Body shakes, shadow demon and electrical chest pulses/spasms

David asdf, modified 1 Year ago at 6/11/22 4:47 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 6/11/22 4:47 PM

Body shakes, shadow demon and electrical chest pulses/spasms

Post: 1 Join Date: 6/11/22 Recent Posts
Hi everyone, first time posting in Dharma overground. I've been browsing the web and discussion forms trying to locate experiences that resemble mine with no luck. For some reason after years of having some of the same body experiences I decided to actually make a post asking for advice in help with terminology, what is occurring, and advice. Maybe this is a place for me to finally just write it down.

I've been meditating daily for almost 4 years. 50-60 minutes a day. I've been to two goenka 10 day retreats (great results). I've practiced Samantha breathing mostly. The mind illuminated, some metta, vipassana (mostly only on retreat) shinzens labeling and more recently internal family system parts model. A typical meditation now starts off with attention to breath, if thats difficult I'll try labeling for a few minutes then I might do a body scan for relaxation, then come back to my breath and attempt concentration some more. If concentration is still poor, I may lead into IFS and connect with my parts. I do this gradually without putting much intention into it. It seems to feel natural and integrated when I attempt this progression, but I can also see how this is jumping between practices.

I'm writing this to address two occurrences that may be the same and have been going on for some time. Ever since my 1st Goenka retreat 2.5 years ago I get these vibrations coming from my chest. Almost certain it isn't a heart murmur or an actual medical disorder. I'll attempt to describe this as the feeling of a muscle spasm release occurring in the chest. It feels like an electrical jolt that emanates outwards, sometimes very powerfully. It's under a couple layers into the rib cage. I get them meditating, or if I take some edibles (I get extreme anxiety under thc), or just resting before I sleep. In my 2nd Goenka retreat these became crazy powerful. Basically a giant thud of electrical tension releases in the entire chest region pulsating out every 30 seconds to a minute where as typically its every hour or just in the evening. In a way they feel good when they release, but more or less its neutral and somewhat distracting, but not painful. Ongoing daily for 2 years, and increases in frequency and power the calmer or concentrated my meditations become. Do you know the feeling of holding back a cry in the chest region? It feels like the release of that. No emotions or mental images have ever been associated with these.

The 2nd maybe related body experience I'm unable to make sense of is this secondary shadow self that pulls when I'm in deep meditation. Kind of like those old 3d glasses blue/red. When you look a regular objects its shifts into distortions? My body feels like this with a large gravitational force pulling one side. This is very intense and kind of painful. I used to spend time just releasing it by relaxing my muscles or  ending my meditation will immediately cause it to go away. I realized relaxing might just be a form of running away from this shadow self, so I started practicing IFS on this part. A few times the part took control (in an unexplainable way) and I had violent full body shakes and vibrations. It isn't awful but not enjoyable either. Feels like a demon is in me and wants to come out.

I live a pretty healthy life. I'm not depressed but I'm also not happy. I don't feel love, which makes me think more metta should be involved. I've been told I'm hard to read and deeply closed off even though I can be outgoing and only close friends notice. I definitely feel like I'm just existing and waiting to die but this is the only thing I can do in the meantime. I don't know if these disclaimers mean anything.

Does anyone know whats going on?  Thanks.
Niels Lyngsø, modified 1 Year ago at 6/13/22 1:18 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 6/13/22 1:18 PM

RE: Body shakes, shadow demon and electrical chest pulses/spasms

Posts: 414 Join Date: 11/15/19 Recent Posts
Hello David!

Thank you for sharing your experience here.

First of all: Do get a medical check if you have the slightest suspicion that something physical might be wrong! Alway important to rule that out first.

Secondly: What you describe is not that uncommon. In fact it's a wellknown side effect of meditation, especially intensive meditation. Depending on who you ask, you can get a lot of different explanations as to what it actually is: A Christian might consider it a demon, a Hindu might call it a kundalini related problem, a Daoist practioner might talk about chi and getting the bodily energy into the proper channels etc. There are, in short, lots of different metaphysical frameworks to understand this phenomenon by. I recommend that you don't get lost in all that, since no imaginative theoretical explanation will solve your problem.

I say this as a yogi who has had a lot of these bodily energy phenoma going on the last couple of years, both very painful, completely neutral and very blissfull ones.

My advice would be to focus on the practical aspects, and be kind to your self and to this energetic phenomenon. Do some gentle experiments, perhaps with some yoga, tai chi, qui gong etc. And ask your self: How can this thing express itself without becoming too overwhelming for me? What would it take? Can I do it alone? Would it be nice (and possible) to meditate with someone else, perhaps go on another type of retreat than the Goenka course (in the Goenka tradition they generally don't want to talk about these energetic experiences, and will probably just say "observe it", no matter what you present – which is good advice most of the time, but not alway sufficient).

And/or start a practice log here on Dharma overground and report your experiences on a regular basis. Then hopefully some of the yogis here who are more experienced than I am might chime in with some good practical advice as you go along.

Best wishes!
Joshua DeMers, modified 1 Year ago at 5/17/23 5:05 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/17/23 5:05 PM

RE: Body shakes, shadow demon and electrical chest pulses/spasms

Post: 1 Join Date: 5/17/23 Recent Posts
Hi there,

I'm curious what you've learned about these phenomena. Found your post doing a search as I have been experiencing rather similar phenomena. 

We seem to have in common the repression throughout life of emotional expression and the sense that there is some shadow demon part of the psyche opposing the intention to be better, happier, what-have-you. 

​​​​​​​I also have become curious about IFS and wonder if parts work has helped with the physical manifestations? My electrical spasms often originate in the heart or neck regions, or in the feet, and cause a kind of "jump" of the whole body, sometimes lifting me off the ground or my seat.