Tight pressure in head

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
Post Reply
Schuberty
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:09 pm

Tight pressure in head

Post by Schuberty »

Recently i switched from awareness of object to awareness of awareness meditation. I’ve also started sitting in open awareness, looking in space, being aware of space around me in my room and expanding it. While sitting, there was an experience of pressure in my eyes and in my head. Whenever i sit, there is a sensation of itchiness all over my head and tingling sensation on the crown. Sometimes the right side of my body heats up and my ear feels hot. Most of the time i feel this tight pressure in my head, sometime even when i’m not sitting. Is it normal?
And what do you when you get frustrated with your practice? Like when you sit but can’t concentrate nor maintain awareness and you feel like you’ve wasted your day.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
Posts: 5286
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

When you feel like after trying to meditate that you have wasted your time, it means that you’ve had some goal in mind, that with meditation you are trying to get something.
Sitting meditation should just be sitting.
It should be seen as the opposite of trying to get something. Just sit and watch.

The other problem might be eye fatigue related to over use of your peripheral vision. Being aware of all that space around you, that’s a lot to take in, compared with just gazing down off the top of your nose or whatever.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
Schuberty
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:09 pm

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Schuberty »

Thank you. I suspect i may be straining my eyes too hard.
Is open awareness meditation Dzogchen? Am i being too forward in practicing it? I learned the technique from Mingyur Rinpoche in Youtube. All these time i thought it was the object i should be focusing my awareness on. Even when Mingyur Rinpoche first started meditating he thought it was the object that was important. Only recently i realized it was the awareness, “awareness is the essence of meditation.” I’ve been sitting on and off for nearly a year now.
Also Mingyur Rinpoche talks of short time many times. It seems like at first we’re not able to be aware of our awareness for a long time. It lasts a second and our awareness shifts back to the object. What i want to ask is do i have to sit on my cushion for short time many times to practice recognizing awareness? Can i do it lying down or staring at my phone? Is it any effective?
What about the crawling sensation on my head and the tingling on my crown? Is it what they call Kundalini?

Is open awareness meditation and awareness of awareness meditation same?
Last edited by Schuberty on Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Malcolm
Posts: 35524
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Malcolm »

Schuberty wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:10 pm Thank you. I suspect i may be straining my eyes too hard.
Is open awareness meditation Dzogchen?
No. Definitely not, nor is so-called "awareness of awareness."
"Conceptuality is great ignorance,
causing one to fall into the ocean of samsāra."
—Māyājālamahātantra
User avatar
Matt J
Posts: 1209
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Matt J »

I doubt it is anything to do with kundalini. Sounds like you may be trying too hard to me and using a lot of intention which is introducing tension into the body. Or getting qi stuck in the head, which is also not good.

If you're following Mingyur Rinpoche, you might want to take advantage of the Joy of Living course where you can get teachings and discuss with his senior students/instructors. His methods are done in a very relaxed way.
Schuberty wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:10 pm What about the crawling sensation on my head and the tingling on my crown? Is it what they call Kundalini?
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
avatamsaka3
Posts: 834
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Whenever i sit, there is a sensation of itchiness all over my head and tingling sensation on the crown.
I've been experiencing the same thing. Try a colloidal oatmeal bath. Make sure to grind up the oats. Also, you can ask someone to put itch cream where you have any bites or rashes (separately).
Schuberty
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:09 pm

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Schuberty »

Thank you all for the response.
avatamsaka3 wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:39 am

I've been experiencing the same thing. Try a colloidal oatmeal bath. Make sure to grind up the oats. Also, you can ask someone to put itch cream where you have any bites or rashes (separately).
Is the symptom physical? I never experienced the crawling tingling sensation before. Only when i started practicing open awareness meditation.
Schuberty
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:09 pm

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Schuberty »

:anjali:
Last edited by Schuberty on Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Schuberty
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:09 pm

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Schuberty »


No. Definitely not, nor is so-called "awareness of awareness."
Is that ‘Awarenss’ what they call the
‘Unchanging, unborn, deathless one?
Last edited by Schuberty on Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Schuberty
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:09 pm

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Schuberty »

Before i was content just to sit like a big fool focusing my awareness on an object. Ever since I recognized awareness behind everything, my sitting practice has become labored. Now there’s a constant chatter in my head and constant searching to connect with my awareness, “Awareness! Awareness of awareness! No, this is not it! Yes this is it! Is this it?”
It feels like a big task to connect with my awareness, again and again, although MR says awareness is right there! Sometimes I can’t seem to connect or recognize at all. So there is this state of constant searching and ploughing. Is this natural?
Also Joy of Living Level costs money right?
Last edited by Schuberty on Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
xabir
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:14 pm

