Author Topic: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation  (Read 966 times)

ChanthyOptimize

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Hello, everyone.
I was a daily meditator in the past. I did medition every single day for about two years. I could control my mind better, but my physical body became weaker day by day because of meditation.
I felt too much exhausted, headache and couldn't fall asleep easily.

Therefore, I completely decided to give up meditation for about 2 years.
But my mind has become worse.
I really truly want to live as an everyday meditator, so I started practice meditation again for the last 1 month.

The problem has been the same.
During meditation practice, I feel great in spite of some physical pain. It's okay for me.
But after I stop doing meditation for only 10-15 minutes, I feel too much exhausted and headache.
and I can't fall asleep.
1. I do meditation in the morning.
2. Only 10-15 minutes eats + consume 5 times of my mental energy (too much mental fatigue)
3. At night I can't fall asleep as a result of my morning meditation. My mind is wide wake and alert, and I observe my breath 5 or 10 seconds later, it is time for me to sleep. but My mind is just at my breath or my body sensation, which makes me unable to sleep and the next week I am in very extreme low energy mode to go to work. The worst is when my neighbour is playing music, my body temperature become a bit higher and my mind tends to be focusing on that music almost a whole night.

Do you ever experience this?
Any helps?

Thanks

Matthew

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2021, 07:35:30 AM »
Hi, and welcome to the forum.

It sounds as though you are using force to suppress thought, that your practice isn't balanced:

"control my mind", "exhausted, headache and couldn't fall asleep", "Only 10-15 minutes eats + consume 5 times of my mental energy (too much mental fatigue)", etc.

Can you say a bit more about what meditation you do? What your practice involves, and where our how you learned to practice?

I don't believe it will be hard to resolve your issue yet some more information about your practice, as well as the outcomes you have described, will be helpful.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

ChanthyOptimize

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2021, 09:48:21 AM »
Thanks for your reply, Matthew.
Every day, I drink lots of water, I do the walking exercise more than 1 hour. I feel completely okay,
BUT
Whenever I do meditation, I feel completely different.

I've practiced 2 forms of meditations. None works for me.
1. I do meditation by observing my breathing in and breathing out in the morning. It is okay for me during the meditation, but after doing it, I feel very exhausted. and my mind is always being with my breath the whole day and I feel like there is some air in my forehead, causing me so headache and too much exhaustion. The worst is that I can't fall asleep easily as my mind and focus are always being with my breath. and I wake up so many times at night. In addition,

2. I've practiced Vipassana by observing my sensations on my body. I learnt this from KoenGa's 10 days course. The Problem is similar to observing my breath. I still am exhausted and experience insomnia as the result of meditation.

I don't know what is wrong with my practice.
My dad practices a breathing observation meditation every day. It works perfectly fine for him.
My brother practices it 2-3 hours every day. It works like magic.

I will ask my friends and my family to donate some money every month to this Vipassana https://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/

And I think speaking is better than writing to describe my meditation practice problem.

Thanks

Matthew

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2021, 04:05:32 PM »
Hello again,

I believe from the evidence of your experience that you are putting too much/misdirected effort into meditation. This could take the form of too focused concentration, rather than a balance between calming bodily and mental fabrications whilst developing awareness of the entire body as you breathe in and out; and/or suppression of thought. It's likely both if I had to guess.

Vipassana from the Goenka school teaches Anapana focusing on the nostrils. This is based in a common mistaken translation from Pali.

The mindfulness with breathing described in the Suttas is clear:

Quote
He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.'  He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

Source: Access to Insight, the Anapanasati Sutta

sensitive to the entire body and ..
calming bodily fabrication

These two phrases are key to understanding the beginning, middle and end of mindfulness with breathing practice: being 'sensitive to the entire body', letting the mind rest with the bodily sensations created by the process of breathing in and breathing out, engages and activates the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic or 'rest and digest' nervous system. When these are engaged and activated your body calms - especially when combined with the mindful intention to 'calm bodily fabrications'. When the body calms, the vagus nerve, which consists of around 90% fibres sending signals from the body to the brain says to the brain "hey, everything's good .. nothing to be stressed about" and the mind naturally begins to calm too.

Nowhere, in any Sutta is there a mention of nose-meditation.

The footnotes in the Sutta linked above does reference the Pali, Paramukham, "mindfulness to the fore" and possible interpretations, yet misses the correct one. This is best translated as "making mindfulness the foremost quality of mind" or "raising mindfulness" to be perhaps clearer: that is to say that one brings oneself knowingly to a state of mindfulness, one remains in this state, letting things be, letting thoughts arise, as they naturally will, and always returning mindfulness to breathing in/out sensitive to the entire body and calming the body, when noticing mind has attached to thought or to a train of thought.

