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Experiencing an alterned state? - Dhamma Wheel

Experiencing an alterned state?

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

Postby Digity » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:14 am

I've had some pretty interesting experiences last two days meditating. I'm getting into this state where I'm feeling a bit removed from the body or something. My arms and hands will feel heavy and numb like they can't move, but I feel fairly relaxed throughout. I still have thoughts arising, etc, but I'm not being too pulled in by them. For the most part I'm able to be with the in and out breath...although, I'm still following thoughts. They just don't have the same pull as before. Anyway, once the meditation is over I feel like I'm leaving some sort of state and coming back to my normal state of mind. I don't know what to make of this. It feels good and I'm left feeling calm and centered, but it's also a bit weird/trippy. What's that all about?

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mikenz66
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:56 am

Hi Dignity,

Can you tell us what your general approach is? It's not easy to comment helpfully without knowing what you are trying to do.

:anjali:
Mike

Digity
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby Digity » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:11 am

Nothing special about my technique. I'm just doing breath meditation but I've been falling into this state somewhat quickly. I wonder if it's access concentration. I feel very focused and sensations in my body like itching and pain are faint and don't bother me. It feels wholesome, but it's weird when the bell rang it's almost like I had to shake myself out the state I was in and back into my normal state. Afterwards I feel very calm, even in social situations, which in the past have caused me a lot of anxiety.

I'm not complaining, it's very nice and all. Previous to this I was on a huge dry spell where every time I sat it was a pain trying to bring myself back to the breath. This lasted weeks and weeks. Now I'm able to focus with more ease. Although, I wouldn't be surprised to fall back to my old ways.

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mikenz66
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:25 am

Hmm, but do you do breath meditation with an emphasis on achieving very deep and calm states (e.g. Ajahn Brahm, Pa Auk Sayadaw), where when something other than the awareness of the breath arises you dismiss it and return to the breath, or more of an insight emphasis, where you focus on those other things (feelings, thoughts, etc) that arise while watching the breath (more typical of the likes of Bhante Gunaratana, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Mahasi Sayadaw, and numerous other teachers).

:anjali:
Mike

Digity
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby Digity » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:36 am

Yes, I breath with the emphasis of developing deep calm and concentration. I do try to come back to the breath when other things arise. I don't follow any specific teacher's technique. I just follow the in and out breath like probably most people do.

This state comes up on its own. It's not like I'm trying to achieve it or anything. I just sit and follow the breath and let things unfold as they may. That's my general attitude when I sit.

The weird part was when the meditation ended and I felt like I had to shake myself out of my state and come back to my normal state. That slightly scared me...it was just different. I felt my conscious awareness sort of drop out of the concentration and into my usual mode. The sensation of that happening was a little trippy.

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fig tree
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby fig tree » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:38 am


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Mkoll
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby Mkoll » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:49 am

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

Digity
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby Digity » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:59 am

I get the sense that I could sit in that state for a while. Not sure about hours, since I've never sat that long, but it wouldn't surprise me if I went over an hour. When the bell rang I didn't 't want to stop, but did anyway. I don't want to get too attached to this experience and try to chase after it later. I just decided to let go and end the meditation.

I think the one thing I'm doing now that's different is that I'm breathing in a more relaxed way and it's quite soothing. My breathing before was very coarse. I'm not going to try and think too much about how I bring this state up, because I feel then like I'll get into "chase" mode...trying to repeat the experience. To me that's just bad news. My attitude is whatever happens next time, happens. If I go back to coarse breathing then I 'll just keep at it and calm the breath.

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kmath
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby kmath » Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:10 am


Digity
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby Digity » Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:37 am

I'll keep the torpor thing in mind for next time I sit. Although, I was aware of this a bit during my sit. I felt the desire to just zone out into that numbed, calm feeling I had, but then focused back on my meditation object.

Do you think I was going into a sleep state? I felt awake.

Also, the other interesting thing is I had zero desire to move. My body just become numb and it felt like it would have been more effort to move than to not move. It reminded me of sleep paralysis which I've experienced before. However, I wasn't sleepy when I was meditating.

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mikenz66
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:17 am

As has been pointed out, beware of sloth and torpor. In the context of the five faculties, this sort of zoned-out feeling can happen when you don't have enough mindfulness and/or you have an imbalance of concentration and energy (i.e. too much concentration, too little energy). A common way to raise the energy is by doing some standing or walking meditation.

See, for example:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#ch2.5
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=16414
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14382

:anjali:
Mike

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kmath
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby kmath » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:28 am


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PsychedelicSunSet
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:33 am


Digity
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby Digity » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:49 am

Yeah, I read the article too and I think what I experienced was a form of delusion concentration. At least there was some element of concentration to it....albeit wrong.

I have had moments of that full body awareness with the breath. I do love that experience and it feels quite wholesome. Although, it seems to happen very rarely for me and not for very long. I imagine as my concentration improves I'll experience it more. Anyway, I guess the take away is that there are good and bad forms of concentration and one should not get stuck on the wrong ones.

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fig tree
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Re: Experiencing an alterned state?

Postby fig tree » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:37 am



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