Panic/Kundalini?

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Brandon Dayton, modified 6 Months ago.

Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 398 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
I've been having some challenging experiences of late -- primarily off cushion -- and they seem like they might be meditation related. They are concering enough that I've been making my dukkha ñana speed-dial calls to the necessary trained specialists (meditation coach, therapist), but I'd appreciate thoughts from the community on this too.

The first experience was about a month back when I was microdosing psychedelic mushrooms. I don't do this often, but I've done it enough that I felt pretty confident in how I would react. It usually gives me a subtle pleasant feeling, but this time I started to have feelings of panic which were made worse by being at home with my family and not wanting to freak out in front of them. I was able to stay in a room by myself, but I started having intense unpleasant feelings throughout my body. As I was lying in bed trying to relax through the experience, my body started to convulse. This continued for about 30 minutes until the unpleasant feelings subsided.

Last night, after an exhausting day, I woke up from a nap and began to experience the panic again. Again, it was made worse by knowing my family was in the house. This time the feelings were much clearer. There was an unpleasant vibration all throughout my body that reminded me of Kenneth Folk's description of dukkha ñana type sensations as dissonant jazz. Everything felt awful, and the thought of making any mental choice felt unbearable. I didn't want to see or talk to anyone or direct any energy to acting or doing. There was a strong sense wanting to get out, wanting it to end and feeling hopelessly trapped. I had intense sensations in my brow area and my face began to smirk and convulse. This led to my whole body convulsing. There was a moment towards the end where it started to feel okay. I was doing metta and thinking about it as a form of spiritual purification and the panic subsided, even as the sensations continued for awhile.

Panic attacks are not a common occurrence for me. The last time I experienced anything close to what could be called a panic attack was over 15 years ago. It feels like something related to meditation as it seems to fit descriptions I've read of dukkha ñana experiences. I've had a low grade feeling of aversion and fear since then (and in retrospect I can see that I had similar feelings immediately before). 

I appreciate any thoughts from the community on how to approach this. I am practicing about an hour a day currently doing a mahayana style vipassana. I'm also starting a new job next week which could certainly be adding an additional layer of stress.
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Siavash, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 1076 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
I had similar ones (still have but less intense), and also the same attitude about family, not wanting to let them know.

The most helpful thing was talking openly with family about it. That removed (probably will remove for you, or not) the secondary panic about the original panic.

The next thing was accepting that this thing will be with me for however long it wants to be, so it's better to have a place for it, and not try to push it away forcefully.

And I guess the next thing was trying/learning to have less fear about it -- The thought in mind for not having fear was: This has happened before, and nothing happened after that, I didn't die, didn't have injuries..., and it will happen in the future, and it will be the same, and the one now is the same also, it will pass, however unpleasant.

Since the intensity was still high, I started doing mountain hiking every week, and then started meditation, and those helped too.

Listening to music was helpful too, as always.

I hope you find the help you need.
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Brandon Dayton, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 398 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
Thanks for the thoughts. My wife knows, and is supportive, so it is mostly about trying not to do anything to freak out my kids. She can run interference for me if things get out of control.

Thanks for the other advice and recommendations. I've been advised to lay off the meditation for a bit and get out doors more. I know some good hikes, and it sounds like that helped for you too. 

It helps just to know that I am not going crazy (or to have a community that normalizes the craziness). Feeling much more grounded today.
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Siavash, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 1076 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
I know some good hikes, and it sounds like that helped for you too.
Yes it was very helpful. Part of the problem for me is having difficulty with walking and breathing. And after one day of hiking (I would be in nature for around 10 hours), my body would be much more relaxed for a couple days after that, and didn't have much problem with walking and breathing.

It helps just to know that I am not going crazy 
Yeah. It's more likely that it's just anxiety, and some resting and relaxing and outdoor activities could help.

It's good that your wife knows and supports you.

For me, more energy inducing meditation techniques, like fast fire noting, or narrow and careful attention often are not helpful. Slow walking and slow walking practice with a broad and gentle awareness are more helpful.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 1570 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Panic attacks were my middle name from 1996 to about 2009. Every day thing. I was always hiding it from people and would give all sorts of excuses why I needed to get out of a crowded buss or a shopping center or just a crowded street etc. 
 
Also constant paranoia feeling like I will be under an attack. Same amount of years. 
I was dignosed for the first time as PTSD in 2011 after I hit the bad Dark Night. 

However in 2009, before ever looking into Buddhism, I was practicing daily Aikido Ki-breathing. After several months of this daily 30 minutes practice my good old paranoia and panic attacks were gone. Like they never existed. 

In 2011 I did have emotional freak outs hence went to the doc and found out that PTSD was with me for a long time and I just lived with it as if it was normal. Got SSRI and therapy. Stopped with SSRI meds last year and stil off of them. 

