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Meditation Sensations

Discussion in 'Religions Q&A' started by The Hammer, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. The Hammer

    The Hammer Virtue, Piety, Study
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    Do you meditate regularly?

    I have started practicing meditating again over the last few weeks, as I have been buckling down on my Spiritual training program.

    Have you ever had physical sensations, while you were in the midst of a session? Last night while I was sitting out on my porch (my usual place), I felt my brain do a front flip in my skull, and then felt a wave of pleasure/warmth run down my neck to my toes/fingers.

    It was interesting to say the least, even if this broke my concentration and I was unable to get back into the groove of my meditations, after the fact.
     
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  2. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    I've definitely had the feeling you describe as a sort of pleasing warm tingling coming in waves.

    Although, for me, it was more of a warm tingling in my chest; a feeling of uncontrolled heat in the chest. Then it spread to other parts of my body.

    Buddhist literature refers to it as piti (if my memory recalls) and this sensation has been noticed by meditators / contemplatives cross-culturally.

    Indeed, within the orthodox tradition, St. Seraphim of Sarov had such heat in his body from this experience that he could roll around in the freezing cold wastes of Siberia all night, without the snow having any affect on him! According to a tale associated with him that is. Whether something like it actually occurred, I can't say.

    The Russian Orthodox prayer manual, The Way of the Pilgrim, noted in relation to this:


    "...Practice this often. Soon there will arise a pleasant pain in the heart. It is a sort of warmth, and a sort of burning. If you do this, with God's help you will attain to the delightful self-activating interior prayer of the heart. However, as you do all this, guard against mental imaginings..."

    - The Way of a Pilgrim (19th century, Russian)
     
    #2 Vouthon, Jul 1, 2020
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  3. The Hammer

    The Hammer Virtue, Piety, Study
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    I wonder why this would warn that you should "guard against mental imaginings". I would think that these were to be acknowledged and moved past, not guarded against. One cannot meditate and be on guard at the same time.

    These sensations described (like a fire in the belly), was also something noted by the San spirit healers of South Africa.
     
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  4. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Ah, I reckon that's just terminological differences probably.

    'Guard' here refers to the Christian practice of mental watchfulness in which one notices a mental image / discursive thought arising but impassively, just letting it go without becoming attached to the objects of sense-perception or distracted by them.

    To be on "guard" is therefore to be like a sentinel on the watch in this sense but not actively guarding against. Observing the rise and fall of physical and mental phenomenon impassively/without attachment/without being distracted by it is absolutely crucial to the practice, and that's what the Russian Orthodox Hesychast meant by "guard" as in sentinel watch.

    Here is how one of the Desert Father's, Abba Evagrius, explained it:


    "...If there is any monk who wishes to take the measure of some of the more fierce passions so as to gain experience in his monastic art, then let him keep careful watch over his thoughts. Let him observe their intensity, their periods of decline and follow them as they rise and fall. Let him note well the complexity of his thoughts, their periodicity, with the order of their succession and the nature of their associations. Then let him ask from Christ the explanations of these data he has observed..."

    Abba Evagrius Ponticus (345-399 AD), Early Christian contemplative & monk, The Praktikos & Chapters on Prayer


    A modern Benedictine priest and contemplative explains this practice as follows:


    "...After seasons of practice, the fruit is the stillness, inner focus, and recollection of that dimension of human awareness that thinks, chatters, obsesses, and swarms like a plague of gnats...

    Saint Augustine speaks of a higher part of the mind reserved for the contemplation of God and a lower part of the mind that reasons. Evagrius Ponticus, a fourth-century monk, is one of a host of contemplative writers to make an important distinction between the calculating, reasoning mind that makes use of concepts in a process we call ratiocination or discursive thought, and that dimension of mind that comes to knowledge directly, without the mediation of concepts.

    This he later called nous, an intuitive spiritual intelligence. And so when he defines prayer as 'communion of the mind with God,' he means a dimension of our conciousness that runs deeper than the discursive process of ratiocination
    ..."

    - Fr Martin Laird, modern Catholic contemplative writer & priest
     
    #4 Vouthon, Jul 1, 2020
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  5. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    Nothing so exciting for me. 30+ years and counting. :rolleyes:
     
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  6. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    It's called mayko in Zen circles. Usually just brush it off the same way you do with your thoughts that come and go.

    Unless you think you just hit enlightenment and want to run off with some psychedelic group from India for a few years.
     
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  7. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    Recipe for failure.


    No sensations only nothing.

    No groove.
     
