sleepiness at meditation

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:50 pm

Hello, you guys! I learned vipassana last year and just practiced a few times and then gave up. Recently I am taking vipassana all over again, apart from the drowsiness I realize I don't have that "shaking" sensation any more. Is this okay? Am I making a progress or am I loosing my focus???
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby denice » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:22 pm

in my humble opinion ,you are bringing to much stress into your meditation ,meaning the worry you have over the sleepiness the breathing the focus ,i would suggest ,a shorter meditation period ,prior to actually hitting the cushion do a few deep breaths ,exhaling fully ,also make sure posture remains straight ,a tendancy to slump over happens and that leads to "sleep" acknowledge whatever "thoughts arise then let them go .even if you only try to meditate for 5 to 10 minutes at first .if you start to feel your self at the point of when this sleepiness is coming on ,that awareness can also bring you back .i had intial trouble with meditation 25 years ago ,before my actual buddhist practice ,when i only meditated for relaxation or with my yoga practice at the time .for me correcting my posture and keeping the mind body connection(quickly scanning my body during counting breath) eliminated that problem in 4 sittings .so four years later when i started my buddhist practice it wasnt an issue for me personally .how you approach the meditation is also key ( like i said if you are bringing the stress worry into it ) that in and of itself maybe causing the issue .
keeping the mind in perfect tranquility and free from any attachment to appearances."
"So I say to you -
This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:"
"Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream."
"So is all conditioned existence to be seen."
Thus spoke Buddha.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:54 pm

So, Denice may i ask you, if now I don't experience the "shaking" sensations I used to experience before in vipassana, is it correct? I mean, when I first worked on vipassana, I could feel my body "shake", and I could even feel that all the cells in the body are "moving" but I stopped and when I try to work on meditation lately I found that I cannot have the same experience any more. Does this mean a "regress"?
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby denice » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:27 pm

my answer would be a question ,how did you relate to the "shaking "meaning the end of the meditation that the shaking took place , ....what was the meaning to you ??
keeping the mind in perfect tranquility and free from any attachment to appearances."
"So I say to you -
This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:"
"Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream."
"So is all conditioned existence to be seen."
Thus spoke Buddha.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:45 pm

I don't know... I am just very confused... I heard some of my classmates have the same experience they could feel "shaking" and realize the body is formed by atoms....
As for me, I don't have that deep insight, I just felt the "shakings".... :shrug:
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby denice » Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:10 pm

Annicca ,i can only speak from my own experience & i do not tend to like to label things ,i posed the last question to you because ...as i said in my earlier post ( and i should preface this by saying i was a dance major and these were the 1980's before google :smile: ) so from years of dance practice a natural progression lead to yoga & then meditation ..after i corrected the issue in 4 sittings i had a profound experience ,during my meditation i got hot all over ,sweated,shaking ,felt every part of my body ( painfully aware) then crying (joyful) i had no idea what was going on & i tried to breathe through it all after that happened ,people i spoke to had different opinions some said wow you were so tense your body was just letting go ..others said it was negative energy being released ...proper chakra alignment ..demons leaving me ...my uncle who lived in australia at the time & considered (new age,as he practiced buddhism and meditation ) said i experienced kundalini.

some would say in vipassana to "breakthrough" the shaking would be progress ,some would say different . my opinion is to trust that what is happening (shaking or not shaking ) is a natural process unto you .be aware as the sensations happen ,say to your self i am shaking ..let it go.... i am hot ..let it go ..etc this is the mind body connection ,again you worry have you regressed .be mindful in your practice whatever practice it is ..watch it float past do not cling to it .this is the best answer i can give .
keeping the mind in perfect tranquility and free from any attachment to appearances."
"So I say to you -
This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:"
"Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream."
"So is all conditioned existence to be seen."
Thus spoke Buddha.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:12 am

Denice, thank you so much for your suggestions and also sangyey. I worked on meditation today and by following all the advice you are giving me, I think I am more relaxed although thoughts keep coming up all the time but I think the drowsiness has gone a little bit. But my "awareness" is constantly "missing", I mean, sometimes I am aware of the sensations but less than 1 min, my mind is gone again. It is very hard for me to be "AWARE", the only thing I can do for the moment is to bring myself back again and again and again whenever I find myself loose that awareness. I hope I am doing correctly...It's SO difficult for a beginner.... :emb:
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby denice » Sun Jul 24, 2011 2:24 am

Annicca wrote:Denice, thank you so much for your suggestions and also sangyey. I worked on meditation today and by following all the advice you are giving me, I think I am more relaxed although thoughts keep coming up all the time but I think the drowsiness has gone a little bit. But my "awareness" is constantly "missing", I mean, sometimes I am aware of the sensations but less than 1 min, my mind is gone again. It is very hard for me to be "AWARE", the only thing I can do for the moment is to bring myself back again and again and again whenever I find myself loose that awareness. I hope I am doing correctly...It's SO difficult for a beginner.... :emb:



