Author Topic: Jerked out of my meditation.  (Read 11268 times)

Vikki

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Jerked out of my meditation.
« on: May 28, 2010, 10:02:52 PM »
I have been breath meditating for almost 7 years, generally  3x30 minute sessions daily.  Within a short period, the boundaries have disappeared, and the notion of presence as well.  Also the long familiar blue circle slowly appears, sometimes slowly moving or still.  I always welcome this although have no idea what it means.

But recently, I have experienced a momentary pulling sensation in the meditation almost as if 'I' am being yanked- not alert- but away from that peaceful stage and is accompanied with an flash or moment of fright. Of course all of this occurs in split seconds and I am unable and unwilling to return to my breathe.  I often think it is like my consciousness is being taken to another 'place' if that makes any sense at all.

I have also realized a headache in my forehead afterwards.
While I still continue to meditate, there is now the idea that this might happen again.  I would appreciate any imput and/or advice that might help me to understand what is going on and also how to work either with or through it.  Thank you....Vikki

convivium

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2010, 10:49:14 PM »
sounds like you might as well fly out of body and ask a tibetan teacher...

kidnovice

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2010, 12:05:09 AM »
Hi Vicki. Its difficult to offer you advice without knowing where you are coming from. What is your intention when you meditate? What is the purpose that drives you? The deep (often unstated) answers to these questions often have a profound impact on what we experience when we meditate, and more importantly, how we interpret our experiences.

You don't need to answer these questions now (or in this forum). But you need to answer them. Those answers will unlock the mystery of what you are experiencing. Myself, I am always mindful of the mental states that I am cultivating when I meditate. I always wish to cultivate wholesome qualities like kindness, compassion, discernment, patience, and equanimity---and I try to make sure that I am doing so as I relate to each experience I have while meditating. I have other intentions, but that is always my top priority.

Similarly, I also try to make sure that my experiences don't inadvertently contribute to a firmer sense of my own identity. Thus,when I experience visual phenomena, I make sure that as I am aware of it, I am cultivating wholesome qualities. I try to explore how I feel about it: am I clinging to it? Am I becoming more peaceful? Am I feeling "special" for having this experience? Or is the experience helping deepen my concentration/tranquility?

As for the sudden and "jolting" loss of concentration, that is a important moment. For that it is the time when you can cultivate equanimity. Can you be as content with that state as you were with the joyful feeling of being focused? If not, you have a valuable opportunity to cultivate acceptance. Also, you might consider that the sudden jerking out of concentration could indicate that your focus on the breath is involving too much "work" (as opposed to a more gentle effortless concentration that can be more easily sustained). That is a typical issue for meditators.

with metta,
KN
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

convivium

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2010, 12:37:33 AM »
in vipassana or therevada, ignorance is the issue, but in tibetan buddhism awareness and appearances are the issue. so you'll find different answers in the suttas than in vajrayana or tantrism.

Jhananda

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2010, 12:45:13 AM »
Hello Vikki, it sounds like you are making progress in your meditation.  The "familiar blue circle" is known as a 'kasina' in southern Buddhism.  It is a sign (nimitta) that meditative absorption (jhana) has arisen.  In my experience with these phenomena (nimitta) you have most probably arrived at the third jhana.

The sensation of taking flight while in meditation is known as a 'rapture' in Christian mysticism.  The first rapture is after the 4th jhana.  A rapture is also known as an OOBE. Yes, OOBEs can be frightening.  One just has to keep making progress in meditation. 

I would suggest that you try increasing your meditation time to 1 hour intervals.  This will allow you to progress to the 4th jhana, where you will develop deep equanimity, which you will need for the rapture, or OOBE.

I would recommend you read Saints John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, because they were very articulate about these phenomena.  Or, you can also see my video on this subject:
the 4 jhanas

Matthew

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2010, 10:29:52 AM »
.... Also, you might consider that the sudden jerking out of concentration could indicate that your focus on the breath is involving too much "work" (as opposed to a more gentle effortless concentration that can be more easily sustained). That is a typical issue for meditators.

