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"Psychosomatic pain" and Monkey Mind

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"Psychosomatic pain" and Monkey Mind
Answer
1/7/20 6:20 PM
Hi all, this is my first post, I'll try to keep it tidy:

About 5 years ago, I started having my first panic attacks, this was after an extended period of turmoil on several levels. I was later diagnosed with "PTSD". This has been accompanied by very many strange sensations in the body, such as cramps and tinglings as well as disturbing stuff in my awareness. Fair to say, my meditation practice has become very different after the onset of this thing, as I cannot focus and keep my concentration like I used to. At times I felt that meditation just increased the symptoms. So for the past few years I've been researching to find out what this is, and I've come across several lines of literature dealing with trauma etc. I'm also familiar with Daniel Ingram's book (read it several years ago) and his chapters about the Dark Night of the Soul. Now, it seems to me that I was already in Dark Night, but then I experienced some harsh shocks to the nervous system on top of that, and now here I am, flipping between borderline mania and boredom and despair, all the while having this intense anxiety in my system. Difficult to make choices, difficult to keep motivation for extended periods on a single project, easily overwhelmed etc. etc. but worst of all is this incredibly umcomfortable physical sensation (all the buzzing, ringing in ears, pressure, electricity) that my body is about to go into all out spasm at any moment. I was reading Culadasa's book just now (Mind Illuminated) and came across his references to the sub-minds running each their different programs with their different agendas preventing the unification of mind, and later about the beneficial results of unified mind, namely that the somatic experience is one of flow and a pleasant dwelling in the body. Now this is probably all familiar to everyone, but nevertheless, I wonder, beause I've spoken to so many people who are struggling with stuff such as Fibromyalgia and body pains, and I always keep thinking that it's all caused by a fragmented mind that is tugging in different directions. When I experienced the shock to the nervous system some years ago, it was as if it added a surplus energy to my system and thus propelling the fragmentation and dis-harmony of mind even further than it was and it's as if this tug-o-war in different directions is actually causing pain in my body. Like, the mindbody wants to form a coherent whole and if it manages, there is flow, and no pain, but due to this extra energy coursing through me I feel anxiety and the body coherence constantly breaks down. I mean, I can get a craving during meditation and actually feel it as a "sharp dissonance poking into my mindbody" somehow. Is this familiar to anyone? So my question is, I'm trying to find the proper words and language for this, because doctors say they are baffled about "diseases" such as Fibromyalgia and they don't know their cause or how to cure them, but to me it seems that many people with insight and experience in meditation have figured out that this is a kind of loss of mindbody coherence. Do you know any research on this topic, aka "psychosomatic pains" due a Monkey Mind on steroids, and have people here experience in having their bodily pains and aches increased many-fold during the Dark Night?

RE: "Psychosomatic pain" and Monkey Mind
Answer
1/7/20 6:41 PM as a reply to Magnus Sandberg.
Interesting hypothesis. As for your last question, yes. Before stream entry I had pain throughout the dukkha nanas, and I had a history of somatizing things (speaking of which, maybe you would be interested in a post that I wrote about non-epileptic seizures?). That pain differed from the pain in the three characteristics nana (the pain in the 3C nana was sharper whereas the pain in the dukkha nanas was sort of a persistent nagging tenderness and stiffness). 