Annicca thoughts will arise as i said acknowledge and release it ,or else you will be thinking and not meditating ,it is good that the drowsiness has subsided .again to point to what you said ,you worry and speak of difficulty this of course is arising in your own mind .for right now do not expect "no thoughts to arise "or "sensations/lack of sensations" .for lack of a better term just be ..within the meditation ,as i said on the previous post oftentimes labeling helps say for example all of a sudden you start thinking about some random thought that doesnt really pertain to your day to day life (bills,work,family) you can simply say thats unimportant /or nonsense(your labels) then let it go .also try and understand this is part of a process ,compassion for yourself is very important as well ...
keeping the mind in perfect tranquility and free from any attachment to appearances."
"So I say to you -
This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:"
"Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream."
"So is all conditioned existence to be seen."
Thus spoke Buddha.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby denice » Sun Jul 24, 2011 2:31 am

and by labeling i am not meaning attaching to the thought ...acknowledge and let it go ,hope this helps & remember compassion for yourself :smile:
keeping the mind in perfect tranquility and free from any attachment to appearances."
"So I say to you -
This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:"
"Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream."
"So is all conditioned existence to be seen."
Thus spoke Buddha.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby denice » Sun Jul 24, 2011 2:57 am

annicca ..it is the space between thoughts ..the thought comes acknowledge let it go (space) next thought arises acknowledge let it go (space) ...(space,space,space,space) that is where you want to be ,trying my best using this above to show that the more (space) = where you want to be (meditation)
keeping the mind in perfect tranquility and free from any attachment to appearances."
"So I say to you -
This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:"
"Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream."
"So is all conditioned existence to be seen."
Thus spoke Buddha.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Silent Forest » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:34 pm

My experience is that sleepiness often is caused by stress (or rather the suddenly removed stress). For me it helped a lot against the stress to frequently check my state (Breathing, Posture, Thoughts) during the day. This at the same time calms down the thoughts and makes the difference in “quietness” between normal state and meditation smaller. Additionally doing a cardio based sport helped me a lot.

Annicca wrote:those drifting thoughts....


Against the drifting thoughts it may help not to force your mind to stay quiet but just to let a thought come and go again without focusing on it, like a cloud passing by. After a while you´ll probably notice that the mind is getting more quiet without that you have to try to quiet it.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:43 pm

Dear all,

Tks a lot for your valuable advice. I'll get back to you when I am back home again. I am on a long trip. Will be back by end December.

See you soon!

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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby DarwidHalim » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:44 am

Annicca wrote:Recently I encounter sleepiness at meditation all the time. I try to do away with sleepiness by meditating on light and focus on my breathing, but this doesn't work out. I even sleep more to alleviate this problem, however it seems to improve in times and worsen in times... Also, my mind is drifting away all the time... I mean I just can't have good concentration lately. How can I solve this problem?
Should I continue with my practice? Or should I give up meditation for a while?


It depends on many factors. Since you have slept enough, probably you need to see your posture. Your back bone has to be straight.

Open your eyes. It can be half open or fully open. if you heard open eyes meditation is wrong, then it is better you dont listen to them. It can be done both, open and close eyes. The key is to stay awake, not open or close the eyes.

DO you eat garlic or not? If yes, try not to eat it and you will surpise with the clarity of your mind.

The timing is also crucial. Meditating at 11 am can be more difficult than meditation at 6 am. The reason is due to our blood circulation.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Virgo » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:54 am

Annicca wrote:Hello, you guys! I learned vipassana last year and just practiced a few times and then gave up. Recently I am taking vipassana all over again, apart from the drowsiness I realize I don't have that "shaking" sensation any more. Is this okay? Am I making a progress or am I loosing my focus???

What the heck is vipassana?

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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby nirmal » Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:58 pm

denice wrote: ..others said it was negative energy being released ...proper chakra alignment ..demons leaving me .

(shaking or not shaking ) is a natural process unto you .be aware as the sensations happen ,say to your self i am shaking ..let it go.... i am hot ..let it go


We cannot meditate if our body keeps shaking.It is a natural process but what you said is correct in the sense that it is a mind body connection.Before meditation we should tell our mind that we do not want to shake or keep moving from side to side(in most cases). That will stop the shaking.

Then there is another kind of sudden shake or jerk, like getting a fright.This sudden fright or a quick shiver is experienced when we have the natural ability to shake off negative energy(chi) from our body.It comes naturally to some. Before this quick shiver, our body experiences very strong sensations which explode resulting in that quick shiver lasting for a second or two.This kind of shiver or shake is very good.
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