Hi Vikki,

KN makes a point I would certainly have hit upon here. The reactions you are experiencing could well be the rebound from an over-exertion in concentration and a lack of balanced letting be/acceptance.

Out of interest what form of breath meditation are you undertaking? I think Jhanada is right that you are approaching meditative absorption yet the way you are reacting to this makes me wonder if there is a fundamental layer of calm/acceptance somehow missing from your meditative "trifle" that won't let the doors open.

You may also wish to read this post: http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,780.msg6423.html#msg6423

Warm regards,

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: May 29, 2010, 11:14:10 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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Vikki

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2010, 06:08:00 PM »
.... Also, you might consider that the sudden jerking out of concentration could indicate that your focus on the breath is involving too much "work" (as opposed to a more gentle effortless concentration that can be more easily sustained). That is a typical issue for meditators.

Hi Vikki,

KN makes a point I would certainly have hit upon here. The reactions you are experiencing could well be the rebound from an over-exertion in concentration and a lack of balanced letting be/acceptance.

Out of interest what form of breath meditation are you undertaking? I think Jhanada is right that you are approaching meditative absorption yet the way you are reacting to this makes me wonder if there is a fundamental layer of calm/acceptance somehow missing from your meditative "trifle" that won't let the doors open.

You may also wish to read this post: http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,780.msg6423.html#msg6423

Warm regards,

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
 
Initially after settling in, I observe my breath on the inhale from the nostrils down to my abdomen, aware of the different sensations that are occuring. And on the exhale, the reverse. Since breath is a constant, I use it to begin the process of quieting my system. There is no effort or force involved which would compromise the entire process.  I do not count.  At some point is when the boundaries of my body and it's surroundings disappear, the blue circle appears and my focus on tonglen begins.

Earlier on in the first year or two, I created a problem with developing a strong sensitivity identifying the suffering in other's and as I came to understand, this is not unusual. Off balance without the wisdom to cultivate empathy, a healthy balance was necessary and meditation to cultivate insight was the next step.  When I discovered tonglen practice, I was drawn to it immediately as the means to be of service during meditation in this area as well as when I am going about my day. 

The middle of the day meditation is not tonglen but rather a quieting of my system, one that I do to observe whatever thoughts or sensations come along without any particular focus.  I have not changed my meditation or have had any events new in my life that could have, if any, reason to allow this episode occuring.
Vikki

Vikki

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2010, 06:19:00 PM »
Hi Vicki. Its difficult to offer you advice without knowing where you are coming from. What is your intention when you meditate? What is the purpose that drives you? The deep (often unstated) answers to these questions often have a profound impact on what we experience when we meditate, and more importantly, how we interpret our experiences.

You don't need to answer these questions now (or in this forum). But you need to answer them. Those answers will unlock the mystery of what you are experiencing. Myself, I am always mindful of the mental states that I am cultivating when I meditate. I always wish to cultivate wholesome qualities like kindness, compassion, discernment, patience, and equanimity---and I try to make sure that I am doing so as I relate to each experience I have while meditating. I have other intentions, but that is always my top priority.

Similarly, I also try to make sure that my experiences don't inadvertently contribute to a firmer sense of my own identity. Thus,when I experience visual phenomena, I make sure that as I am aware of it, I am cultivating wholesome qualities. I try to explore how I feel about it: am I clinging to it? Am I becoming more peaceful? Am I feeling "special" for having this experience? Or is the experience helping deepen my concentration/tranquility?

As for the sudden and "jolting" loss of concentration, that is a important moment. For that it is the time when you can cultivate equanimity. Can you be as content with that state as you were with the joyful feeling of being focused? If not, you have a valuable opportunity to cultivate acceptance. Also, you might consider that the sudden jerking out of concentration could indicate that your focus on the breath is involving too much "work" (as opposed to a more gentle effortless concentration that can be more easily sustained). That is a typical issue for meditators.

with metta,
KN
I have explained my meditation and what I my hopes are regarding it in my reply to Matthew below. Just didn't want to take up space repeating.