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by xabir »

Schuberty wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 6:49 pm Recently i switched from awareness of object to awareness of awareness meditation. I’ve also started sitting in open awareness, looking in space, being aware of space around me in my room and expanding it. While sitting, there was an experience of pressure in my eyes and in my head. Whenever i sit, there is a sensation of itchiness all over my head and tingling sensation on the crown. Sometimes the right side of my body heats up and my ear feels hot. Most of the time i feel this tight pressure in my head, sometime even when i’m not sitting. Is it normal?
And what do you when you get frustrated with your practice? Like when you sit but can’t concentrate nor maintain awareness and you feel like you’ve wasted your day.
This might help:

Also,



Here is an excerpt from “Open Mind, Open Heart” by Tsoknyi Rinpoche:

“Vase Breathing...

[Mod note: AFAIK, Vase Breathing is a higher practice that should be shown and taught by an experienced teacher to students who are ready for it. If it is practiced in the wrong manner for a longer period of time, it can be harmful.
Therefore I don't believe it's appropriate to publish an excerpt here without the consent of the author.
At least one needs the context of the whole book: https://tsoknyirinpoche.org/product/ope ... open-mind/
With regards to everybody, Ayu]
User avatar
Ayu
Global Moderator
Posts: 10259
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Ayu »

“Simply let experience take place very freely,
so that your open heart is suffused with
the tenderness of true compassion.”
~ TSOKNYI RINPOCHE
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 13280
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

It could just be an increased somatic awareness, and the fact that you have tension in the muscles around your head and face. Once you are not meditating with an object of focus, I've found that awareness of things like bodily sensation becomes more subtle.

You might just try some muscle relaxation techniques and see if this is the case, or even start out meditation sessions on your back and see if what you are experiencing is just the physical manifestation of tension.

I mean, the answer here is always "ask your teacher", but truthfully it sounds possible to me that you simply have developed an increased awareness of your own tension. Not a bad thing, but it can be disconcerting.
Like when you sit but can’t concentrate nor maintain awareness and you feel like you’ve wasted your day.
You make the lack of concentration or the feeling of wasting time a part of the practice, in a sense you make these mental events "your object" as they appear and disappear. If you can't do that, you go back to shamatha with an object for the time being. This is my understanding as a student of course, and does not substitute for a teachers.
There's no hoarding what has vanished,
No piling up for the future;
Those who have been born are standing
Like a seed upon a needle.

-Guhatthaka-suttadinesso
Giovanni
Posts: 339
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:07 am

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Giovanni »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:44 pm It could just be an increased somatic awareness, and the fact that you have tension in the muscles around your head and face. Once you are not meditating with an object of focus, I've found that awareness of things like bodily sensation becomes more subtle.

You might just try some muscle relaxation techniques and see if this is the case, or even start out meditation sessions on your back and see if what you are experiencing is just the physical manifestation of tension.

I mean, the answer here is always "ask your teacher", but truthfully it sounds possible to me that you simply have developed an increased awareness of your own tension. Not a bad thing, but it can be disconcerting.
Like when you sit but can’t concentrate nor maintain awareness and you feel like you’ve wasted your day.
You make the lack of concentration or the feeling of wasting time a part of the practice, in a sense you make these mental events "your object" as they appear and disappear. If you can't do that, you go back to shamatha with an object for the time being. This is my understanding as a student of course, and does not substitute for a teachers.
:good:
And good advice. We are used to thinking everything is “spiritual” but we should be aware of tension in neck chest eyes.
Sometimes things are simple. Which does mean that habits are easy to change.
Schuberty
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:09 pm

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Schuberty »

Giovanni wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:55 pm You make the lack of concentration or the feeling of wasting time a part of the practice, in a sense you make these mental events "your object" as they appear and disappear. If you can't do that, you go back to shamatha with an object for the time being.
Thanks. Lovely advice. This reminds me of MR teaching, “Knowing dullness is awareness.” Anything can be used as a support. But it’s hard at this stage to keep awake or be aware all the time. Lack of concentration, boredom, lethargy, constantly checking in is what i’m doing correct or am i wasting my time, all tailspins into me giving up altogether. “The moment you’re aware, your awareness is right there,” sounds easy, and is easy but it seems like I don’t trust or feel like i’ve been in meditation. This lack of faith and trust is the biggest stumbling block i feel like. And doing it in small parts throughout the day (recognizing awareness), like for 2-5 short minutes, i just don’t believe it’ll lead to anything substantial because the moment i forget i act like a ‘Zombie,’ and I even catch myself entertaining my thoughts, but I says, “Go on, yes, go on, son!”
This lack of trust of the open space few sessions give me i waste it mindlessly like i got a big reserve of it. So back to Samatha with an object for the time being i guess.
Last edited by Schuberty on Sat Jun 12, 2021 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 13280
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

It sounds like you are trying too hard. Even with shamatha with an object you have to tighten and loosen your concentration as needed.

