Dump it out of your feet

Jeremy P, modified 12 Years ago at 11/12/09 2:09 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/12/09 2:09 PM

Dump it out of your feet

Posts: 5 Join Date: 11/12/09 Recent Posts
...or that's my understanding of the advice I was given on Chan (Zen) retreat last weekend.

During a Q&A session I told the monastic that I was occasionally experiencing wobbling during my sits. It's free moving and I have the choice to repress it (which seems counter to my meditation progress), let it go and watch it, or join and accentuate it. Typically I go with watching it and find it to be pleasant.

The monastic said it sounded like chi moving in the body and I agree. His advice was-- and this is where I could use someone's experience-- to focus on the bubbling well of the foot and allow the energy to pass through. For the Chan (Zen) tradition, I think I see why. It seems they want stillness of the body first and foremost in cultivating awareness.

For me, I don't find the wobbling distracting or problematic, but I am still a beginner (between A&P and stream entry). Has anyone found this energy to be particularly useful or impeding in their practice? Have advice for handling it?
Jeremy P, modified 12 Years ago at 11/12/09 4:23 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/12/09 4:23 PM

RE: Dump it out of your feet

Posts: 5 Join Date: 11/12/09 Recent Posts
if it helps describe the feeling, the wobbles (which I've been experiencing off and on in front of my computer today) have a pulsing feeling to them and have a frequency of about 3-4 Hz. Daniel mentions 5-7 Hz vibrations as part of the dark night and these would be a little slower by my watch.

That said, I don't have a clear understanding of what a vibration is, but I have perceived things in the 5-10 Hz range during uncomfortable sits before and this feels a little different. That said, I did have a few A&P type experiences over the weekend and could be dark nighting.
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Florian, modified 12 Years ago at 11/13/09 1:47 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/13/09 1:47 AM

RE: Dump it out of your feet (Answer)

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Jeremy

Disclaimer: I'm not an "energy" expert, just a meditator who notices and recognized some of this stuff. Also, I'm not particularly advanced insight-wise. Just so you can place my comments.

One way to look at this is: it's a bunch of sensations, so note them, if you're doing noting practice, or do whatever it is you do in your practice. Skin itches, breath streaming through nostrils, chi gyrating around ankles - it's all the same.

Another approach to the energy stuff would be to try to manipulate, guide, dump out of feet - and I'm really out of my depth here. Maybe I've been lucky so far, but with me, these phenomena have never been too annoying or disruptive (similar to but distinct from: mild headache, queasy stomach, lump-in-throat), so I just let them do their thing.

I think both approaches are useful - treating the energy stuff as just another set of sensations is the thing to in a "pure" insight meditation context. Active energy work is the thing for an energy workout. There are mixed approaches, maybe your teacher uses that, judging from his suggestion; Ven. Thanissaro's breath meditation also has a fairly active "energy" component.

If you've just transitioned from a&p to dark night, then some tranquility/concentration exercise such as "dumping" energy out of your feet is a really good thing - Kenneth once suggested that the big shifts a&p/dark night, and re-observation/equanimity are good times to pump up concentration/tranquility.

Oh, and "Vibrations", the way I understand the term, is simply: "how often do I notice a sensation".

Cheers,
Florian
Jeremy P, modified 12 Years ago at 11/13/09 12:41 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/13/09 12:41 PM

RE: Dump it out of your feet

Posts: 5 Join Date: 11/12/09 Recent Posts
Thanks Florian,
My thoughts are similar to yours and it's nice to hear some support for them. Right, I feel like it's just something else for me to note, so why not. I think the Chan school is wary about noting practice, since they seem to have a different approach to meditation that might confuse students if they note too much.

Your direction towards tranquility sounds like the advice I'm looking for right now. I'm a bit wrecked in the afterglow of this short retreat and might be dark nighting pretty good right now. I'll try it out for a little while and see if it gets me past this stuff. If I'm tranquil, I do want to look into it some more. Seems like there's got to be something to learn watching this happen.

The monastic leading the retreat was quick to say that not too many people experience this during meditation. My guess as to why I am is that I've been doing martial arts for ~10 years and tend to play with energy. I'm probably doing this out of habit while I sit.

Florian "Monkeymind" Weps:
Oh, and "Vibrations", the way I understand the term, is simply: "how often do I notice a sensation".


Ok, I've experienced that, so this synchs me up with the language. thanks.

Jeremy
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 12 Years ago at 11/19/09 12:51 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/19/09 12:51 AM

RE: Dump it out of your feet

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Wiggling during sitting: usually mid-first vipassana jhana, such as Cause and Effect and Three Characteristics. Just because you have crossed the A&P doesn't mean you won't cycle back through that territory to work up again. Also can be early A&P. Usually the Dark Night doesn't do this, and Equanimity is more likely to produce head drops than wiggling. Thus, the notion that it is Chi is useful, as those early ├▒anas have a chi-heavy feel to them, which is normal.

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Jeremy P, modified 12 Years ago at 11/19/09 11:26 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 11/19/09 11:26 AM

RE: Dump it out of your feet

Posts: 5 Join Date: 11/12/09 Recent Posts
That's interesting. I hadn't tried to correlate the stage with the motion, but I'm curious to look into it now. I have only had time for short sittings this week, but I'll see if this comes up again over the weekend. Yeah, anything that helps me understand where I am is helpful. Thanks.

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