These days I can at times feel panic attack bubbling up or even some paranoid worry but now it's different. It's not becoming a huge issue consuming me entirely as it did before 2009. I should add that in 2009 I have gone up to 5th Jhana during the Ki-breathing. Back then I didn't know what that was but am now thinking it could have had some "healing" influence as 5th Samatha Jhana to this day was the safest place I ever consciously experienced. I mean panic and paranoia emoticon meaning "not safe" and then safety of the infinite space engulfs the infinite tiny "you" emoticon 

I think Samatha Jhanas might have healing properties. Haven't mastered them though. 

I hope it's ok if I share this here emoticon 
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Brandon Dayton, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 398 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
PCD,

It's great to hear your experience. Just to know that others pass through similar things helps me to feel normal. Hoping to get accustomed to the territory with time.
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Helen Pohl, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 81 Join Date: 8/10/20 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko:


I think Samatha Jhanas might have healing properties. Haven't mastered them though. 



So do I. Bathing your brain in them seems a powerful antidote to panic/stress/anxiety. It's been a huge relief discovering them.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 1570 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Let me be more specific emoticon I only find 5th Samatha Jhana to have healing property. This is in my experience only. Also when I say healing I mean psychological. To say again This is in my experience emoticon 

The material Jhanas are also good at tranquilising / calming with its joy and bliss but I find them agitating once off cushion as even after just one session I can feel Jhanic hangover which I don't favor at all. Also  if I'm to talk with people after a session I'm kind of agitated as I need to "snap out" from that tranquilized state and that is a bit painful. 

I balance Jhana absorption with Noting Aloud/Noting/Noticing so I don't get too lost in the absorption. Still I get the hangover even after soft Jhana (which maybe not that soft afterall). 
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Helen Pohl, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 81 Join Date: 8/10/20 Recent Posts
Yes, I see. I'm glad you've found something that helps you.

I've obv not gotten as far as #5 yet but so far I feel a a lot of background anxiety has just fallen off. I keep practising jhanas for the effects in my everyday life. Even if anxiety appears it's *just* that, not an omen something bad is going to happen/I'm having symptoms of some terrible disease. I can look at it with far greater composure. 

Also I've noticed a change in my day-to-day interactions with friends and family. Better reactions to what people say, more skilful handling in general. 
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Oatmilk, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 80 Join Date: 7/30/20 Recent Posts
Siavash:
I had similar ones (still have but less intense), and also the same attitude about family, not wanting to let them know.

The most helpful thing was talking openly with family about it. That removed (probably will remove for you, or not) the secondary panic about the original panic.

The next thing was accepting that this thing will be with me for however long it wants to be, so it's better to have a place for it, and not try to push it away forcefully.

And I guess the next thing was trying/learning to have less fear about it -- The thought in mind for not having fear was: This has happened before, and nothing happened after that, I didn't die, didn't have injuries..., and it will happen in the future, and it will be the same, and the one now is the same also, it will pass, however unpleasant.

Since the intensity was still high, I started doing mountain hiking every week, and then started meditation, and those helped too.

Listening to music was helpful too, as always.

I hope you find the help you need.
Hey Brandon, 


I'm sorry to hear that you have to get through this. First, don't worry too much about it, it will subside eventually I guess. Don't be afraid to be around others or in public, while yes, this is scary and you fear that someone could notice that you are struggling, your body and mind are the ultimate inteligence. Even if you are far out, if you let go of trying to change it, you'll behave normal and others won't notice it. You just have to learn to be cool with it and trust the process. It's just the mind worrying about something which it cannot comprehend. 
Lastly, for grounding you can use methods like 'resourcing,' going for long walks etc. 
If you want further help, send me a pm(:

All the best my friend and don't worry too much! Remember, the best way to integrate this is if you continue to go over your day like you used to. Don't try to change something. Go to work, meet friends, enjoy a delicious meal or a movie etc. It might be unpleasant at times but they won't notice (in my experience - and I experienced much worse).

Oh, and you maybe slow down on practice a little bit for a while. 

-O

 
shargrol, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 1488 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Good advice so far.

This is a fairly normal part of meditation for someone who has consistent, daily, non-heroic (which is a good thing) practice.

Things like Fear nana and Desire for Deliverance nana and Reobservation nana are all stages where there is some aspect of freaking out.

The important thing to get in touch with is --- you are safe in your room with nothing in particular you need to do --- so this freakout really is your mind trying to defend itself from imagined threats.

It can be old non-verbal feelings of being a helpless child or it can be very adult and intellectual "rational" reasons for freaking out, but at the heart of it is the mind is digesting and integrating sensations, urges, emotions, and thoughts that have never been able to be simply experienced before. We all have sensations, urges, emotions, and thoughts that are like triggers  We have the initial subtle experience and to avoid it we create a whole freakout which covers up that subtle experience. (Imagine a child crying harder than it needs to or a teenager getting more angsty than it needs to.) 