RE: "Psychosomatic pain" and Monkey Mind
Answer
1/8/20 2:27 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hi and thanks, yes I am very much interested to read your post regarding non-epilleptic seizures. I've read quite a bit about them already, because I was myself tested for epilleptic activity as they wanted to rule it out. They found none, of course, but that didn't rule out the non-epilleptic seizure part. It's quite frightening to me, and this is really what it feels like, it's as if there is some sort of seizure going on in the entire mindbody system. My girlfriend was telling me about how she had "Alice in Wonderland-syndrome" (Todd's syndrome) when she was younger, where small objects suddenly appear huge, or vague sounds turn loud. As with so much other mindbody stuff, this Todd syndrome appears to occur due to extra electrical activity in the brain networks dealing with size/spatial orientation. With my condition, that seems to happen as well, as if that energy is moving around and energizing various networks in the brain, leading to auditorial and visual hallucinations as well as somatic ones. There is as well the increased hypervigilance observed in PTSD where the brain is hyperresponsive to small perturbations, so for example, if I listen to a steady tone (such as binaural beats) and there's a sudden shift in tone or a tiny noise in an otherwise steady stream, my whole system jumps. Needless to say, this is quite uncomfortable when dealing with sudden shifts in proprioperceptions. It has become very clear over the course of these past years that sudden shifts in proprioperception correlate and occur simultaneously as the currents of the unconscious flux, or enter upon dark material. For example, if cultivating virtue helps gather mindbody coherence, stumbling upon unconscious currents that break with the "virtuous metapersonality" that is seeking to emerge, that structure is broken every time unconscious evidence to the contrary of virtue is glimpsed. One of my theories is that I have somehow entered a state in which such unconscious events--perhaps related to the hypervigilance of PTSD--are perceived as a break of coherence and somehow elicit pain. Again, this could be a result of the Default Mode Network having incorporated an active amygdala in its default state, such that otherwise benign stimuli from the body are preceived as painful. Indeed I have been able to switch it off in deep states of meditation, but what bothers me is that no matter how hard I try to convince myself that these are "benign stimuli interpreted with a negative sign" by the brain, it still leads to real cramps and real spasms. So yes, non-epilleptic seizures. I've also come across a few studies that seem to have documented meditation actually leading to epilleptic events in certain prone individuals. So with all this in mind, I've been a little bit hesitant to meditate...

Having said all that, I really find a lot of help in Culadasa's book right now and the instructions to direct the focus of attention towards pleasurable stimuli. They still exist. The power of the force is still strong lining the inner sanctum of those nostrils. I think, to a certain extent, having developed such a high degree of anxiety, it has been almost impossible to focus on the positive sensations because they are subdued and overwhelmed by all the negative sensations and discomfort and so it could be that meditating lately has just made me even more sensitive to the negative feelings in the body, thus throwing fuel on the fire. Having virtually no pleasant sensations available, I've experienced a bit with microdosing psilocybin as well before meditation with positive effect as it seems to facilitate this small tiny spark of loving energy around the constructs of mind. But I can't sit and microdose every day, and in the long run I'm not sure how sustainable it is anyway. I also notice what seems to be a sort of ür-contraction, if that makes sense, and after starting to practice Qi Gong I've become much more aware of how it emanates from the Dan Tien area under the navel, whereas much of the time it simply seems that consciousness itself has a "contractive attribute" to it, especially during the switch from out breath to in-breath. During the first third of the in-breath, there are these very jerky movements and some muscle in my body (anywhere, even the teeth) seem to twitch or tingle every time I switch to in-breath. Argh! Get me out of here, I want to go home!

RE: "Psychosomatic pain" and Monkey Mind
Answer
1/8/20 3:34 PM as a reply to Magnus Sandberg.
Fascinating! I know a woman who used to have that Alice in Wonderland syndrome late in life, but she didn't have a name for it. For her it was adverse effects due to Alzheimer medication. Her diagnosis was changed after that and her medicines taken away, not because of the adverse effects but because there was a scandal with too generous diagnoses from that doctor. Instead she was assessed to have mild cognitive impairment because of vascular injuries. It makes sense that Alzheimer medication would cause extra electrical activity, perhaps especially for someone who doesn't need it. Thankyou for that explanation! 

Last summer I was on a combined vipassana and qigong retreat, and I noticed that all the Dan Tiens heated up significantly. At one time it made me shake. 

Very interesting descriptions and interpretations! Fascinating that we have had so similar experiences, although mine were more positive. 

This is the thread I mentioned: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/17029857?_19_redirect=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dharmaoverground.org%2Fdiscussion%2F-%2Fmessage_boards%2Fsearch%3F_19_redirect%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.dharmaoverground.org%252Fdiscussion%252F-%252Fmessage_boards%252Frecent-posts%26_19_keywords%3DPsychogenic%26_19_formDate%3D1578518086444%26_19_breadcrumbsCategoryId%3D0%26_19_searchCategoryId%3D0

I hope the link works. It looks suspiciously long and I'm too tired right now to have a look at how others have changed the name of links. 

Very best wishes for your practice and wellbeing!