But as for cultivating equanimity or acceptance of this 'jolting', I am not yet able to even imagine that.  As the sensation is instantly joined with fright as even foreboding as well, returning to my previous joyous state has not been successful. Honestly when I sit and think it over, I wonder what would happen if I sat and waited through, what if I was unable to return to my usual state of awareness.  I know that reads odd but it is why I am here and hoping for a way to work through these episodes when they do occur.

Matthew

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2010, 06:43:17 PM »
Vikki,

Have you ever tried placing your mindfulness on the entire body as you breathe rather than following this pattern? That is how the Buddha taught meditation. There is much wisdom to be fathomed by listening to the body. It goes against the grain for westerners yet is the essence of the path of the Buddha.

Also I would say that Tonglen is a practice that can produce very strong reactions. Many different manifestations of the energy produced can occur. However, it needs to be understood as a training practice and not something that projects an energy externally, except in that you are changed by it's proper pursuit, and thus manifest differently in the world.

Warmly,

Matthew
« Last Edit: May 29, 2010, 06:47:18 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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Vikki

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2010, 06:49:43 PM »
Hello Vikki, it sounds like you are making progress in your meditation.  The "familiar blue circle" is known as a 'kasina' in southern Buddhism.  It is a sign (nimitta) that meditative absorption (jhana) has arisen.  In my experience with these phenomena (nimitta) you have most probably arrived at the third jhana.

The sensation of taking flight while in meditation is known as a 'rapture' in Christian mysticism.  The first rapture is after the 4th jhana.  A rapture is also known as an OOBE. Yes, OOBEs can be frightening.  One just has to keep making progress in meditation.  

I would suggest that you try increasing your meditation time to 1 hour intervals.  This will allow you to progress to the 4th jhana, where you will develop deep equanimity, which you will need for the rapture, or OOBE.

I would recommend you read Saints John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, because they were very articulate about these phenomena.  Or, you can also see my video on this subject:
the 4 jhanas
Hi!
Well I had heard of jhanas but until your video did not have an idea as to what they were about.  As you speak at 8:15 of experiencing ringing, I could identify with that easily.  I use singing bowls throughout the day, enjoying the vibration up my arm and the particular note that sings during whatever mantra I am doing.  The absolute joy is when I hear that note during meditation sing many times accompanying me along the way with no bowl in my hand.  I smile inside.

In 1997, I almost died in the e.r. after having a ruptured colon which had not been diagnosed properly.  And yes, it was that entire episode of lifting up and out of my physical body observing my clothes being torn off by nurses, tubes and machinery being wheeled in etc..while I watched this process not from way above but rather I was hovering off to the side. THere was no white light or any spiritual moments.  I saw my husband in another room even though I was not in that room with him.  At some point, I always recall the powerful desire to get back to that body and away from whatever that place was which I was in.  I somehow knew it was not a good place to be.  Is this the kind of OOBE you are referring to?  I often wonder why so many people find the possibility of this occuring as ridiculous.  As I had not even been give pain medication or had any procedures done, there is no way the episode had been prompted artificially.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2010, 11:31:14 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »

convivium

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2010, 07:04:24 PM »

convivium

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Vikki

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2010, 08:05:58 PM »
Hi Matthew,
As I described my breathing method, I do involve my entire body.  My breath is not focused on the nostrils and the sensation of the air entering and exhaling but rather as it travels throughout relaxing and even warming my body.  This leads to the state of releasing any negative or obstructions on the exhale and inhaling the positive, energies that are being welcomed.  This method is especially effective when preparing for tonglen.
I found a quote some time ago by the Dalai Lama regarding tonglen and I thought it's the perfect way to explain how I view it as well:
"Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense."

