Unpleasant pixel-like experience

Mr Pixel, modified 4 Months ago.

Unpleasant pixel-like experience

Posts: 3 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Hello internet people,

This has been going on for a while so I hope that someone has an answer. Most of the time I experience the sensations in my body as a field of pixels. To clarify, the body no longer seems as solid as it used to as it doesn't apper to have any boundaries. I don't have to be meditating to be concious of this type of experience, I'm aware of it most of the time.

At first I found it interesting, but now it's boring and unpleasant.

Once and a while my meditations are amazing. They are deep, spacious, and fascinating. Boundaries dissolve and sounds and sensations appear and disappear in a vast open space. These meditations happen rarely, and they can be a little scary, but I wish I had them more frequently. I have a feeling that this is where things are headed, I just don't know why they're so infrequent. I have been stuck in this pixelated hell for quite some time.

Things are a little bit better now that I've given up drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. I am trying to take better of my health, but progress has been slow. I'm just not sure what else I need to do to go deeper. I have a decent job, great friends, fairly decent self-esteem, and am doing fairly well despite the pandemic.

I used to love meditation, but I find it difficult to pay attention because pixels are so damn boring.

How do I get through this?

Thanks,
Mr. Pixel
Mr Pixel, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Unpleasant pixel-like experience

Posts: 3 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Oh, one more thing I wanted to mention is that in the morning, my meditations are fairly pleasant. In fact, I look forward to them. Sometimes there is anger or anxiety but neither really bother me. I can meditate for about an 45 minutes to an hour with a problem. However, if I meditate a little later in the day, or in the evening, this is where things get really unpleasant. This is so strange. Most of the time I don't meditate in the evening because I just can't take the discomfor or the boredom. I don't know what to do
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Zachary, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Unpleasant pixel-like experience

Posts: 197 Join Date: 3/16/18 Recent Posts
Hello and welcome to the Dharma Overground. 

What you describe is common for meditation practice, the impermanence of sensations of the body (pixels as you say) is was is meant by the term "anicca". It is a characteristic of all experience and it is a good thing to continue to notice in practice. Like you say, we can notice this quality both while meditating and as we go about our day. 

As you mention, the quality and texture of these sensations can change and cycle over time as we continue to practice consistently. If you haven't already, you might benefit from reading about the "Progress of Insight", which describes this process in depth. There are some "Modern Interpretations" of this meditation map further down on the page of this website here that may be of interest. 

When you sit, you might want to try being gently aware of the experience of "boredom" and inability to pay attention. You may discover that the experience of being a "Self" who is directing attention is not as solid an experience as you believed, it is also comprised of impermanent sensations. It might help to get curious and explore what's it like to feel (no need to actually answer them) into the following questions while sitting: 

What is attention? 
Who is directing attention? 
What is the felt experience of attention? 
Is attention doing itself? 
Where is attention located in space? 
What is boredom?
What is the felt experience of boredom?
Where is boredom located in the body?
Where is boredom located in space?
Who is experiencing boredom? 

Gently investigating all of experience, even unpleasant experiences, can yield great insight for us. Really tuning in to the direct experience of boredom, pain and "not knowing what to do" is excellent practice. Hope this is helpful.  
Mr Pixel, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Unpleasant pixel-like experience

Posts: 3 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Thanks Zachary, I actually just finished a meditation retreat. What you described is I think exactly what helped me get through this really unpleasant stage. What I was experiencing as "pixels" has changed in texture and quality a bit. Now experience is much more pleasant, flowing, and vivid. I read about the stages of insight a while back, I think I may be in EQ territory now. Whatever shift has occurred, it feels like a gift. My anxiety has lifted and I can sit for long periods of time in fascination of whatever "this" is. I feel very blessed to have found you guys. I look forward to interacting with you all.