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Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments. - Dhamma Wheel

Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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mpcahn
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Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

Postby mpcahn » Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:54 am

During my meditation tonight I experienced a very strange thing happening to my senses and perception. I was focused on the breath but it felt like my kinesthetic and auditory experience went through a wormhole of some sort. There was an experience of myself shrinking then getting emptied, it is difficult to describe. At the end I was still focused on the breath but my experience of the breath in the body felt ghost-like. I stayed with this feeling for about five minutes then got up. Has anyone else had an experience like this?
is the mind us? Is it ours? Slash on down! Whatever is going to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. We feel no regrets. We want only the truth. (Ajahn Maha Boowa)

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retrofuturist
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Re: Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:12 am

Greetings,

A few possibilities...

- Your imagination... sitting there observing the breath, sometimes it's more interesting to create mind-movies than stay with the intended object of meditation

- Sensory deprivation... the mind is used to concentrating on something - in the absence of external stimuli, sometimes it may create its own

- Losing bearings... focusing on an object of meditation to the exclusion of other senses can result in a degree of disorientation, which can be experienced or interpreted in different ways.

The standard caveats apply...

- If you have a flesh-and-blood teacher, speak to them and seek their guidance

- Try not to make a big deal out of what's happened... just see it as phenomena, which like all phenomena, are anatta (not-self), anicca (impermanent) and dukkha (unsatisfactory)

Good luck.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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mpcahn
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Re: Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

Postby mpcahn » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:44 am

Thanks, I'd say it was the second, I felt that I went deeper than I ever had so there were made up perceptions and my mind made a story about them. I will continue meditating and hopefully I will be able to get used to dropping into this state.
is the mind us? Is it ours? Slash on down! Whatever is going to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. We feel no regrets. We want only the truth. (Ajahn Maha Boowa)

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rowboat
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Re: Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

Postby rowboat » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:33 am

Many years ago, at the end of several days that turned into night, which then bled into the morning, I sat persistent in meditation, watching the breath, with a stable rock-like concentration until i arrived at a sort of strange peak experience whereby this new sudden sensation was of a rope of energy being pulled or emptied through the crown of my head, while internally i watched the pouring or shimmering movement of a wide water-like dark grey and silver 'veil'. It went on like that for some time and when it stopped I had to open my eyes for the first time in many hours - because I now felt totally emptied of all bodily sensations - so much so that right away I passed my arm in front of me, not at all sure i would even see it. It's funny, I know. My arm almost like a small cushion in zero gravity floating past a camera on the space shuttle.

:broke:

The next morning I noticed right away how I felt really quite terrible, like each part of my entire body was full of weariness and a sense of discomfort. Something else that I noticed, for a few weeks following the odd experience that night, I'd find myself walking and looking at the face of a random stranger and being able to see something which I can only describe as seeming like ancient pain.

A few years ago, just as friends, I told my wonderful former therapist, who is also a devout Buddhist, about the peak experience, the sense of emptiness and the arm check, and i went into special detail about the awful feeling the next morning. She made a face in sympathy and said, "That's never how I feel. I always feel really light and energized and happy the next morning after meditation!

I told her that's because you're doing it wrong and we both had a good laugh.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

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octathlon
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Re: Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

Postby octathlon » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:52 pm

My take on it is: We maintain a mental body image that we are constantly reinforcing all the time, from all the sensory inputs we have, mainly from the body's nervous system and visual input. This process is a big factor in reinforcing the sense of self.

While meditating once we focus well enough on the object, those other inputs are being ignored (partially or completely turned off) but the mental process of forming a body image continues (with even better concentration that process may be stopped as well). So all kinds of distortions in the mental body image can occur when it is not getting the usual input and it starts making stuff up to fill in the gaps.

TmoonII
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Re: Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

Postby TmoonII » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:43 pm

My comments are questions. I believe any answer is found with meditation on the question from the meditation.

What was the first thing you wanted after this experience? Was it to find someone who had the same experience or have the same experience again? Was it merely physical or emotional?

peace.

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manas
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Re: Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

Postby manas » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:24 am

Man, I love reading about all these amazing meditation experiences. All I seem to experience these days is this mind and body - just that. I'm really in 'earthworm territory'. :P But, do keep it coming, it's inspiring to read about the heights that some meditators get to scale.
:namaste:
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Ben
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Re: Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:31 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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manas
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Re: Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

Postby manas » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:11 am

Last edited by manas on Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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rowboat
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Re: Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

Postby rowboat » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:19 am

I don't know anything about whether what I shared is lofty or exotic. Please remember this is a place to share questions and experiences with our meditation. I should admit that for a few years after 1994 i had all sorts of odd conjectures about my strange experience. I didn't have any understanding of the dhamma to speak of. I think i had only read the Christmas Humphreys book and some DT Suzuki. But I had this book by Krishnamurti called The Wholeness of Life containing a transcription of a lengthy discussion between Krishnamurti, the physicist David Bohm, and the psychiatrist David Shainberg.

As I said earlier, at the time I was resolved to sit with real viriya and determination. Sitting very still while reading through the book i stopped at a term I didn't understand. The observer is the observed. I was already still and I wasn't going anywhere, so I remained with the question for a few minutes until the moment i got it. The observer is the observed - it turns the beam of awareness back onto itself. Right then i felt something very different in the head. Like a small ball of tangible energy. I was very curious about this new thing. This is when i started watching the mind. That first night I sat for many hours observing the way the changes in my attention influenced the sense of size, weight, brightness, of this new condition. Before i finally stopped and laid down i'd begun to watch my breathing, not knowing about anapanasati. I was really surprised at how it seemed for a long time that i wasn't breathing at all.

That was a long time ago. I should say that it's been only in recent years that ive started to look closely at the dhamma. I believe the dhamma is a gift of incalculable value. Today i don't give much importance to the experience i described.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

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octathlon
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Re: Weird perceptions arising in my meditation, any comments.

Postby octathlon » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:20 pm



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