So thought is not forced away ... practicing in this way one notices thoughts arising and falling, or one notices that the mind has attached to thought; moved away from whole-body awareness, and then with mindfulness is returned to the physical sensations created in the body by breathing in and out. This is done with compassion and kindness to yourself: no need to criticise that natural tendency of the mind to wander.

The point of the practice is to allow body and mind to relax, to calm, such that the tendency of mind to wander into thought dissolves naturally with repeated right-effort of maintaining a regular meditation practice. There is very little force used in this process: just enough to take mindfulness from attachment to thinking processes back to the body, again and again and again when it happens; always gently, without self-criticism, just remembering ("being mindful") that we do the practice not to get lost in thought, not to suppress thought, but to become a kind, gentle and accepting witness to the madness of our thinking and our identification with it. This is the only healthy and balanced way to allow thought to begin to diminish and eventually cease: to give it space to be, without identifying with it. "I am not my thoughts" is the most revelatory experience ...

I will propose an experiment to you. Take some days, or a week or so, away from meditating - enough time you are not suffering the negative side-effects you have described in your posts. Relax and forget everything you know about meditation. When you are ready use the "Calm Abiding" meditation notes from the homepage of the forum, and try this way of meditating for at least a couple of weeks .. a month is more useful.

Don't hesitate to ask if you have questions.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2021, 04:18:47 PM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Matthew

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2021, 04:09:29 PM »
.
I will ask my friends and my family to donate some money every month to this Vipassana ...

That's a kind thought yet we're ok for now with money - the fees are paid for a year and we have the money for next year too. 🙂🙏
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

ChanthyOptimize

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2021, 12:18:25 AM »
Thanks, my master
So Do have other kinds of meditation suggestions besides observing my breathing in and breathing out that suit my conditions?

And I would like to donate at least $10-20 every month to this forum. And this money can be spent for other meditation practitioners or to offer foods to the monks or to whatever that can benefit the Buddishm.

Thanks

Monica

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2021, 12:57:29 AM »
The mindfulness with breathing described in the Suttas is clear:

Quote
He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.'  He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

Source: Access to Insight, the Anapanasati Sutta

sensitive to the entire body and ..
calming bodily fabrication

These two phrases are key to understanding the beginning, middle and end of mindfulness with breathing practice: being 'sensitive to the entire body', letting the mind rest with the bodily sensations created by the process of breathing in and breathing out, engages and activates the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic or 'rest and digest' nervous system. When these are engaged and activated your body calms - especially when combined with the mindful intention to 'calm bodily fabrications'. When the body calms, the vagus nerve, which consists of around 90% fibres sending signals from the body to the brain says to the brain "hey, everything's good .. nothing to be stressed about" and the mind naturally begins to calm too.

Nowhere, in any Sutta is there a mention of nose-meditation.

The footnotes in the Sutta linked above does reference the Pali, Paramukham, "mindfulness to the fore" and possible interpretations, yet misses the correct one. This is best translated as "making mindfulness the foremost quality of mind" or "raising mindfulness" to be perhaps clearer: that is to say that one brings oneself knowingly to a state of mindfulness, one remains in this state, letting things be, letting thoughts arise, as they naturally will, and always returning mindfulness to breathing in/out sensitive to the entire body and calming the body, when noticing mind has attached to thought or to a train of thought.

So thought is not forced away ... practicing in this way one notices thoughts arising and falling, or one notices that the mind has attached to thought; moved away from whole-body awareness, and then with mindfulness is returned to the physical sensations created in the body by breathing in and out. This is done with compassion and kindness to yourself: no need to criticise that natural tendency of the mind to wander.

The point of the practice is to allow body and mind to relax, to calm, such that the tendency of mind to wander into thought dissolves naturally with repeated right-effort of maintaining a regular meditation practice. There is very little force used in this process: just enough to take mindfulness from attachment to thinking processes back to the body, again and again and again when it happens; always gently, without self-criticism, just remembering ("being mindful") that we do the practice not to get lost in thought, not to suppress thought, but to become a kind, gentle and accepting witness to the madness of our thinking and our identification with it. This is the only healthy and balanced way to allow thought to begin to diminish and eventually cease: to give it space to be, without identifying with it. "I am not my thoughts" is the most revelatory experience ...


Thank you, Matthew, for this beautiful and useful explanation.

