Physical (brain) effects from meditation

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

Physical (brain) effects from meditation

Postby Moog » Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:11 pm

Hi everyone. I was wondering if anyone else had an experience like this, or insight into what it might be.

When I meditate, I often get a funny tingly feeling in my head. Specifically, In the front of my head. It feels like a little tingly sphere embedded in there. When I get into a deep meditation, the feeling then spreads down the sides/underside of the inside of my head.

It feels quite nice, but I am wondering.

Cheers.
User avatar
Moog
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:32 pm

Re: Physical (brain) effects from meditation

Postby IanAnd » Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:55 pm

That's a common sensation experienced by meditators the world over. Nothing to be concerned about. I equate it with unification of the mind on the object of meditation, as the mind calms down and is then able to focus on the object with greater and greater clarity. This is just my own personal opinion. The opinions of others on this may differ, depending upon how their minds have been conditioned.

You can use that sensation to take you deeper into concentration states, like jhana.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
User avatar
IanAnd
 
Posts: 399
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Re: Physical (brain) effects from meditation

Postby Moog » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:45 pm

Hi IanAnd, thanks very much! I take this to be a sign of concentrated-ness (it really doesn't seem to be a coincidence that it kicks off when I focus my mind), though I've never heard any teacher mention this phenomenon.

Could you give any more clues about how to use this to get to Jahna? That would be fantastic!

Be well!
User avatar
Moog
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:32 pm

Re: Physical (brain) effects from meditation

Postby IanAnd » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:27 am

Hi Moog,
Moog wrote:Hi IanAnd, thanks very much! I take this to be a sign of concentrated-ness (it really doesn't seem to be a coincidence that it kicks off when I focus my mind), though I've never heard any teacher mention this phenomenon.

If you hang out on Buddhist fora like this you should run into more and more people who have experienced this kind of sensation, like you. That's good that you view this sensation as a "sign of concentratedness" (this is how I have always viewed it too) as it will be easier for you to use this sensation as the focus of a nimitta or sign. That concentrated feeling of mind, which is accompanied by the experience of stronger concentration, means that you have achieved samadhi. Congratulations!

Moog wrote:Could you give any more clues about how to use this to get to Jahna? That would be fantastic!

You must be a female (or at least that's how your response struck me; it's helpful for me to know these things when responding to people's comments). If so, you may find this (learning the practice of jhana) easier to accomplish than most males. That's because most females have a closer connection with their intuition than most males do. Doesn't always work out that way, but on average it pretty much holds true from my experience. Intuition can play a pivotal role in learning the practice of jhana.

One of the first bits of instruction I came across several years ago were some tips by the practitioner and teacher Leigh Brasington. The way Leigh teaches the jhanas is that he gets you to stay with the primary object (in my case, the sensation of the breath at the nostrils) until you can sense a pleasant physical sensation somewhere in the body. Then you switch your focus to enjoying that sensation until it expands and tips you into the first jhana. You can learn more about this at the link to his website above.

I've written about this practice elsewhere. You can find some helpful hints in The General, All Purpose Jhana Thread in another forum. Enjoy.

All the best,
Ian
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
User avatar
IanAnd
 
Posts: 399
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Re: Physical (brain) effects from meditation

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:48 am

Thank you Ian, for the link to that Dharma Overground to0pic on jhana. :anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
User avatar
Modus.Ponens
 
Posts: 2058
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Gallifrey

Re: Physical (brain) effects from meditation

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:50 am

Hi Moog,
IanAnd wrote:If you hang out on Buddhist fora like this you should run into more and more people who have experienced this kind of sensation, like you. ...

Yes, as Ian says, this sort of thing seems to be relatively common, but I guess manifests in different people in slightly different ways. Which may be why you don't hear many teachers talking about it too explicitly, since the last thing they want to do is plant the idea that you should be searching for some particular sensation.
My experience is that I go to my teachers and report some sensation, etc, often as a question: "Am I imagining this?" and they confirm it and give some advice (as Ian has). Then I can carry on...

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10561
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Physical (brain) effects from meditation

Postby Moog » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:58 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Moog,
IanAnd wrote:If you hang out on Buddhist fora like this you should run into more and more people who have experienced this kind of sensation, like you. ...