  8. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    I try to take a little time outside and empty all expectations and explanations shutting of the internal dialogue (removing formal language we typically live in) and open all sensations without interpretation. When I can do this as my form of meditation the world opens up and a sensation of connection envelops me. What I would have expected as the sounds, smells and other sensations alter from my preconception of what is. Now if only I could live this way more. In any case it feels like a healing process for me.
     
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  9. The Hammer

    The Hammer Virtue, Piety, Study
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    No, not running off with a group from India lol. Nor do I think I've "hit Enlightenment", that would just be silly. Makyo is a term I have heard before.

    I tried to brush it off (what I usually do with distractions), but it felt as if I had literally been thrown for a loop, so I just called it a night.
     
    #9 The Hammer, Jul 1, 2020
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  10. The Hammer

    The Hammer Virtue, Piety, Study
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    Maybe for you. But to each their own. I would like to get ordained at some point, and this is the path I've chosen to take.
     
  11. The Hammer

    The Hammer Virtue, Piety, Study
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    The portion that I've bolded here is the mindset I use approaching Ritual.
     
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  12. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Apart from the sensation of 'no thought', I did not experience anything else. Now I have no need to meditate, I got my answers.
    After enlightenment, why would one be running around? :)
     
  13. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Autogenic training - Wikipedia begins with self induced physical sensations. Only after controlling the body (heaviness, warmth, controlled breathing and heart rate) the autohypnotic stage is reached.
     
  14. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    Yes. Throughout the day.

    Yes, regularly. Vouthon cited the Buddhist term Piti. This gives a brief summary of the types of rapture or ecstacy that comes with it in their classification system.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pīti#:~:text=Pīti in Pali (Sanskrit: Prīti,to the calmness of sukha.

    That's an interesting description, your brain doing a 'front flip'. Can you elaborate? The wave a pleasure through the body I understand, but not the brain doing a front flip? Dizziness? Or something more like a sudden, spontaneous 'release' or transcendence of mind?

    I practice qigong and taijiquan. This is all about energies and directing them. As sensations as you describe move through you, this is because you are learning to release all tensions in your body. Rather than being distracted by them, you follow them and let them take you. Rather than trying to analyze them, let them direct you. They are part of the meditation. They can take you much deeper, to the point of absolute stillness of mind, where your breath and the world around you are connected and alive, not separated by what's going on inside vs. what's going on outside, but rather an energetic whole.

    It's basically stepping outside of that isolated 'thought-world' swirling around in our heads, out into Reality, like stepping through a door that was never really there, or pulling back the drapery and letting the light into the room. You're not finding something that was missing. You allowing what was there the whole time to come into full awareness. It was yours the whole time.

    As this becomes known to us as part of the reality of who we are, you can learn to pretty much enter that state at will through basic mindfulness practice, stopping letting discursive thought, that constant dialoguing with ourselves inside our thought-world, which leads to tension and stress, blocking those flows of natural energies, or Qi.

    A simple technique I use is to periodically doing a body-scan from the head down to find where I am holding tension, like in the neck, or the low back, or shoulder, etc. When I become aware of that, it almost always ties directly back into something I am letting my mind be preoccupied with, and not being present in the moment. Once that has been made aware of, I let go of doing that to myself with my mind, and release the tensions from the body through breath and visualizations. Then, that energy, that warmth, that rapture, that bliss can move again.

    I used to do only a sitting meditation, but found that physical movement, for the sake of groundedness was also necessary. Being grounded is incredibly important, otherwise the mind is like a balloon being tossed about by any and all movements of energies, which only leads to anxiety and stress.

    One last thing to share. It might be helpful to understand the different levels or stages of meditation that can happen. This is a great Q and A about those state-stages, and he covers what are generally recognized as the psychic, subtle, causal, and nondual stages. He describes the sensations associated with each of these, for your reference. STAGES OF MEDITATION
     
    #14 Windwalker, Jul 2, 2020
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  15. The Hammer

    The Hammer Virtue, Piety, Study
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    It was the most apt description I could come up with at the time. But dizziness is probably correct. Physically the sensation was similar to being on a rollercoaster that was traversing a loop, Intense physical heaviness, followed by a room spinning sensation, then the wave of pleasure/warmth.
     
  16. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    It's actually a good indicator that the meditation is 'working' for lack of a better word.

    It's just one of those things that just comes out of the woodwork. =O)
     
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  17. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    After the wave or pleasure, then what?
     
  18. MonkeyFire

    MonkeyFire Well-Known Member

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    All the time.
     
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  19. The Hammer

    The Hammer Virtue, Piety, Study
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    Then I sat for about another 5 minutes or so,took a few deep breaths, but my mind wouldn't stop racing, so I finished my session and went inside.
     
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