Help needed - very strange problem

William Albert, modified 4 Months ago.

Help needed - very strange problem

Posts: 7 Join Date: 2/5/21 Recent Posts
I'm experiencing something very unusual which I haven't seen written about anywhere.

I read in multiple places that people have "dissolved sensations" by focusing attention on perceived solidity in the body and gradually breaking it up into chunks.  Eventually, this is supposed to phase transform into liquid / gas, and finally to create "flow".  (This is sort of the intention of the Goenka method, I think?)

Anyway, I tried doing this with the sensations behind my eyes / nose.  At first it felt like there was a block of solidity there.  I noticed that with laser like focus, I could "chip off" tiny atoms which were then perceived to float around in my brain space.  If I could trap them or keep them still long enough to focus on them, these chunks could be further broken down into tinier and tinier ones.  I kept at this for weeks and dissolved the entire "block" of solidity into what felt like a grainy liquid (similar to the sensation of spit when you move it between your teeth).  As I swished this liquid around with attention, it continued to dissolve into finer and finer particles, but was felt to take up physical space in my head (which was kind of unpleasant).  As I continued to laser it, this liquid sensation even started to feel more like a gas, taking up more space in my head, moving more freely, and creating some intense and very uncomfortable pressure.  I should also note that after sleeping or taking a break, these sensations had the tendency to "harden" or solidify again, though often not all the way (and were easier to break down again later).

During the course of this, I WAY overdid my concentrating (as I could easily do this dissolving while working or even talking, and it was a little addictive), and the concentration parts of my brain got really really fried.  So much so that I had trouble working or even watching TV.  It felt like I had no juice at all.  I decided I needed to give myself a serious rest, so I tried to basically relax my brain to the max extent possible to let it recover.  This included attempting to ignore the weird liquidy / gaseous sensations completely.  I was hoping they would just resolidify and my brain would recover.

Unfortunately, after 1-2 weeks of this, I started noticing that when I closed my eyes, my right "mind's eye" felt BLIND.  This is a hard sensation to describe, but it is scary as hell.  The feeling of mental blindness is just terrifying.  I realized that in the course of relaxing my brain like this, I had allowed the gaseous cloud of sensations to resolidify IN MY BRAIN like resin.  This created an effect of my brain feeling "sticky" - thoughts simply couldn't bounce around or move naturally... it felt like trying to drag your feet through deep mud.  With great effort and additional concentration, I've been able to "reliquify" the sensations to a degree and partially liberate my brain (though it still feels quite foggy and sticky in certain areas), recreating the gas cloud that constantly moves and creates pressure in my head.  My concentration power is still pretty shot, but I pushed for this out of desperation because my brain felt like it was dying.

What do I do now?  Samadhi / jhanas are basically unavailable right now because of how fried my brain is and these weird sensations get in the way of unification happening.  My only hope is to play the balance between continued efforts at further dissolving while also resting enough to regain my power of concentration.  Perhaps deeper Jhana will then help dissolve this gas cloud into nothing (I hope?)?  

If anyone has ANY advice, it would be tremendously appreciated, as I'm quite scared about what is going on and it is greatly impacting my life.
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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I read in multiple places that people have "dissolved sensations" by focusing attention on perceived solidity in the body and gradually breaking it up into chunks.  Eventually, this is supposed to phase transform into liquid / gas, and finally to create "flow".  (This is sort of the intention of the Goenka method, I think?)
​​​​​​​Basically people can say whatever they want on this site as long as it is on topic and not too profane. You just said you haven't seen anybody post on this topic and then you quote others as having dissolved sensations. You clearly have fried your brain. Welcome to the club? emoticon
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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For the space allocation issues (stuff taking a lot of space) you can try one simple trick: make all the stuff that is in there be able to go through itself. Be careful though, if you start putting too much imaginary matter/mass in one spot all this can collapse in to imaginary black hole emoticon

When eyes are closed there should be no eyesight unless you are actually looking. When both sides of your brain will be on agreement on that and this effect is due to optimization rather than failure then you will find it nice rather than scary.