Yes, as Ian says, this sort of thing seems to be relatively common, but I guess manifests in different people in slightly different ways. Which may be why you don't hear many teachers talking about it too explicitly, since the last thing they want to do is plant the idea that you should be searching for some particular sensation.
My experience is that I go to my teachers and report some sensation, etc, often as a question: "Am I imagining this?" and they confirm it and give some advice (as Ian has). Then I can carry on...

:anjali:
Mike


That makes sense to me. I'm glad I could come here to confirm my experience. Thanks!

:anjali:
User avatar
Moog
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:32 pm

Re: Physical (brain) effects from meditation

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:06 am

You're welcome. Personally I think it is really useful to ask a specific question, like you have, which allows people to respond from their experience. People sometimes seem to want to ask very general, basically unanswerable, or tedious to answer, questions, rather than say what they actually experience. If you'd asked "Does anyone get any strange sensations when meditating?", I don't think you'd get such a useful responses as Ian's.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10561
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Physical (brain) effects from meditation

Postby Moog » Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:14 am

IanAnd wrote:Hi Moog,
Moog wrote:Hi IanAnd, thanks very much! I take this to be a sign of concentrated-ness (it really doesn't seem to be a coincidence that it kicks off when I focus my mind), though I've never heard any teacher mention this phenomenon.

If you hang out on Buddhist fora like this you should run into more and more people who have experienced this kind of sensation, like you. That's good that you view this sensation as a "sign of concentratedness" (this is how I have always viewed it too) as it will be easier for you to use this sensation as the focus of a nimitta or sign. That concentrated feeling of mind, which is accompanied by the experience of stronger concentration, means that you have achieved samadhi. Congratulations!


Sweet! Thank you :twothumbsup:

Moog wrote:Could you give any more clues about how to use this to get to Jahna? That would be fantastic!

You must be a female (or at least that's how your response struck me; it's helpful for me to know these things when responding to people's comments). If so, you may find this (learning the practice of jhana) easier to accomplish than most males. That's because most females have a closer connection with their intuition than most males do. Doesn't always work out that way, but on average it pretty much holds true from my experience. Intuition can play a pivotal role in learning the practice of jhana.


Thank you, but I'm male! I am often mistaken for female on forums. I suppose I do have a 'right brained' style, and a reasonably developed intuitive sense.

One of the first bits of instruction I came across several years ago were some tips by the practitioner and teacher Leigh Brasington. The way Leigh teaches the jhanas is that he gets you to stay with the primary object (in my case, the sensation of the breath at the nostrils) until you can sense a pleasant physical sensation somewhere in the body. Then you switch your focus to enjoying that sensation until it expands and tips you into the first jhana. You can learn more about this at the link to his website above.


That's great, thanks! I usually focus on what I've heard called the annapanasati 'spot' and keep my attention there, but perhaps shifting my attention to this sensation would be a good thing to try.

I've written about this practice elsewhere. You can find some helpful hints in The General, All Purpose Jhana Thread in another forum. Enjoy.

All the best,
Ian


I've lurked a little bit on the Dharma Underground, and I've read Daniel's book (well, large chunks of it). Actually, it was that book that really got me going with a proper practice. But I always thought those guys were a bit advanced for me!

I've some more questions about this Jhana business, but I think I'll look at these sites before I pose them.

Thank you for the guidance!

All the best to you!
User avatar
Moog
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:32 pm

Re: Physical (brain) effects from meditation

Postby Calahand » Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:29 am

females have more intuition than males? sounds like a lot of "HOOPLA"... :tongue:

and as for "feeling stuff" in the brain? i don't know dude...it doesn't seem right, i am just saying that because i never felt it myself... if its pleasant... who cares what it is, yes?
Calahand
 
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:15 pm

Re: Physical (brain) effects from meditation

Postby Nibbida » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:11 pm

Actually the sensation isn't in the brain itself, which has no sensory receptors. We can only sense things in skin, muscle, etc. and the coverings of the brain. It might feel like it's deep in the head, but that's not where it's coming from. It's like when you listen to music on headphones and it sounds like the music is in the center of your head. :-)
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

Facebook Meditation Page: http://snurl.com/yoga9vipassana
User avatar
Nibbida
 
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 3:44 am


Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests