Intense Chunky "Strobing" Taking Place Inside of the Head

Jim Jam, modified 4 Months ago.

Intense Chunky "Strobing" Taking Place Inside of the Head

Posts: 2 Join Date: 1/3/21 Recent Posts
Hey Dharma Overground! I would like to preface this by saying that I am incredibly thankful for the wisdom and aid people put forth on this forum, and I wish you all the best. I also apologize if this is not the correct place for this question, and I can move it if need be.  I just have a question about the new territory I have been facing recently, and want to make sure that I am moving in a positive direction as I have no Dhamma teacher other than a few books.

I have been meditating in the Mahasi noting style for about a year now, starting off slow but now I often reach over an hour of sitting meditation a day with walking meditation interspersed between. I have had a great deal of progress with the more that I meditate and the more effort I put into the practice, especially within the last three or so months.

Around three or so months I began to notice "looking" as a sensation. For example, if I hear a noise, my mind will register the noise, and then the muscles of my face "strain" in the direction of the noise creating the sense of looking at something. This can also be applied to the looking phenomena. Except what is looking at the first phenomena is another phenomenon in my mind. I began to note this as just, "feeling, feeling," or "straining, straining," or something of the sort which was all well and good. What has followed since has been far more interesting than even that.

I have, for the past month or so, noticed a great breakdown in how these sensations appear. In fact almost all of the sensations that I notice. They appear, "chunky," and "irritable," and often when I am attempting to note this I can see in real-time my mental attempt to note break down and become chunky as well. This has led to some problems as noting has become difficult in the way I did it prior. I have to do sort of "big picture" notes to even capture the sensations I have been feeling. This has also led to some difficulty in my normal work life, as when I am working I get these crazy chunky vibrations in my mind that are downright distracting, painful, and cause mental strain. Another few words that come to mind for this sensation are, "drums" "deep" "unstoppable" etc. Even right now I can feel my noticing mind strobing in and out. It is rather distracting and aggressive.

So my real question is how do I proceed? Noting seems harder than ever, and I only have real success when I try to note the big picture because the individual sensations are long gone by the time I can actually note them. Something else that I have been trying that feels somewhat more comfortable and "wider" focused is just asking myself, "What is this?" (as per the koan) on every out-breath. It helps me see the sensations in a broader light, but it isn't the noting I am used to.  Are either of these strategies correct? Thank you all in advance.
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Intense Chunky "Strobing" Taking Place Inside of the Head

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
It's never cleared up completely. 
​​​​​​​Shamatha, my friend, is what you need. Sounds like dark night.
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Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Intense Chunky "Strobing" Taking Place Inside of the Head

Posts: 74 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
Welcome Jim Jam! Indeed it sounds like you are progressing, well done on your effort and dedication! My recommendation is to follow your natural instinct and to go open-wide and deep:
- Drop the Noting (i.e. the mental note) for now, you can alsways come back to it again if you feel it is needed. Stick to Noticing (i.e. being aware of the sensations coming and going, vibrating in and out, where they are as they are).
- Going wide on ideally all sense doors. You can still use e.g. the breath as your object but include all bodily, auditory and visuals sensations as well, and try to really clearly percieve them as they are, where they are, if you are not doing already.
- A Dietrich Ringle's recommendation to go deeper on concentration/shamatha. E.g. if during your sits you are inclined towards third-jhana (dhonut-shaped attention, blurred in the center, the periphery strangely on focus, colder calmer bliss in the body) or fourth-jhana (open-wide-everything-on-focus attention and equanimity/neutral bliss sensation in the body), let it really soak and go really deep into these states whilst remaining aware of the sensations coming and going.

​​​​​​​You might be in a place where koans/self enquiry type of stuff works better - e.g. Who is doing the watching? who is moving this body? Who tells the body to get up from the sofa? Who is thinking these thoughts? Who is moving this chest as you breathe in and out. I personnally progressed immencely through self-enquiry.

One thing to add: If any upleasant sensations show up, as they quite often naturally do, go deep into them, really sense them deeply, profoundly, clearly as these flickery vibrations that come and go but also in terms of their bare undeniable upleasantness

Keep up the good work
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Pepe ·, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Intense Chunky "Strobing" Taking Place Inside of the Head

Posts: 451 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hi Jim, welcome to DhO!

What helped me during the Dukkha Ñanas was to note/notice the end of the sensations/thoughts, not the beginning or the peak of them. The end of sounds, the rest state after the out-breath, etc are good places to be when needed to cool down, specially if one have been doing some kind of speed-noting. There are many tools available for this such as relaxing and smiling (Bhante Vimalaramsi), noting 'Gones' (Shinzen Young), whole breathing for TMI Stage 5 (Culadasa). Small dosis of self-inquiry helped me stay tuned to those restful states, but exploring and accepting thoughts, emotions and urges is what clicked for me.

Below some pointers from Shargrol, a seasoned meditator, that may be of help:

Shargrol’s Structured Noting Practice Sample
Every yogi should have multiple techniques in their toolbox if they wish to attain Stream Entry
Alternating Samatha and Dzogchen
- Ken Mc Leod's Four Gears Approach 
Dark Night nanas: physical vs mental people
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Intense Chunky "Strobing" Taking Place Inside of the Head

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Think about Stream Entry and it's place in the householder's vision thusly:
You will become confused. Your good karma will carry you through. Stream Entry
You will become more confused. Your good karma will carry you through. 2nd Path
You will become even more confused. Your good karma will carry you through. 3rd Path.
​​​​​​​You will spread your confusion around. It would be a disrespect to call this 4th path. It's a moment of bliss.
Jim Jam, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Intense Chunky "Strobing" Taking Place Inside of the Head

Posts: 2 Join Date: 1/3/21 Recent Posts
Thanks so much to all of you that replied to this, I really appreciate it and it seems that my general inclination seems to be correct. I think I will try to develop some more samatha, and attempt a broader focus in my efforts. Only performing a mental note when needed and when I begin to stray.

I especially appreciate Pepe's links to Shargrol's posts. I have used that resource before but the specific ones you listed there were excellent - especially the one about the ability for The Dark Knight to be physical as well as emotional. The sentiments represented there feel more like I am feeling, but I was doubtful that I was experiencing something dark knight-related as I have heard it to be more emotionally strenuous than what I am experiencing. Who knows though, at the end of the day it doesn't matter.

To Dietrich Ringle, I'm not necessarily sure what you're saying, but I feel plenty confused already and hope for more. emoticon I wish you all the best.
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Intense Chunky "Strobing" Taking Place Inside of the Head

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
I'm having a particularly good Tuesday Wednesday combo. So take that advice (prophecy?) as you will?

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