Nervous system has this issue that when you abuse part of it then it goes to panick mode and you loose functionality. Even this is in a sense beneficial because when stuff shuts down then signals go elsewhere and so mind will condition itself to use other pathways. When than happens you will be more likely to use these pathways in the future even if there is nothing wrong with those which you currently have broken.
William Albert, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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I don't have control over the sensations beyond sort of pushing them around... in gas form they are morphing and changing shape of their own accord.  They are powerful and solid feeling, and placing attention directly on them basically increases this strength.

The eye-feeling-blind-thing is very real.  Try it.  Close your eyes, but try to keep "seeing".  You have a mental eyelid in addition to your physical one.  And likewise, the feeling of being blind in one mental eye parallels the feeling of one eye being taped shut while having the other one open.  Similarly, you can eventually feel your third eye open in just the same way.
Emil Jensen, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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 So reality happened...as it does.
And you don't like it. As is always the case with the conditioned mind.

So now, what is there to do about this "problem"?

Could you investigate it? Could you see this angst as something integral to the path? (Which is IS!)
Could you track it down and study the aspects of it which are mental, physical, emotional, pleasant/unpleasant?

If so, perhaps it would be nice to move around outside your eye/nose area for a change. Perhaps it's time to start turning that fear into gas and forget about your brain region for a bit?

Remember, you're on this path to stop reactivity to shit you experience. ALL KINDS of shit, that is.
And now you're experiencing fear - guess what? It's time to investigate fear!

You don't get to pick and chose exactly what kind of experience you have. You get what's served, it's your job to see it for what it is (shout out to the 3Cs).

Btw, I have mental blindness as I close my eyes right now and I don't care. 
Lack of a certain experience (in this case mental imagery) is not the "problem" here. You pain, your fear, your whatever actually IS happening, is.

Now, I'm off to sound like a know-it-all somewhere else. As you can see, that's what I do.


 
Sam Gentile, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Emil are you back? Its good to see you here. how can we catch up? Do you still have a practice log?
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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I am fully aware of this second mental eyelid thing... since 15-16 years. Opening more eyes than I should have is kinda my hobby.
There are things out there that once seen cannot be unseen... until maybe I do cessation of part of mind which remembers them ;)

Imho practices you do are very good.
I do not think you need much advices.

Only advice I have that is worth giving and one worth giving pretty much universally is that there is difference between having functionality loss and not using functionality. Mind faculties should be always available even if not used.
Having eye consciousness when having eyes closed is pretty useless, it is better to let visual cortex and eyes rest more deeply when they can afford it. When however you want to see like before for a moment this should be possible and when you do it then it should happen for only a moment and not "stick". In healthy development there are changes but everything still works when needed. By that I mean that if somethign suddenly feels like changed and this freaks you out that you are not affraid because you cannot see with half of your brain but because whatever caused this effect to happen is also causing anxiety. I do not even need to wonder what it is that happened, it is obvious. You overloaded your brain and it cra..ed itself out. These things do happen when you practice stuff emoticon

BTW. Control over experiences goes beyond solid-liguid-gassious states. There is also plasma and then when you think it could not get more ridiculous there is quark-gluon plasma. On the other side of things when you go to solidify things you will hit bose-einstein condensate and even before that mind super-conducitivity. Seriously, you can try this ;)
Emil Jensen, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Another physicist here... cool!

listen to Ni Nurta, William. Obviously gas phase is just the noob phase haha
William Albert, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Ni Nurta,

I appreciate the advice and help.  With regards to the mind's eye, I definitely appreciate that resting the mind is good with the eyes closed and helps lead towards unified concentration as long as dullness doesn't creep in.  In my case though, I noticed a big difference between the "inner eyelid closed" feeling and "inner eye BLIND" feeling.  The blind feeling felt Not Good.  While I appreciate all the comments about dealing with suffering, fear, etc., my response to that is there is a time and place for that part of the work.  When your leg is fractured, you might want to go to the doc rather than experience the pain with equanimity, ya know?  This feels like something is no-kidding wrong with my brain and debilitates normal thinking.

Regarding the dissolving into plasma, etc., may I ask how the sensation differs and also, what is the point?  Is there an "end state" to this dissolving, or is it just about reaching different levels of clarity, concentration, and observing impermanence?

Also, upon close inspection, it appears that "lasering" with attention inside my head has sort of worn a pathway in my mind that "auto-concentrates/contracts", making this action start to feel automatic and highly resistant to any other intention (such as to relax/expand).  How do you deal with this?
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David Matte, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Dear William,

My first impression is that it appears your mind has concocted a lot of stories about these sensations, that being what the sensations have done to parts of the body or preventing you from doing, as well as a lot of judgement about them. 

​​​​​​​I think what would help here is to adopt an orientation to these sensations that is about letting them be as they are.
If there is fear and terror, ok, look at that, that is also sensations that can be broken down. Weird sensations or unpleasant sensations?  Great. Just be equanimous with bare sensations. When you're not equanimous, the sensations get a story attached to them I.e. "These sensations are weird and funny feeling. I don't like them!" This is all made up story, not truth. The truth is the bare sensation. So stay with that.

Peace
William Albert, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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David, I certainly appreciate that advice and understand that point of view.  I can do that to a point; but when this brain activity interferes with my ability to think, work, and sleep, it gets to the point where I feel the need to switch into problem-solving mode.  (The problem is severe enough that I have gotten very little REM sleep in the last 2 weeks.  My brain literally can't function correctly even when unconscious.)

This whole path is a very tricky internal journey of trial and error, and I keep making wrong turns; the problem-solving seems integral to correcting those mistakes, learning lessons from them, and returning towards forward momentum.  I realize that in the grand scheme of things "everything is the path," but that is less helpful when troubleshooting certain obstacles like this one.
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David Matte, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Hi,

If it's really causing functional problems for you, my advise would be to stop practising vipassana as you're doing by tuning attention to and investigating sensations and proceed in your life by remaining equanimous to the effects and sensations you're currently experiencing.

By doing what you're doing, drilling down on sensations, it's expected that sort of investigation leads to strange effects and experiences. If you start that up practise again, I recommend taking it slow and easy.

​​​​​​​I hope you will feel better soon. I believe you will.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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It sounds to me like you have been messing with energies in a way that is dangerous. Please get help from someone who not only knows their stuff with regard to energy work but also knows how to teach it safely! I might be wrong, but I don't think that there are many people here that qualifies. My teacher Michael Taft always warns about this. The good news is that he overdid energy work when he was younger and he was able to recover, so you probably can too. I don't think pressing yourself into doing more of it is the right way, though. I recommend sending an email to Daniel and mark it URGENT, to ask if he knows someone who can help. I'll send a PM to Michael to ask the same thing. 

It doesn't sound like vipassana is the problem, but the focus on controlling energy manually on a microlevel, using a finite mind. That's dangerous shit. The more specific, the more dangerous. Energy isn't some separate thing. It's emptiness coming into form and form coming into emptiness. It's your entire being and entire reality you are messing with. I'm sounding utterly woo woo right now, but I'm taking this very seriously. 

You are not supposed to make things dissolve, just observe when it happens on its own. That's a HUGE difference.
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Only dangerous thing is panicking and going to theraphy. It ruin lives and definitely ruins self-esteem. That is why all the people who go to theraphy are always recommending it. They do not do that because it is helpful emoticon

As long as person uses tried and always working method DNGAF* then everything will be fine, even situations where half of the brain failed*. Neurons did a strike so what? We obviously do not like unions but respecting human right means respecting neurons rights to form unions and do strikes. There is nothing here that requires immediate attention. While this happens rest of the brain will have to learn to live without this part which took a vacation and this in the end can lead to good outcomes. Not sure what good outcome can come from going to theraphy though.

*) read: Do Not Give A F****
**) Not sure if that is true for whole brain though... someone needs to take the risk and test it emoticon
---------------
@WA
Functionality loss is surely different than hitting sweetspot of optimization.
Hopefully you will learn a thing or two from this experience. There are warning signs when neurons are like 'please do not push us any further, pleeeaaaaaseeeee!!!!1' and when you push they go on strike. Next time you will be more hesitant to go beyond this point. At least I was. I intuitively knew that enough is enough.

The best meditation practice one can do is just breathing. Do nothing and take slow paceful breaths in and then breaths out. Chilling.
That and doing cessations but if you do not know how to reset mind then concentrate on breathing. If it feels too much like powered up Shamatha practice then chill the practice down to non-practice levels. Take mind out of your failed hemisphere and just breathe.

Sounds like a plan?
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J W, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Ni Nurta
Only dangerous thing is panicking and going to theraphy. It ruin lives and definitely ruins self-esteem. That is why all the people who go to theraphy are always recommending it. They do not do that because it is helpful emoticon

As long as person uses tried and always working method DNGAF* then everything will be fine, even situations where half of the brain failed*. 


Kind of an ignorant and unskillful thing to say, IMHO.

Of course, a therapist is different from a dharma teacher. I don't see anyone here saying otherwise.

​​​​​​​emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Just to clarify if it wasn't clear: I wasn't suggesting therapy. I suggested a dharma teacher who is qualified with regard to energy work and all its pitfalls. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Also, even though it might be possible to be totally equanimous about things like half the brain going on a strike, I'd say that it's preferable not having to go through that. 

I'm saying this as someone who had my nervous system fried by a spontaneous Kundalini arising before I started any systematic practice. That was more than a decade ago and I still haven't fully recovered, even though I nowadays on the whole feel healthier than I did before it happened.

So while it's probably better not to panic about what has already happened, I strongly recommend not doing any further damage by pushing too hard. 

Of course, diagnosing a stranger online is always risky business. Maybe you didn't mess with energies the way it sounds like to me. Maybe you are just going through a dissolution ñana phase after an A&P ñana with great clarity and concentration. That can definitely feel like everything stagnates and your brain stops working. It makes concentration go to pieces temporarily. Or maybe you fried yourself AND are going through that cycle; one doesn't preclude the other (it's actually most often the case that they go together). In any case, please don't go all macho about the laser focus. It doesn't work in the dissolution ñana and the following dukkha ñanas anyway (if this doesn't make sense to you at all, it will if you read up on the progress of insight in MCTB2 as recommended above). 

I'm pretty sure that you went through an Arising and Passing away, an A&P (see MCTB2), as that's when concentration and clarity spike in that laser sharp way. That's also when some practicioners find that they are able to move around energy and manipulate it (I'm one of them). The A&P doesn't last, but is bound to tip over into something wider, and as that starts, the ability to focus vanishes. It's the mind gradually adapting to the wider awareness, and at first the adaptation... well... sucks. So that's completely normal and will happen on a regular basis, although gradually you will realize that the being that experiences it isn't you. So no panic there. But it sounds to me like you weren't just able to play around with energy in a shallow way, but overdid it. That can mess things up badly. Now some practicioners, like Ni Nurta, seem to be able to go full Kamikaze over and over again and come out of it just fine. I wouldn't bet on it, though. Not the full Kamikaze style. I believe that it's much safer to trust that the dance between emptiness and form knows its own turns better than any of us can plan for as individuals. 
Bames Jond, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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I second Linda's opinion that it sounds like you may have messed around with energy in your head far too much.

I have to ask, where did you learn this paradigm for dissolving where you go solid to liquid, liquid to gas?

This is the exact paradigm of qi dissolving presented in the book Opening the Energy Gates Qigong by Bruce Frantzis. Have you read it? In there, and in some of his other work, he repeatedly emphasizes the importance of NOT messing around with individual energy centers in the skull, and instead only dissolving the entire brain at once. In the accompanying online class, he goes on even more about the dangers of these practices and mentions that people often have a "psychic itch" to mess around with this stuff even when they are warned. He compares it to Russian roulette, says some portion of the time people come up empty and win a bunch of money (get huge spiritual benefits by developing subtle energies in the psychic energy center) but other times people come up on a bullet. For my money, I wouldn't advise you follow Ni Nurta's advice, but my inclination is towards caution with energy work and I understand the allure of rapid, powerful progress.

In any case, Bruce Frantzis, or one of his senior students (for example Bill Ryan, who is some sort of a healer) would likely be an ideal person to contact regarding this. I am quite confident that they could help you or know of someone who can. I don't think Frantzis actively practices medical qigong anymore but he lived in China on and off for ten years as a qigong doctor who apparently specialized in people with messed up upper dantiens due to energy practices gone wrong. In theory, he's the guy for this issue. In my opinion, it can't hurt to talk to one of them. You can always disregard their advice and keep practicing hard.

Note this posted is based off quite limited personal experience. Though I do have some basic facility with energy work I haven't had any close calls like this. Personally, I have believed in the clear potential and obvious power of energy practices from the beginning. I have treated them with a lot of respect and caution. That's why I liked Frantzis' system which emphasizes a fundamentally yin approach. But hey, maybe I'm deluding myself.
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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 I am not advising doing these practices further (well, I did mention plasma... but that was obviously a half joke half "what might be possible to try after my brain works again" kind of comment) and rather to calm down and chill out breathing. Obviously guy who visualize solids, then liquids then gasses should go next to visualizing plasma... duh emoticon
Just not necessarily now ;)

What will teacher tell to William A if not to calm down, breath slowly and gently notice how everything is slowly and by itself healing? Nothing he probably do not know already. It is the same with therapists and other such institutions. There is nothing really anyone can tell anyone when it comes to this stuff that person does not already know. Everyone knows that the best way to heal mind and soul is by calm down and breathe. This is the first thing that comes to mind when sheet hits the fan. What is then purpose of bothering other people?

I will tell you: to speed sheet up!
People seek teachers/therapy because they cannot be bothered to wait for their stuff to slowly heal, they instead want experience relief as fast as possible but they do not know how to do it by themselves so they waste time seeking it elsewhere.
The same energy that pushes them to seek outside help is the one that causes them to injure themselves. Relief should really be one of the fetters imho. All the liberation nonsense is fetter. Improvements happen and knowledge happens, all will happen when it happens when person practices right practices in right way and of course to know what is right one probably will take few turns in the wrong direction. That is normal way how we learn.

My advice is to slow down with extreme practices and wait patiently until brain self heals. It always worked and it always took as much time as it would otherwise take or less.
This healing will take time. Weeks, months and even years. I would not go as far as to 'decades' because it doesn't sound that serious but definitely nothing that will be quick and there is definitely no good way to speed anything up. It just cannot be helped so might as well make good use of the situation and observe what brain/mind does with the current situation and do proper cause-effect analysis as to how did you end up having half of the brain working while other half is still working. There is always value with self observation and here value will be learning how to do recovery of your brain and how to not let this to happen again. And most importantly: learning to be patient. Like in waiting patiently, not like in speeding things up. Of course there are ways to speed things up but surprise surprise, teachers won't ever tell you them. Why? Because patience my friend, patience is the greatest virtue... emoticon

BTW. On the other note: @WA if you feel this stuff that happened to you is medical in nature then please do seek medical help emoticon
Probably not, I would say you just overloaded parts of your brain with visualizations as did I in the past doing somewhat similar practices. That is why I am not super worried about this. More smoke and mirrors in these terribly looking effects than actual issues. Probably at least emoticon

One other thought that came to me is that maybe after you breathe for a while try unblocking your mind by putting awareness on the place that feels blocked and do not do much there, just keep awareness and maybe try to move energy (in its normal phase/state, not change it) a little, not forcing it but more like moving around sensations so they go through blocked place. This is the best practice for chakras and blocked chakras are kinda like functionality loss similar to how I imagine you feel when you close eyes. When chakra is opened it means part of the nervous system which didn't let signals through now lets signals through and it feels like these places process stuff, just like eg. visual cortex process stuff. Normal nervous system woes. Unblocking such places is neither hard nor takes very long when it comes to practice-time (if you do it slowly you do it not a lot at one time!) but it takes days to weeks. I would not advice to do it right away but wait until you do not feel there is an issue there. Wait until it all feels a little stagnant but otherwise not as very big issue that needs immediate attention. You cannot bother poor neurons too much and I would imagine if you feel this as a big issue there is a lot of activity when they do not really want now any activity at all. That is why better to just breathe slowly and deeply and do not think about half of your brain shutting down.

