Fainted during meditation

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Fainted during meditation

Postby Mac1436umb » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:03 pm

Hello,
I recently fainted during a meditation class at my local Buddhist centre - I wondered if anyone else had had this experience or anyone's thoughts?
Whilst in a sitting position i remember focusing on my heart and feeling it beat, strangely this felt overwhelming and then I became dizzy and passed out. I recall feeling quite hot although the room was not particularly warm nor had i joined the class on an empty stomach etc. i awoke on the floor with the meditation teacher asking me if I was ok. I couldn't figure out how long I had fainted and it took me a couple of seconds to figure out where I was on awaking.
Although my mind cannot recall the experience, on awaking it was blissful if not somewhat alarming! I wondered if I may have experienced pure consciousness as the awaking experience was so blissful. The teacher said that sometimes the breathing can slow down and one can be overwhelmed by emotion, possibly that caused me to faint.
All in all a strange experience as it wasn't the first time I had meditated and I'm somewhat confused as I dont have any medical problems that I am aware of.
Do you think that I may have experienced pure consciousness and is fainting during yoga normal?
Thanks
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Re: Fainted during meditation

Postby Jesse » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:46 pm

I'm not sure why you fainted, but focusing on your heart / heart beat while meditating can make you euphoric / blissful. All sorts of things can happen when meditating in general. I've never heard of fainting from meditating, so perhaps it is a medical thing. I'd see a doctor anyway.
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Re: Fainted during meditation

Postby kirtu » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:56 am

I'd see a doctor too. Actually fainting during meditation is uncommon but not unheard of. Meditating on a chakra point or an acupuncture point will cause chi flow to change. This includes Zen meditation with focus on the hara. During two seshin I had experiences where my heart raced and I got flushed and another where I did get dizzy. These are usually just chi flow changing in the body (although that was not an explanation given by the teacher leading the seshin at the time). I dealt with it by doing the Taoist meditation I had been taught.

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Re: Fainted during meditation

Postby Mac1436umb » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:48 pm

Hi kirt, this was exactly what I was doing, focussing on the heart (maybe I shouldn't have been doing this). Can the change in the flow of chi have negative effects? Do you think the fainting was necessarily a bad thing?
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Re: Fainted during meditation

Postby catmoon » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:54 pm

It seems very possible that careful focus on the heartbeat could lead to a very slow heartbeat, a drastic drop in blood pressure and fainting. It has long been well established that the yogis who stop their heart are actually inducing fibrillation. If that is possible, why not the opposite?

Oh course if it's more health related, then it could be a very serious problem indeed.
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Re: Fainted during meditation

Postby kirtu » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:23 am

Mac1436umb wrote:Hi kirt, this was exactly what I was doing, focussing on the heart (maybe I shouldn't have been doing this). Can the change in the flow of chi have negative effects? Do you think the fainting was necessarily a bad thing?


I think Catmoon is correct on a physical level - the mind is very powerful and you can significantly lower your heart rate and blood pressure by meditation on points in the body (actually when I was a young teenager I lowered my heart rate to an extreme level - it scared me it was so low!). My former Taoist teacher said explicitly to not meditate on any of the points he taught except the way he taught. Tibetan Buddhism and Zen Buddhism do not use these points because the objectives are different. However kundalini meditation or other meditation do use the heart center directly. If you do not have a teacher instructing you to meditate on the heart area I wouldn't do this. It's not that TB, for example, *does not* use these points exactly but meditation on them isn't extended (although perhaps some TBist yogis *do*). The Taosit view on meditation on specific points is that indeed chi flow is definitely changed. This is not always good. A student of my former Taoist teacher's teacher meditated incorrectly and extendly on a particular point in the head and went temporarily blind (temporarily for several days - when he began to recover he saw everything in black and white and gradually recovered normal sight). The Taoist Master in Taiwan had warned him not to do this. So I would not meditate on points in the body without direct instruction.

If you want, I can give you the instructions on how to normalize chi flow *if necessary* during meditation (I can give the outer form but not the practice in detail) although usually the best thing is to just stop and get up slowly and walk around (and vigorously rub your head, arms,legs and torso). But I would see a doctor and make sure nothing is wrong. I did not do that after the two sesshin I was talking about because I could clearly eliminate the experiences by doing the Taoist mediation I was taught in a couple of sessions, so there was clearly not a physical problem and what I experienced was just a result of chi flow.

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