Altered body image while concentrated

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N A, modified 10 Years ago.

Altered body image while concentrated

Posts: 157 Join Date: 7/10/11 Recent Posts
I have just recently started formal meditation - anapanasati for samatha, wordless noting for vipassana. When doing anapanasati I fairly quickly hit what I assumed to be the soft first jhana. In another session, this time vipassana, concentrating pretty hard, I got into the same state but much harder and now I'm not as sure.

The state is fairly self-sustaining (provided I keep concentrating on it), very "one-pointed", and mildly (only mildly) pleasant to be in. But these are not its most salient features. Mainly I feel that my body becomes very heavy and round, and then seems to be shrinking. The center to which it keeps shrinking is at the roof of my mouth, which also feels very heavy.

The sensation is very physical and very distinctive. I immediately remembered experiencing it randomly a couple times as a little kid.

This state is pleasant and doesn't seem to have side effects, so I'm not too worried. At the same time it's kind of freaky and doesn't match any descriptions of the jhanas. Has anyone else experienced this?
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tom moylan, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Altered body image while concentrated

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Hi N A,
welcome!

i saw from your previous posts that you have read the MCTB. so, directly to your question: no, i have never had the exact experiences which you describe. lots of other ones, but not that one. those unusual sensations come and go sometimes return, sometimes not. its best to see them with equanimity, don't desire to have the good ones and try to take it easy through the less good ones.

keep going, you can crack it!
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Eran G, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Altered body image while concentrated

Posts: 182 Join Date: 1/5/10 Recent Posts
There are many experiences that arise during meditation. Some of them are really weird, some are nice, some are down right freaky. I've experienced similar sensations to what you describe although most of the ones I remember were about the body increasing in size. There may have been one or two that were about shrinking. I believe these may be more common in certain stages of the practice but I don't remember specifically which.

A question for you: what does these tell you about what you think of as "my body"?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Altered body image while concentrated

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
N A:
Mainly I feel that my body becomes very heavy and round, and then seems to be shrinking. The center to which it keeps shrinking is at the roof of my mouth, which also feels very heavy.


do you feel like you can consciously funnel things into the roof of your mouth? like you can focus on it and that amplifies the sensations there/shrinks the body more?
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N A, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Altered body image while concentrated

Posts: 157 Join Date: 7/10/11 Recent Posts
Thanks for replying!

Eran G:
A question for you: what does these tell you about what you think of as "my body"?

That it's an inaccurate mental model.

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
do you feel like you can consciously funnel things into the roof of your mouth? like you can focus on it and that amplifies the sensations there/shrinks the body more?

I think so - that seems to be the trick to maintaining the state.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Altered body image while concentrated

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
N A:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
do you feel like you can consciously funnel things into the roof of your mouth? like you can focus on it and that amplifies the sensations there/shrinks the body more?

I think so - that seems to be the trick to maintaining the state.


alright. the advice i'm about to give is just from my own experience: don't get too attached to that! i might even say not to cultivate it at all.

before stream entry, i started getting such a feeling, only it started persisting even after i stopped meditating. 'awesome!!' i thought - 'a sign that meditating is doing something!'. i'd wake up in the morning, notice it's not there, then 'look' for it, then it would appear, and i'd latch on and keep it there. soon i couldn't not feel it.

i developed quite the relationship to that thing... i would focus on it when meditating and it would get me into jhanas. it would become really painful during dark night. lots of aversion towards it. it got really painful. i would blame 'it' for not being able to concentrate. it got to the point where i simply couldn't meditate anymore, because as soon as i sat down and closed my eyes i would immediately start cringing and going into it.

these sensations seem to be a common thing among meditators.. so it might not be the sensations themselves that are the problem per se.. but the relationship to them can grow to be quite a painful one. be calm, be equanimous, don't attach or cling to it, don't focus all your energy on that spot, as in my experience it doesn't lead to good things in the long run.

note: i still have those sensations now, but the aversion to them is basically almost gone. took a while, though. they also aren't there in a PCE, and fade as PCE is approached
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N A, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Altered body image while concentrated

Posts: 157 Join Date: 7/10/11 Recent Posts
Whoa, thanks. Not at all what I wanted to hear, but useful advice anyway emoticon

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