Author Topic: Sharing my experience with difficult sensations in the "third eye" region  (Read 179 times)

chin

  • Member
    • Goenka
Just thought of sharing this, since it's something I struggle with. I don't really have a question for the group, since the technique is already quite clear about how to deal with it.  :)

Background: I've been practicing Vipassana since 2016. My primary practice is the Goenka-style Anapana+Vipassana+Metta for 1 hour every day and I've been fairly regular with it. I often use other guided meditations from the Insight Timer app, especially for the Metta portion of my session.

Issue: Ever since my first retreat in 2016, I've been dealing with a rather unpleasant tightening in the "third eye" region, moving down into the back of my nose and sometimes all the way down to my upper lip. It is definitely linked to my meditation but it far outlasts the sitting. It is present at many moments throughout the day. It feels almost constant, but closer investigation does reveal constant changes and shifts.

I've looked it up and found it described somewhere as "an energy field trying to force its way out" - and although I don't like the New Age-y language, it's the best description I've found for what I experience.

Although it's not really painful, the constant unpleasant feeling makes it hard to stay equanimous with.

What has been working: Of late, I've found the sensation beginning to dissolve (3 years!!). Below are things I've found useful:

  • Metta: by far the most helpful. Practicing hour-long metta sessions, especially self-directed really gives me lasting relief. I've also tried directing the metta to the parts experiencing the unpleasant sensation and that's also quite effective.
  • Less time on Anapana - I've been prone to spending way too much time on Anapana, keeping the focus on my nostrils, and not enough on Vipassana (body scans). Anapana helps me experience general peace (bliss of concentration) but tends to make this sensation worse. I've started spending more time on the body scan and discovered that the longer I keep focus away from my head/nostrils, the more relief I experience.
  • More relaxed awareness: I realized that my Anapana was too "effortful" and consciously making it effortless has made this sensation more relaxed
  • Self-metta/equanimity off the cushion: whenever I experience the tightness throughout the day, I try and remember to give myself more metta and to view the sensation with more objectivity

Whenever I do experience relief from the tight knot in my forehead, I experience immense peace, clarity and harmony.

It's a work in progress, and I know that the more I want it to "go away" the more it stays. But still, I've found these above methods to be helpful in managing it. Hopefully anyone else who lands here looking for ideas, finds these helpful as well.


Middleway

  • Staff
  • Just be a witness.
    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
Re: Sharing my experience with difficult sensations in the "third eye" region
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2019, 12:37:47 PM »
Did you try replacing anapana with total body breathing (shamatha)? It might solve the problem of the third eye pain.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

chin

  • Member
    • Goenka
Re: Sharing my experience with difficult sensations in the "third eye" region
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2019, 07:23:44 AM »
Yes, I actually do something like what is described in the Shamatha instructions posted on the forum home page. It's more relaxing overall. However, because my primary teaching is the Goenka school and I go back to their centres for retreats, I find myself conflicted about it. I feel like I might hinder my progress by avoiding the difficult sensations generated by the philtrum-focused Anapana; that rather than altering the technique to run away from this difficult sensation, I should be developing more equanimity about it.

It's very trial and error, actually.

Middleway

  • Staff
  • Just be a witness.
    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
Re: Sharing my experience with difficult sensations in the "third eye" region
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2019, 11:37:26 AM »
When the candle flame is shaking due wind and you try to cover it with your hands, it will invariably burn your hands. At some point you have to get up and close the window which is letting the wind inside.

Mind is like a candle flame. It shakes due to the winds of desire. If you try to still it with concentration technique, it will give you a headache. Goenka technique produces quick results by stilling the mind through concentration but is not sustainable in the long run.

At some point you have give up the concentration technique and work on letting go of desires in order to still the mind.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

chin

  • Member
    • Goenka
Re: Sharing my experience with difficult sensations in the "third eye" region
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2019, 07:12:41 AM »
Thanks so much. That's a very helpful analogy.

I can't deny still feeling conflicted because Goenka technique has worked phenomenally for me so far and also seems to be working well for so many others (including some of the my most respected idols, like Yuval Noah Harari) who seem to have progressed so far. The irony that I'm clinging to the technique is also not lost on me. Oh, well. We'll see how it unfolds.  :)

 

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