@Linda 
What I said earlier about reasons why people recommend going to therapy was not very nice.
It is human tendency for more people do what they do no matter what it is and I am doing the same here pretty much emoticon
However all reasons for doing something are valid, more or less but they all are. I just wanted to highlight it and actually issues with self-esteem were for me big reason why NOT to go to therapy when I had issues and not to seek teachers/book when I had questions.

Another thing is how much effort are you going to put in to figuring things out when there is someone who is supposed to tell you this stuff? I know I expect to be handed stuff. That is why I avoided external teachers like plague. I did learn from them but not how to solve stuff but how they solved stuff. There is a big difference. Hope you understand.

The better the teacher the less student will actually learn. That is why life is the best teacher because it tells you nothing about how but only "watch out! this thing running in our direction with giant teeth doesn't look very friendly at all" emoticon
 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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I didn't find it unfriendly, Ni Nurta, so no worries there. I'm a big fan of listening to the body as I learned that the hard way myself, and I waited with a lot of patience, so I can appreciate where you are coming from. I recommended seeking qualified help not so much to speed things up but rather to avoid messing things up further. I'm thinking that pragmatically speaking it will heal faster if one doesn't keep messing it up by trying the wrong stuff to fix it. Now, if one is really good at listening to the body, it's an awesome teacher. I think we both agree on that. But there are so many people out there who keep pushing when they shouldn't, and there are good teachers who can help with how to get more in touch with what the body communicates (often because they learned it the hard way themselves and made many different kinds of mistakes and messed up badly before learning). I'm sorry your teachers didn't - and truly glad that you were able to heal on your own and learn so much from it. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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I am often hung up in not what body communicates but how it communicates. Gotta bring this noise to signal ratio down to let signals through... Content of the signals is only interesting if those are control signals. The rest is just data to move around.

My issues were like small injuries during construction. I was more worried about construction direction than its growing pains. There was never need for anyone to oversee what I was creating or change its direction. I could ask someone to support me at any time I wanted and I do not think my request would be refused. In fact I did ask for support at times and I know how to do it and what it entails.

It all depends on what you do and your situation is.
I knew what I was doing hence no need for a teachers. It might not look like it but focused mind never looks like anything.
If the goal is getting relief then yeah, the teacher is needed.

Back to fun stuff maybe

There are three phases of matter:
- creation
- use
- destruction

The creation of new mind means destroying the old. This might be turbulent at times, some beings might not like it. Normal stuff.
There need to be understanding of this cycle.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Well, not everybody can afford for instance a decade of severe brain fog. (Lacking the right nuance of smiley here) I was raising a kid when I got mine, and that was not a good combination. 

​​​​​​​I respect your journey, though. Thouroghly interesting. 
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Oatmilk, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Nothing to do about it, it's most likely just some story of the mind. Don't believe in it, don't do something about it. It will pass, just chill out. 
William Albert, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

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Thanks all for the advice, it's much appreciated.  Cool that there is even a forum like this to ask these kinds of questions.  For context, I have read MCTB2 cover to cover and am definitely familiar with the insight path as described there (as well as multiple other books on the topic).

In multiple accounts of those who have attained 4th path, there is a time in their journey when they describe dissolving the sensations behind the eyes / face, which is supposed to have the effect of "unhooking" awareness from feeling like it is centralized in the head.  This is what I was trying to do.  Frank Yang (a YouTube personality and genuine Arahant, as best as I can tell) used Goenka-style body scanning prior to stream entry, and was the one that speaks about dissolving sensations from Solid > Liquid > Gas > Plasma.  Shinzen Young also kind of describes increasing Clarity + Concentration in this way.  So, that's what I was attempting when doing this (and figured it might also strengthen concentration--though I overdid it bigtime).

