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Interpreting a meditation
Answer
6/28/11 5:25 PM
I would like some help in understanding a meditation experience. I've been meditating irregularly for the last year. This is what I wrote in my meditation journal. Thank you!
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1:30 to 2:00pm. 30 minutes of focusing on breathing through the nose. Felt a lot of pressure on the face (10 minutes I feel later I feel less pressure, but feel some residue), including on the bridge of my nose, and between my brow. At first on the left side of the face. Kept floating between these states and a less concentrated state, but returning to the breathing I quickly got back to this stage. Some thoughts came in and out, but they did not stay long. Often I was 'wondering' about what was going on, with the pressure, and with the blankness of vision. The breath sometimes took a shape, but often it didn't have much of a shape. Seems like there was some spinning, but it wasn't very well defined of moving spinning, as the shape was fairly ambiguous. I thought at one point there was a bit of whiteness to the vision... milky like, but not sure. Though this sense returned later after losing some focus and then returning. Moments of feeling nice and calm all over (no great amount of bliss, but very peaceful feeling), all pain was absent. Also had moments feeling like I was twisting to the right. Some right neck pressure as well. At times I was investigating and noticing feelings in an insight manner, but my goal was concentration meditation so kept returning to that.

RE: Interpreting a meditation
Answer
6/28/11 6:02 PM as a reply to S B.
S B:

1:30 to 2:00pm. 30 minutes of focusing on breathing through the nose. Felt a lot of pressure on the face (10 minutes I feel later I feel less pressure, but feel some residue), including on the bridge of my nose, and between my brow.


This could be a sign of increasing concentration. For now, you can let it remain in the background, notice if it seems to spread through the rest of the body. If it becomes painful, that might mean you're pushing too hard. No need to worry or wonder about it too much for now.

S B:

The breath sometimes took a shape, but often it didn't have much of a shape. Seems like there was some spinning, but it wasn't very well defined of moving spinning, as the shape was fairly ambiguous. I thought at one point there was a bit of whiteness to the vision... milky like, but not sure. Though this sense returned later after losing some focus and then returning.


Another possible sign of increased concentration. My advice is more or less the same, let it be unless it becomes more solid and stable.

S B:

Moments of feeling nice and calm all over (no great amount of bliss, but very peaceful feeling), all pain was absent.


Try paying some attention to this sensation while still maintaining the majority of your attention on the breath. See if it spreads, intensifies, somehow connects with the breath or with the previous sensations you've described.

S B:

Also had moments feeling like I was twisting to the right. Some right neck pressure as well. At times I was investigating and noticing feelings in an insight manner, but my goal was concentration meditation so kept returning to that.


This could be related to the 3 Insight stage, knowledge of the three characteristics. See chapter 24 The Progress of Insight in Daniel's book Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. Depending on the quality of your attention during practice you may be switching between concentration and insight and you might notice phenomenon related to both.

Hope this helps,
Eran.

RE: Interpreting a meditation
Answer
6/29/11 6:09 AM as a reply to Eran G.
Thank you for the response. The descriptions seem to largely match what occurred. But due to my lack of experience, I hesitate to claim anything at this point. I will follow your advice.