Strange Sensation while Meditating

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Strange Sensation while Meditating

Postby Dallas » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:58 pm

Hi everyone. I have been meditating frequently for a few months now, and recently my meditation has hanged somehow, and I'm a bit confused. I've never had a formal teacher, so I have no one to go to for guidance right now.

Meditation generally consists of sitting in lotus position, and focusing my mind on my breath. Usually on the rising and falling of my abdomen, sometimes on my nostrils, and recently sometimes on the breathing like a river. With each breath I will follow the path of the breath in and out, and during the pause between breaths I will pay attention to my posture. For the past several days when I have done this for a length of time (probably around 30 min or more), my body begins to feel very strange. Most physical sensation ceases or becomes dulled, and it feels like a very long long way from my head to my legs, as if the space has stretched out in a way, although it's hard to describe. At this point, it becomes increasingly hard to focus on my breath, as I can barely sense it, if at all. I know I am still breathing when I open my eyes to see, but I can no longer focus on it as there is nothing my mind can register as a sense object.

During this time, feelings will begin to arise, such as fear and elation. I don't cling to them, but they are becoming distracting more and more as it becomes less and less sense objects for my mind to focus on.

I am unsure if this is normal to occur, and what I should do. I don't know if perhaps I need to find another meditation or if this is natural and I am just unaware of what to do next, so I come here to ask for your guidance.

Metta,
Dallas
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Re: Strange Sensation while Meditating

Postby marc108 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:20 pm

Hi Dallas :)

RE: the strange sensations:

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe10.html
Problem 3
Odd Sensations

People experience all manner of varied phenomena in meditation. Some people get itches. Others feel tingling, deep relaxation, a feeling of lightness or a floating sensation. You may feel yourself growing or shrinking or rising up in the air. Beginners often get quite excited over such sensations. As relaxation sets in, the nervous system simply begins to pass sensory signals more efficiently. Large amounts of previously blocked sensory data can pour through, giving rise to all manner of unique sensations. It does not signify anything in particular. It is just sensation. So simply employ the normal technique. Watch it come up and watch it pass away. Don't get involved.


RE: breath sensations disappearing:

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe5-6.html
When the grossness of your in-and-out breathing has ceased, subtle in-and-out breathing arises. This very subtle breath is your objective focus of the mind. This is the sign of concentration. This first appearance of a sign-object will be replaced by more and more subtle sign-object. This subtlety of the sign can be compared to the sound of a bell. When a bell is struck with a big iron rod, you hear a gross sound at first. As the sound faces away, the sound becomes very subtle. Similarly the in-and-out breath appears at first as a gross sign. As you keep paying bare attention to it, this sign becomes very subtle. But the consciousness remains totally focused on the rims of the nostrils. Other meditation objects become clearer and clearer, as the sign develops. But the breath becomes subtler and subtler as the sign develops. Because of this subtlety, you may not notice the presence of your breath. Don't get disappointed thinking that you lost your breath or that nothing is happening to your meditation practice. Don't worry. Be mindful and determined to bring your feeling of breath back to the rims of your nostrils. This is the time you should practice more vigorously, balancing your energy, faith, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom.



i would actually suggest, at this point, that you read through a meditation manual or two. my favorites are:

Mindfulness In Plain English - Bhante Gunaratana
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html

Meditation: A Way of Awakening - Ajahn Sucitto
http://forestsanghapublications.org/vie ... 12&ref=vec
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Strange Sensation while Meditating

Postby Dallas » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:11 pm

Many thanks for your reply. My education so far has been piecemeal, and I've focused more on meditating than on the reading bits, since it's all been very confusing with so many different traditions and teachings. The only book I've read so far is The Buddha and His Dhamma, by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Other than that it's been articles online.

Realizing now I need a little more than just diving in and sitting. I'm headed to Thailand to live in 2 days so those books will be absorbed during the long international flight. If you have any others to recommend, for when I finish those, feel free to list them. Thank you for your guidance :namaste:
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Re: Strange Sensation while Meditating

Postby marc108 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:27 pm

Dallas wrote:...


my suggestion would be to read them over! especially Mindfulness In Plain English... it's really VERY thorough. you could also read MN118 and listen to Bhikkhu Bodhi's commentary which is really excellent.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic- ... ikaya.html
(Scroll to the 3rd section, Mindfulness of breathing... you can click each session, then there is a download link on the player)

another excellent manual: Mindfulness Bliss & Beyond - Ajahn Brahm
http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books11/Ajah ... ers1-5.pdf


These books all present different methods for Anapanasati, which can be somewhat confusing. I would just pick whatever seems closest to what you're doing already as it seems to be working for you.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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