Matthew

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2021, 11:18:51 AM »
Thanks, my master

OK .. so, one thing to get straight is that I'm no master and not anyone's master ... I'm a faulted human being working with meditation to change my relationship to myself and the world. I'm sure you are at least partly joking, but please don't see me as any different to you: I have good days and bad days, I sometimes mess up big time. It's not healthy to think I'm anything special as I really am not. This has been problematic in the past on these forums, when a person forms an inaccurate picture and later feels let down when discovering the other person doesn't deserve to be on a pedestal.

The problem I think you are encountering is one that is very common. I might be mistaken .. this is why I suggested an experiment: only by trying something different will you start to learn how to use mindfulness more wisely and without the obstacles you encounter now.

Quote
So Do have other kinds of meditation suggestions besides observing my breathing in and breathing out that suit my conditions?

If you look at the Sutta linked above, you will find that mindfulness with breathing is the first stop on a journey of getting to know yourself better. It goes beyond body and breath. However, even mastering mindfulness with breathing may take a long time, depending on your starting conditions/life experience, and the time you are able to practice.

For now it's probably best to try the experiment and not complicated things: you need to become comfortable in body and mind with this practice, and find out if you encounter the same problems or not. Perhaps after a period of working on that there is some benefit in bringing in other meditations, such as developing compassion and cultivating an attitude of kindness and acceptance towards all you encounter.

Quote
And I would like to donate at least $10-20 every month to this forum. And this money can be spent for other meditation practitioners or to offer foods to the monks or to whatever that can benefit the Buddishm.

Thank you for your generous thought, it is very kind. It might be more sensible to find a charity to donate to directly though. We aren't a clearing house for such matters - and our costs are covered until around September 2024 already.

Thank you, Matthew, for this beautiful and useful explanation.

Hope it helps Monica.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2021, 11:55:32 AM by Matthew »
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Liuyi

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2021, 04:33:11 AM »
Hi, ChanthyOptimize,

I signed up today, so I'm a newbie to this forum, but your problem is not new to me. The below is my explanation for the cause of your problems but based on my discipline system which is from an ancient China meditative technique.

When you maditate, your mind is heavy. When your mind is heavy, lots of your body energy goes to your head to be consumed by your head in order to suport your heavy mind. That's why your body felt exhausted after meditation. Also due to the heavy mind, after meditation, there is also a trend of energy flowing into to your head. It is not as much as that when you do meditation, but the trend is there, so your mind is kept being activated by that part of gathered energy, that's why you have insomnia. Those energy gathered in your head will not be consumed completely, the remaining portion will be stucked in your head, that's the reason of your headache and also the reason that you feel there is something in your head.

What I suggest to solve your problems is: stop meditation for a period of time, at the same time, do more body exercises in order to disturb the existing trend of energy flow to your head and draw them back to your body again. During this period, do not draw any attention to your head anymore including the nostrils. By doing this, you will be back to normal gradually. When you feel completely ok, then you could restart your meditation but with a light mind as much as possible.

Since my explanation is from a different meditative discipline system, I don't know whether you accept them or not. If not, you could take it with a grain of salt.

Anyway, hope it helps.
Nothingness

Matthew

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2021, 12:15:59 PM »
Hi Liuyi,

Welcome to the forum.

Since my explanation is from a different meditative discipline system, I don't know whether you accept them or not. If not, you could take it with a grain of salt.

There is an ongoing open enquiry here, it can be interesting to hear different perspectives, though there is a need for some level of common language/vocabulary for this to be of benefit. This point you make could use some further elaboration:

When you maditate, your mind is heavy.

You use the terms of mind being "heavy" or "light". Can you explain a little more about this?

Your suggestion of action to take is quite similar to the experiment I suggested in some specific details. This makes me wonder if you and I are seeing the same things yet using different concepts to describe the same experiential phenomena. What is your view?

Kindly,
Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

dharma bum

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2021, 02:45:46 PM »
It is an interesting idea about heavy and light mind. Usually, for me, meditation makes my head lighter, but I can see why the head can become heavy if you are doing a meditation that involves concentration.

For other issues like exhaustion and insomnia, you should make sure that you are getting enough nutrition and light exercise. Insomnia can be a problem if you are either getting too much rest as a result of meditation so it disturbs your sleep patterns. Or it could be that you are concentrating too hard and not letting the mind and body relax when it is bedtime.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2021, 02:50:33 PM by dharma bum »
Mostly ignorant

Matthew

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2021, 04:06:57 PM »
It is an interesting idea about heavy and light mind. Usually, for me, meditation makes my head lighter, but I can see why the head can become heavy if you are doing a meditation that involves concentration.