Here's another kink in my story though... When I first began meditating about 14 months ago, I started with a Kriya yoga technique that involved concentration on the 3rd eye area.  I tend to go all-in on things (I'm working on it), and so I did this very precisely with great power.  One session I felt this powerful pin-prick of radiating nerve energy right in the middle of my head.  After that, it spread like a match lighting on fire--long story short, my pineal gland went through a 2-month long process of decalcifying itself and "waking up" by basically turning into a ball of electricty until all the hard stuff was burnt away (I could feel all of this--and barely slept at all during this time).  Since then, it has calmed down but is now "alive" (wild visions in my sleep that go far beyond dreams, and it still is vibrating like a dildo when I wake up from deep sleep cycles).  I still don't know what it is exactly or how to control it or use it, but here I am.

All that being said, I'm not entirely convinced that what I'm feeling is actually "energy" rather than something more physical/electrical.  It feels possible to me that the solidity I was breaking down was in fact piezo-electric calcite residue from this weird pineal gland process, and perhaps this stuff in my head is the remnants of that further dissolving into a mist?  WHO KNOWS, but that theory well-describes my experience (especially the way concentration tends to "harden" the sensations and drive them to expand).

In terms of attitude I am very seriously working to remain equanimous, observe all sensations without trying to control them, and gently move my focus around to "stir the pot" in my brain while respecting the neuron strike.  I am very aware of the reification of concepts and stories, so please understand I'm not taking my own speculation that seriously, but rather bounching ideas around to help problem-solve.  My concentration "juice" still hasn't recovered, so it makes sense this will take some time.  I am not particularly emotional or distraught (despite how my post may sound), but this is definitely a challenging time.  I'm deep enough into the Path to know it tests you to your capacity at times.  (For context, I think I'm post A&P, pre-stream entry (no cessations), but have noted significant changes in visual perception since beginning daily vipassana 6 months ago; everything looks very CLEAR, and the quality of awareness jumps out at me all the time, especially outdoors).

I would love referrals to talk to Michael Taft or anyone else that might be helpful.  I also intend to email Daniel with a detailed account to ask for his advice.  I'll keep you guys updated as things progress.  Again, much love and gratitude for your help.
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

Posts: 2116 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
William Albert
I am very aware of the reification of concepts and stories, so please understand I'm not taking my own speculation that seriously, but rather bounching ideas around to help problem-solve. 

My experience with energetic stuff is that it's only a problem if you view it as a problem!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

Posts: 5981 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
When that stance goes along with "...so I/you might as well keep doing this", it takes a lot of people into serious trouble with both mental and physical illnesses. I don't think you meant it like that, but wanted to add the nuance explicitly. 
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

Posts: 2116 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Thanks for the clarification!

William, you could also try focussing lower down in the body to rebalance things, eg sensations of rising and falling in the abdomen. That might sound like I'm going against my own advice and "problem-solving", but a lot of this stuff comes down to identifying and relaxing ingrained patterns of resistance. Using a tight focus on one particular area and over-thinking things can actually be a form of resistance, compared with a wider attentional stance and "going with the flow".
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Help needed - very strange problem

Posts: 5981 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I'm sorry to say that Michael hasn't responded to my question. I suspect he has a lot on his plate at the moment. I guess you could always try Willowby Britton. There was a suggestion above that sounded like a potentially great fit too. I'd check him out first.

As for dissolving that last knot, that can wait, can't it? Maybe go for stream entry first? By the time it's actually time to dissolve the last knot, you'll no longer be going at it from the position of an assumed (subconsciously at least) separate and continuous doer with all the egoic driving forces at play. That will make a huge difference.

Energy isn't some separate substance. It manifests physically. Targeting a specific point in one's brain with strong concentration is exactly the kind of energy work that can mess with your health, especially if you are prone to overdoing it. Don't mess with this kind of stuff on your own! You'll probably heal, but please learn from the lesson! Advanced energy work is a set of power tools that should only be used with great skill and caution. Daniel refers to stream entry as spiritual Kindergarten. You wouldn't give a chain saw to a toddler, would you?

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