after the experience, to digest it.
This afternoon I had the feeling that there was something that could inflict fear, about half a meter from my back. So I use the picture of space around my body - more or less like an aura. Like others use the picture of personal history or of karma to grow peace with what they are experiencing. For me, space has a quality of acceptance - as if space can carry all experiences.
There is a way to train the feeling of being space, but I have little experience with it.