Samatha practise: Full-body "hugged" or "filled" with energy

Tommaso Tommasi, modified 8 Months ago.

Samatha practise: Full-body "hugged" or "filled" with energy

Posts: 12 Join Date: 5/29/20 Recent Posts
Hello everyone, this is my first post on the Dharma Overground, so please let me know if I've done this wrong. :-)

I've been practicing around one hour per day of concentration meditation using the Culadasa method for 6 months, and have been trying to balance both focused attention to the breath and peripheral awareness of sensations. After reading some of MCTB, I decided to try just a single-minded focus on the breath (forgetting about peripheries), and after just a few days I experienced a really intense single-pointedness on the breath, the most I've felt in my practise to date.

Just this morning, while focusing single-mindedly on my breath I experienced a full-body sensation of being filled with a vibration or energy, and it wasn't entirely pleasant honestly. It felt almost like I might burst with energy. I was reluctant somewhat and I backed away from it and the rest of my session got less and less focused as time went on. I feel like perhaps I might be approaching on the first Samatha Jhana but not entirely sure.

Overall the sensation of being totally absorbed in focus on the breath has been awesome lately! I plan to make the transition to insight / vipassana practise soon after finishing MCTB. I'm going for full awakening baby :-)

Sorry if this is a really basic bitch question by the way. Not entirely sure how to go about using this forum yet.
Matt, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Samatha practise: Full-body "hugged" or "filled" with energy

Posts: 26 Join Date: 2/7/11 Recent Posts
I've read Culadasa's book but I'm mainly familiar with Leigh Brasington's take on the jhanas. What you're describing seems to me to line up with the first jhana. (As an aside, I think the equivalent in Culadasa-speak is the first 'pleasure jhana' - I'm not really keen on that term because I never used a pleasant sensation to get into the jhanas, and many of my experiences of the first jhana were not super-pleasant because they were way too intense.)

You probably aren't going to burst, but equally if it's really intense you won't want to spend too long there, if for no other reason than it's exhausting. Try taking a deep breath. You should find that this shifts you into a different experience, probably one which still has some physical energetic component, but much much less than before; you should also find that the emotional quality of happiness or even joy becomes more prominent at this point. That would signal having entered the second jhana in Leigh's terminology. (If the physical stuff vanishes entirely and you end up quietly contented, you overshot the second jhana and landed in the third. If you get all the way to a place of quiet stillness and equanimity, that's 4.)

HTH.
Martin, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Samatha practise: Full-body "hugged" or "filled" with energy

Posts: 181 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I can second what Matt said. I might add that, if you hang onto it, let it build, and then take a deep breath, so as to drop into a more relaxed state, as Matt suggests, that is a good time to smile slightly. Though it doesn't work for everyone, for me, smiling usually triggers the onset of happiness (suka).
Sleeping Buddha Syndrome, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Samatha practise: Full-body "hugged" or "filled" with energy

Posts: 685 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
I think jhana is not as clear cut as it may be presented. You make the rules. Try noting!
Tommaso Tommasi, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Samatha practise: Full-body "hugged" or "filled" with energy

Posts: 12 Join Date: 5/29/20 Recent Posts
Sleeping Buddha Syndrome:
I think jhana is not as clear cut as it may be presented. You make the rules. Try noting!


I am planning to begin my journey into Insight Meditation with some Mahasi noting, as recommended on another part of this board.

And thanks so much to those who responded to me! I will certainly take into consideration your advice during my evening meditation!
Derek2, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Samatha practise: Full-body "hugged" or "filled" with energy

Posts: 174 Join Date: 9/21/16 Recent Posts
Tommaso Tommasi:
Just this morning, while focusing single-mindedly on my breath I experienced a full-body sensation of being filled with a vibration or energy, and it wasn't entirely pleasant honestly. It felt almost like I might burst with energy. 


I've often wondered if these experiences of hyperarousal during concentration meditation are due to mild serotonin syndrome. Back in the 70s, the TM people studied serotonin levels in meditators.[1] Presumably it would be relatively straightforward to extend these studies to breath meditation.

[1] Bujatti M, Biederer P. "Serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine metabolites in transcendental meditation-technique." Journal of Neural Transmission. 1976; 39(3): 257–267.
Tommaso Tommasi, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Samatha practise: Full-body "hugged" or "filled" with energy

Posts: 12 Join Date: 5/29/20 Recent Posts
Derek2:

I've often wondered if these experiences of hyperarousal during concentration meditation are due to mild serotonin syndrome. Back in the 70s, the TM people studied serotonin levels in meditators.[1] Presumably it would be relatively straightforward to extend these studies to breath meditation.

[1] Bujatti M, Biederer P. "Serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine metabolites in transcendental meditation-technique." Journal of Neural Transmission. 1976; 39(3): 257–267.

I have suffered a lifelong "lack" of serotonin -- prolongued depression and alienation that I am only now recovering from for pretty much the first time. If this is due to some imbalance in serotonin it sounds like it could be a good sign of a healing process underway?
Derek2, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Samatha practise: Full-body "hugged" or "filled" with energy

Posts: 174 Join Date: 9/21/16 Recent Posts
The honest truth is, I don't know. The serotonin theory is just speculation on my part. It would be interesting if someone with the right education and equipment would do some quantitive research into this area.

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