Tonglen has helped me to feel empathy, imagining what someone's suffering may be like, on to compassion and the effectiveness of how can I help, how can I be of service?  Prior to this form of meditation, just feeling the compassion seemed to drain me of energy and even depressed me.  I did not have balance and was unable to distance myself to a point that while still feeling compassion , could begin to help in a meaningful way.

Matthew

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2010, 09:51:45 AM »
Vikki,

Initially after settling in, I observe my breath on the inhale from the nostrils down to my abdomen, aware of the different sensations that are occuring. And on the exhale, the reverse.

As I described my breathing method, I do involve my entire body.  My breath is not focused on the nostrils and the sensation of the air entering and exhaling but rather as it travels throughout relaxing and even warming my body.  This leads to the state of releasing any negative or obstructions on the exhale and inhaling the positive, energies that are being welcomed.  This method is especially effective when preparing for tonglen.

The description you gave far from involves the whole body - it seems very directed at the breathing process. The right attention is on the entire body - and noticing what the breathing does to the body as part of that.

"The monk breathes in sensitive to the entire body, calming the entire body", is how the Buddha taught breath meditation. You have a lot of fabrication in your meditation which could be creating the blockages resulting in these strange phenomena.

Firstly you are following your breath from your nostrils down and then back again. There is a blocking out of other phenomena in this. The idea is to be sensitive to the entire body-as-you-breath process, not pointing the attention anywhere, but relaxing/calming bodily fabrications/tensions.

The difference in terms of the Samadhi produced is that one is forced and one is open. A forced Samadhi is limited in it's ability to contain manifestations such as you are finding now as it is based on cutting out of experience and not acceptance.

There is another fabrication of releasing the negative on the exhale and inhaling the positive on the inhale. I can see how this relates to your Tonglen practice however the secondary means employed with breathing meditation is releasing/calming the body on both the inhale and exhale. This is incredibly important as through calming the body the mind is calmed, through calming the mind concentration achieved, through concentration arises insight.

I do believe there is too much force and effort going into your meditation through these mental constructs you have paced around it. More of an open and balanced style of accepting/calming in your breathing meditation and less mental clutter would, in my opinion, be of benefit.

Warmly,

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

Marina_J

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2010, 12:40:16 PM »
A hypnic jerk, or hypnagogic massive jerk, usually occurs just as we are falling asleep. People often describe it as a falling sensation or an electric shock, and it is a completely normal experience. It most commonly occurs when sleeping uncomfortably or over-tired. There has been little research done on the subject, but there are some theories as to why hypnic jerks occur

Crystal Palace

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2010, 03:17:28 PM »
A hypnic jerk, or hypnagogic massive jerk, usually occurs just as we are falling asleep. People often describe it as a falling sensation or an electric shock, and it is a completely normal experience. It most commonly occurs when sleeping uncomfortably or over-tired. There has been little research done on the subject, but there are some theories as to why hypnic jerks occur

This probably happens when the mind calms down faster than the body. The body, unable to keep pace with which the mind has suddenly relaxed, probably jerks as reflex.

CP
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

alphawavedave

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2010, 03:34:01 PM »
Yeah I would be inclined to agree with Marina_J, I wouldn't read too much into this, it sounds rather like a reflex of some kind perhaps induced by the fact that you where quite close to sleep.

alphawavedave

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Re: Jerked out of my meditation.
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2010, 03:37:48 PM »
Here's a quote from wikipedia:

Quote
The neurological cause for hypnic jerks is not fully understood, although the two dominant theories suggest that as a subject's heartbeat and breathing slow down, hypnic jerks occur as a natural part of muscular transition;  or that as a subject falls asleep, his muscles begin to relax and cease working, causing the brain to believe that the body must be falling through air. It is thought that this causes people to thrash their limbs in an attempt to catch something or turn oneself upright.