At some point in practice, we have created a safe place and all the fears/panic/anxieties/worries will bubble out of the mind. They just want to be experience simply and naturally -- and without being covered up by a freakout. So our job is to see if we can get intimate with the experience and without freaking out. It might be that we can only do it in limited doses or not at all on a given day. But eventually we need to do this work, it's eventually required.

So this is usually a good sign, despite being challenging. 

It's pretty common for someone to have the sensations of a panic attack, yet ride out like a horse without being thrown off, and it's over in a minute and --- "wow, that was it?"  Basically a panic attack without all the intellectual complications, elaborations, proliferations. And then the body has a new kind of attitude like "oh wow, I can be with these sensations, they are just sensations, the sensations of worry, panic, fear, wanting to get out. That's what they are. They don't necessarily mean it is true that the whole world is falling apart, I'm doing to die, I'm wrong somehow, or any of that."

Basically all of this is how we kinda lose our "fear of fear".  Mature fear is still scary, but it also seems more like information than a dire threat. It says "look here, pay attention". Immature fear ironically makes us turn away from the things we need to be paying attention to. 

Anyway, hope this helps in some way!
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Brandon Dayton, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 398 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
I guess this is part of what it means when they say "taking refuge in the Sangha". Deep gratitude for the wise and caring responses. Doing this type of practice alone is a bad, bad idea. I don't see how anyone can do it (and remain sane).

On advice from my teacher I'm taking a break from meditation for a bit and focusing on grounding practices. It's funny how, as soon as the recommendation was made, there was this huge sense of relief, and I've suddenly been able to enjoy much more of regular life. I'm now seeing that there was this mental pressure I was carrying that contributed to the breakdown the other day. I've got one of those minds that wants to solve every problem and discovers 50 more problems in the process. Being able to let go and simplifiy is a practice in life that I would be wise to cultivate further.
shargrol, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 1488 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Brandon Dayton:
 Doing this type of practice alone is a bad, bad idea. I don't see how anyone can do it (and remain sane).

Agree! emoticon
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 1570 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Brandon Dayton:
I guess this is part of what it means when they say "taking refuge in the Sangha". Deep gratitude for the wise and caring responses. Doing this type of practice alone is a bad, bad idea. I don't see how anyone can do it (and remain sane).

On advice from my teacher I'm taking a break from meditation for a bit and focusing on grounding practices. It's funny how, as soon as the recommendation was made, there was this huge sense of relief, and I've suddenly been able to enjoy much more of regular life. I'm now seeing that there was this mental pressure I was carrying that contributed to the breakdown the other day. I've got one of those minds that wants to solve every problem and discovers 50 more problems in the process. Being able to let go and simplifiy is a practice in life that I would be wise to cultivate further.

If you feel you need a break and it's too freaky by all means stop. When I was hit by a bad freak out after about 3 years of practice I took a break ... 7 years of break emoticon Finaly in 2019 February I decided its time to go back to the practice. No rush, no heroics, and certainly no impressing anyone!
I wish you and your family all the best mate! 
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Brandon Dayton, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 398 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
A few more experiences since last night. It seems this stuff is triggered by fatigue and stress, as yesterday was more stressful/depressing and boom, at midnight last night I awoke from a dream about my brother and his wife dying in a car accident and started feeling another surge of panic. One way to describe it is an extreme anti-equanimity. The smallest unpleasent sensations or thought was enough to tip all of the energy into a negative cycle. It culminated in an intense sense of panic that washed over my entire body and then was basically done. Felt good about being able to ride it out. I'm guessing its something I'll have to experience a "few" more times before it's fully mastered.

This morning it hit again. I woke up to unpleasent IBS type cramps (is there such thing as bowel kundalini?) Again, the anti-equanimity, and an extreme aversion to everything. Felt like I was on a ship in choppy waters balancing a bowl of acid on my head.This session ended with some face twitching and body shakes.

Had a chat with my wife about all of this. Gonna work with her to keep things very low stress and simple for the next little bit. Suddenly feeling very fragile and vulnerable, but thankfully with a good support system.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Panic/Kundalini?

Posts: 1570 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Brandon,

those bowels. Each time I've had full on panic attacks I would immediately feel it in my stomach to the point of needing to run and find ASAP a toilet. At times I would get out of a buss long before my actual stop just to find a toilet ASAP. This had nothing to do with irritable bowel syndrome though. It was always triggered by panic attack. Together with cold sweating, heart beating , heavy breathing, panic. 
And just for the record I would at times find a bush and do the number 2 behind it in such situations. Luckily I always found a place to empty the bowels and never needed to let go into me pants emoticon 

Its a shitty way of life and I lived with it from 1996 to 2009 (the ki breathing practice and I assume 5th Jhana did some deep healing). 

Also to add; even now I can at times get a tiny snap of such panic attack or paranoia but it really is just tiny and kind of passes fast and has no where near the strength it once had.