Can you offer more meaning to the use of heavy/light in these contexts dharna bum? You seem to equate head and mind - I'm fairly sure you don't mean this literally, but can't know ...

In peace,
M
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

dharma bum

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2021, 12:48:51 AM »
Quote
Can you offer more meaning to the use of heavy/light in these contexts dharna bum? You seem to equate head and mind - I'm fairly sure you don't mean this literally, but can't know ...

I use them the normal way people talk. Your head feels heavy when you are tired or have something like a headache. You feel light-headed when you feel fresh.

I think Liuyi is talking about the Chinese ideas of chi, but I'm not sure.
Mostly ignorant

Liuyi

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2021, 03:35:33 AM »
there is a need for some level of common language/vocabulary for this to be of benefit. This point you make could use some further elaboration:

You use the terms of mind being "heavy" or "light". Can you explain a little more about this?

Your suggestion of action to take is quite similar to the experiment I suggested in some specific details. This makes me wonder if you and I are seeing the same things yet using different concepts to describe the same experiential phenomena. What is your view?


Hi, Matthew,

It's good to have your kind reply. 

I got your points and Thanks for your words that make me become aware that some of the vocabularies I used may cause some confusion or misunderstanding. Hope the below clarification may better express the meaning that I'm trying to convey.

In our discipline system of meditation, "Heavy" or "Light" are the adjectives that we normally used to describe the level of how strong the mind is focused. A Heavy mind means that a strong focused mind is used to do one thing, e.g. focusing on one point or one activity of the body. or maybe we could use another expression, like a Strong mind? And a Light mind means that only a little focused mind is used, or maybe we could say a Slight mind? I don't know whether I made myself clear. If you get what I mean from my poor English language, I would request you please kindly rephrase them in a common language for easy understanding purpose. Thanks a lot for that, Matthew.

Refer to your second question, I would say Yes and different disciplines lead to the same final destination. Maybe there are different names for procedures or phenomenas or spiritual activities, etc. but I believe they refer to the same things. Actually, the ancient China way of meditation that I've been practicing for many years is primarily focused on the life energy (we've been call them Qi) of human body. In the begining stage of this discipline system, the life energy will be nurtured and accumulated into a very high level and at the sametime cure all the body illnesses making the body become completely healthy and be full of life energy. Then, with the sound physical and energetic basis and support, a person will be much easier to get into high spiritual status like being in the nothingness state or astral travel or others but will not be exhausted. However, in this process, a heavy/strong mind of concentration may happen for newbies, because it usually happens unconciously or unintentionally. If it is not corrected and stay being like that for a longer period of time, headache, exhausting, etc. happens. That's why I said what happens to ChanthyOptimize is not new to me.

Hope I made myself clear this time :)
Nothingness

Liuyi

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2021, 03:58:33 AM »

I think Liuyi is talking about the Chinese ideas of chi, but I'm not sure.

Hi dharma bum,

Nice to meet you. Yes, I'm talking about Qi or pronounced as Chi which is life energy of human body that every living person has them.  Did you do any practice relating to Qi? If you practiced, you may know that a strong focused mind or a strong concentration of attention should not be used for most of the time when we do the practice.

regards,
Nothingness

dharma bum

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2021, 02:55:00 PM »
Hi Liuyi,

I don't do any Qi based practice. Actually I am not that familiar with the concepts.

But I do have the experience of doing a Goenka style meditation that is based on concentration that can cause difficulties in sleeping.

I find concentration-based techniques sometimes useful when the mind is very chaotic, but they are not so useful when I am tired because it is hard to concentrate when I am tired. So these days I am trying to follow the 'letting go' method without too much of a 'strong mind' as you call it.

Sometimes I do a concentration based meditation to start with and then do a more relaxed letting go. Actually, I don't do all of this on purpose. My mind generally does whatever it wants.
Mostly ignorant

Liuyi

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Re: Too much exhausted, too much insomnia and headache after doing meditation
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2021, 02:00:24 PM »
Hi dharma bum,

Thanks for your reply. I noticed your expression "concentration-based techniques", I think this is a good expression.
Actually, what I have been practicing and teaching for years could be categorized into concentration-based techniques. We concentrate our mind on different parts of the body at different steps in order to nurture and accumulate the life energy of body, but on the contrary of causing sleeping difficulties, it helps people with insomnia, even with a one-day training, the situation improves. It is a systematic and mature program.  But if it was practiced in a wrong way, it will cause problems as you said.

So come back to what happened to ChanthyOptimize, I think the cause could be that the concentration happens unconciously or unintentionally and the point of concentration just happened to be on the head which should not.
Nothingness

 

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