One common way I’ve seen advocated with object less meditation is to do very short sessions. Something like 7 sessions of 4 minutes a piece, something like that. Sounds like that’s not working for you though? Really good if you have a teacher to ask too, even when it’s just through email, etc.
There's no hoarding what has vanished,
No piling up for the future;
Those who have been born are standing
Like a seed upon a needle.

-Guhatthaka-suttadinesso
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
Posts: 5286
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Schuberty wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 10:11 am…it’s hard at this stage to keep awake or be aware all the time. Lack of concentration, boredom, lethargy, constantly checking in is what i’m doing correct or am i wasting my time, all tailspins into me giving up altogether.
Okay, now it sounds like you are looking for some practical advice.
This has helped me with similar issues, so try it and see if it will help you:

1. Before you actually begin, say out loud something like, “this period of time is devoted exclusively to meditation practice. To the next 20 inhales and outhales, I will give my full attention”.
This will really help cut down on distractions. You can add “…for the benefit of all beings” if you are inclined to do so, if altruistic bodhicitta is a motivator for you.

2. Before you start, but once you are in the proper position for sitting meditation, freeze. Become as perfectly still as you can, as though there was a hungry tiger sniffing around behind you, and you really hope it doesn’t notice you. Freeze like a statue for a moment, and then slowly relax on the inside while gently keeping your posture on the outside. This will help counter the physical need to wiggle and squirm restlessly.

3. If you feel drowsy, bring your eyes upward, gazing upwards rather than downward.

4. To help with concentration, each time you inhale, open your eyes a bit and become aware of everything, including what is in your peripheral vision. Then, as you exhale, relax the body a bit more. Do this alternately.

Again, quit trying to do anything.
Stop aiming for a goal, and just sit.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
Schuberty
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:09 pm

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by Schuberty »

Great advice. This is my first post here.

Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche says, “It’s easy to talk about mind’s nature, but not to experience it directly. Intellectual understanding does not bring realization. At first it’s difficult to even recognize awareness. Once we have removed some layers of obscuration, we may taste it, but we still aren’t able to stabilize our recognition. We may believe that body, speech, and mind are empty, but when someone says something nasty, anger—not wisdom—arises.

The preliminary practices provide a sure method of purifying the habitual patterns that delude us and prevent us from recognizing our true nature. Without having done the preliminaries, a student can listen to the Great Perfection teachings, but they won’t take hold, just as a seed cannot take root in dry ground. There will be no profound transformation, so the student might lose faith in the dharma and enthusiasm for practice, thinking that what she has received is no big.”

So it seems like even recognizing awareness is moving one step forward. But would it add up, if i practice informally, recognizing awareness in small parts throughout the day, like for 1-3 minutes? YMR says a drop makes an ocean but it seems so far fetched now. I don’t trust it when i forget and find myself i have zonked out.
Again ambition enters into picture. But honestly would anyone of us sit like a big fool on the cushion, i wonder, if we didn’t long for some gain or even loss (of our pride, delusion, etc.)
And about our nature of mind, they say, it’s so close you miss it and it’s so simple you don’t believe it. So what’s the probability that some of may us have seen it but not recognizing it, we don’t know it?
Sorry. Beginners mind, many questions :?:
User avatar
JimTempleman
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2021 3:48 pm

Re: Tight pressure in head

Post by JimTempleman »

When I started trying out meditation techniques involving watching and quieting my thoughts, I started having a pain in my head. It was right behind and just above my eyes. It wasn’t like a common headache that I had encountered before. It would appear at odd times over the course of the day. It was a bit of a turn-off. So I toned down my practice and the pain went away and never came back, even after ramping up the practice beyond where I started out.

Now I know there are no pain sensors in the brain itself, so I was baffled as to what it was. In retrospect, my best guess is that we relax & unfocus the eyes during this kind of meditation. Like any other muscle they lose a bit of tonus and expand a bit. But since they can only press against the back of orbit of the eye bones, a pressure builds up which is registered as pain. In time the eye muscles adjust and the pain goes away.

I’m no ophthalmologist, so take this speculation with a grain of salt.
Post Reply

Return to “Meditation”