I'm not sure if I've shared this before, but this isn't the first time I've had this curious experience and I thought I should share it to see what I could do to improve my practice: really I'm after advice about what I should keep doing/stop doing or what I could do to make my meditation sessions more productive.
So basically I hadn't meditated for over a month (very busy with the teacher training... I've found it hard to find the time). This morning I sat in a quiet corner of the library and decided to sit for about half an hour. I didn't have long, but I wanted to take the opportunity to restart my sitting practice. I tried to follow the instructions I'd been taught from teachers at the local Buddhist centre and also things I have read in books and online.
I sat, straight backed, well supported bottom, stable, still. My eyes were closed, I tried to relax my body at first because I'd been running around. Then I began to 'scan' my body. I started from the top of my head and worked my way down, feeling where contact was made with my skin. When I reached my toes I went back up again. I repeated this. Then I began to scan my body again but this time trying to decide if the contact sensation was pleasureable, plainful or neither. Again, I did this a couple of times. Then I decided to explore how I felt that that moment. I analysed my emotions, not judging them, just trying to bring them to the front of my mind.
Then I began breathing in and out (not that I'd not been breathing before, but I drew my awareness to it) and counting. An in breath, an out breath, one. An in breath, an out breath, two. An in breath, an out breath, three. I did this up to ten, then started from one again. I noticed just how much my mind wandered into memories, imagination... anything! I kept bringing my attention back to my breathing. After maybe 5 or 10 minutes (hard to tell when you have your eyes closed) I began counting first and then breathing, so: One, breath in, breath out. Two, breath in, breath out. Three, breath in, breath out... up to ten. After the same amount of time as before, I stopped counting and tried to just be aware of the breathing without the numbers. My mind still wandered, and I kept bringing it back. At this stage, I began to notice a strange feeling.
The feeling is what I want to ask about really, I'm not sure what to make of it.
The feeling seemed to come in two parts. The first part was the sensation that my hands were very far away from my head. It felt as though my hands were getting further and further away... as though my body and arms were being stretched. I think I'd simply lost awareness of where my limbs were (I can't remember the name of that sense). It was a very curious feeling and slightly distracting from the breath.
The second part was a brilliant feeling. It's hard to describe, maybe excitement? Joy? Happiness? ... maybe more on the excitement side of things... hard to pin down. Trying to be as grown up as I can about this: it sort of felt like the mental component to an orgasm. It is hard to explain I think without sounding like an idiot (sorry!).
I tried to continue following the meditation instructions by concentrating on the feeling of the air moving in and out of my nostrils... but I was rather distracted having to bring my attention back to the feeling and away from the euphoric sense my mind was creating.
So, after about half an hour in total, I gently came out of the experience and wondered what to make of it.
Now, obviously I know I don't want to read too much into what is probably just more constructs of my own mind being a pain. I just don't really know what to do about this.
When I sit tomorrow, what do you think would be the best way to deal with these two (possibly related) feelings that arose last time? Hmmm, clumsy English, sorry if I'm not clear, I'm a bit tired.
Thank you, kind Dhammawheel people