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Energy Practices

Consistent ring of energy around my face

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During meditation, I experience a consistent ring of energy around my face going from below the chin, around the jawline, and curling towards the forehead. There's especially a lot of energy below the chin, closer to the throat. The ring itself is around 1cm thick. It doesn't feel good or bad, but it feels stuck, and it's definitely been there for months (up to a year, I'd guess) whenever I meditated on body sensations anywhere in my face.

This is purely a speculation, but I'm suspecting it's might be related to a blocked negative emotion, though purely based on the energy, I can't tell anything about it. So far it doesn't distract me a whole lot, but since I'm doing Jhana practice these days, it pops up a lot.

How should I work with it? Should I just ignore it? Should I use it as my meditation object? If so, should I focus on parts of it, or the whole thing? Should I move my attention clockwise around its contour? What do you guys recommend? I tried some of these tactics, but without significant changes in the energy location / movement so far. I think it would be nice to spread it out, let it go or get it moving.

RE: Consistent ring of energy around my face
Answer
9/26/20 3:34 PM as a reply to Kirill.
Kirill:

How should I work with it? 

Umm... Well, I wouldn't employ the same kind of attention that Sonic the Hedgehog does towards rings. :-)

RE: Consistent ring of energy around my face
Answer
9/29/20 4:12 PM as a reply to Kirill.
Kirill:
 I think it would be nice to spread it out, let it go or get it moving.


It's hard to be sure if my experiences are related to what you are describing but if you want to feel this over your whole body you could try doing something that I find causes a sensation of tingling/numbness over my whole body. I experience this after I do relaxations exercises which I've described on my blog:

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/08/preparing-for-meditation-with.html

As you do the exercises you will feel the sensation in different parts of the body. As I do this eventually the sensation stablizes over my whole body.

And I often feel it when I do anapanasatti.

It's hard to know exactly what the sutras are referring to but I think this could be what is described in the anapanasatti sutta where it says:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html
He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.
Because when I feel this way there is a distinct sensation coming from the whole body. It isn't that I am just actively focusing my attention trying to be aware of my whole body at once,  it is more of a passive awareness because there is a distinct sensation from the whole body.

And it seems related to the 4th jhana because I feel "neither pleasure nor pain" in this state. If I am feeling some kind of emotional or physical disstress, sometimes I will go into this state to take a break from it. 

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-samadhi/jhana.html
And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure and stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress — he enters and remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain.

I also use this state to "reset" my mental state if my mind is turbulent, so the relaxation exercises are a good way to prepare for sitting meditation.

And there is a kind of spiritual afterglow where afterward I feel metta, compassion, humility, surrender, and other spiritual feelings. Also the pleasure from the first two jhanas and the pleasant abiding from the third jhana seem to be accessible. As I said it's hard to know exactly what the sutras refer to but I like to maintain the "pleasant abiding" a pleasant relaxed state of mind as I go through daily life after meditating by staying relaxed and mindful.

RE: Consistent ring of energy around my face
Answer
10/30/20 7:52 AM as a reply to Kirill.
I don't know if this will pertain to your situation or not, but I experienced something similar. At the end of a Goenka course I realized that I had a "halo" of energy or subtle sensation stuck to the crown of my head. After thinking about it for a while I realized that while doing the Goenka body scan I'd been visualizing a ring as a tool to remind me where to direct my awareness. By the end of the course I was way too tired to do anything about it but I thought it was kind of hilarious. The lesson I took out of it is that the mind can do all kinds of weird stuff and so I should avoid visualizing things unless necessary. 

RE: Consistent ring of energy around my face
Answer
10/30/20 9:40 AM as a reply to Kirill.
I have similar things. If I focus on them too much (e.g. using them as a meditation object or looking for a specific emotional storyline) then they tend to get stuck and be painful. If I note them and return to the breath then they tend to unblock and flow more easily into a generalized body bliss field. I think they are mostly just an effect of concentration, i.e. stuff which was already there but we didn't notice before. Just relaxing and using a gentle awareness can allow a lot of blocked emotions to unblock or "self-liberate" as they say.

RE: Consistent ring of energy around my face
Answer
10/31/20 4:36 AM as a reply to Kirill.
I had a 'halo' a few inches above my head for several months after a retreat a few years ago. I suspect, like most things, acceptance and investigation are all that is required. Religious art suggests it's a fairly common phenomenon. Don't get a messiah complex. 

RE: Consistent ring of energy around my face
Answer
10/31/20 10:57 AM as a reply to Kirill.
I know you say it doesn't feel good or bad, but the fact you are wondering what you should do with it and want to get it moving suggests you don't like it on some level. That's a pretty normal reaction to a strong new sensation, but instead of focusing on the sensation itself you might want to see if you can feel where the resistance to it is in the body.

It could well be related to some kind of blocked emotion, but looking for a specific emotional cause is a bit of a dead end in my experience. I think shargrol said that interpretation is a subtle form of aversion, i.e. resistance to what is happening (I don't like it so I need to understand it). I say this as someone who spent over a year being distracted, enthralled and repelled by strong facial pains, before letting them be and seeing them vanish (and sometimes reappear in different formats, no big deal).

RE: Consistent ring of energy around my face
Answer
10/31/20 2:15 PM as a reply to Kirill.
Hi Kirill, I have a thread ( Beware: heavy thinking ahead) where I have been discussing the micro-phenomenological interview.  This is a method of questioning that changes the focus from the "what" of an experience to the "how".  If you are open to experimenting with this line of questioning you may be able to learn a little more about what is concerning you.  There is no record, that I know, of doing this in this setting so it is completely up to you, like I said it's an experiment.  Here's the process: 
- Do your practice as you normally do.
- When you finish, bring back (relive) the moment when you "experience a consistent ring of energy around my face", if you need to, you can go back to practice to get more clarity.
- Ask yourself, What do I do when I am experiencing the ring of energy?  Avoid referring to theories, or analyses. Stick to the felt sense of what is happening.

It would be great to hear about the results. 

RE: Consistent ring of energy around my face
Answer
10/31/20 4:10 PM as a reply to Edward.
Edward:
I had a 'halo' a few inches above my head for several months after a retreat a few years ago. I suspect, like most things, acceptance and investigation are all that is required. Religious art suggests it's a fairly common phenomenon. Don't get a messiah complex. 

I was totally stoked when I realized that I could call it a halo. My subsequent delusion of grandeur only lasted a few seconds.