Body initiating movements by itself (kinda feels and looks like exorcism)

Johannes Schlechter, modified 1 Year ago at 5/8/23 11:54 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/8/23 11:54 AM

Body initiating movements by itself (kinda feels and looks like exorcism)

Posts: 3 Join Date: 5/8/23 Recent Posts
Hey everyone,

I've been having some weird phenomenoms since one year and I'm curious if some of you can point me to some literature or give me a hint how to proceed with it since I'm only guessing by myself what to do with it.

First time I noticed some body parts of mine moving by itself was while sitting a goenka vipassana retreat.  It started very subtle, muscels contracting and letting go in tiny parts of my back and neck. It started like this and didn't come up again until I did a mdma therapy session where I did nothing but lying down watching my body shaking, contracting and letting go in a much bigger style. I simply observed my body and it felt to me like it was cleaning/healing itself of energy that got stuck or trauma I experienced.

I picked up concentration pracitice seriously again after that session but the more time I was spending meditating the more powerful I felt energy being stuck especially around my neck. Once I sat down I soon had to stop cause there was to much energy shooting up my head and I just couldn't be with it. This energy accompanied me into my daily life and made me feel quite nervous and agitated. When I lie down and start relaxing my body starts twisting itself into weird positions.

By chance I met a woman who helped me to work with those phenomena. She is working with a frame of transgeneratinal trauma and our first session was crazy intense. With here helping me look what was part of the conflict I got the experience some very strong waves of various experiences. We worked out some conflict on my fathers side which just came up washing over me while I was observing. Screaming, Disgust, Self-Harm, Anger which I did not initiate but just happened through letting go.

My question for now is how I could deal with those phenomena now and progress with meditation. Sometimes I lay down and just watch itself unfolding, sometimes that drains me of a lot of energy and it still feels stuck afterwards. When I do concetration meditation following my breath it sometimes shows up and I'm unsure how much I can ignore it or how much attention I should give to it.
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My guess is starting a moving meditation like quigong. Also walking mediation felt quite doable cause the energy had somewhere to go. 
I also thought about concetrating on brhamavihara because this phenomenom brought so much nervous energy and stress with it. It's hard for me to come down these days...

Well that's a short description. I could go much more into detail if you have questions and I hope you can give me some piece of advice how to continue my practice. Thaaaanks.
Eric Abrahamsen, modified 1 Year ago at 5/8/23 12:43 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/8/23 12:43 PM

RE: Body initiating movements by itself (kinda feels and looks like exorcis

Posts: 67 Join Date: 6/9/21 Recent Posts
Johannes Schlechter:
My guess is starting a moving meditation like quigong. Also walking mediation felt quite doable cause the energy had somewhere to go.


Hi Johannes,

As I was reading your post I was thinking to myself "this guy needs to do some qigong", it's good to see you came to the same conclusion! Obviously there are many aspects to your current situation and you'll want to tackle it at many levels -- emotional, intellectual, spiritual, energetic -- but I think Qigong would be a great practice, and a good support for the other levels, as well.

A while ago I discovered (thanks to this forum!) materials by Damo Mitchell, including the book  A Comprehensive Guide to Daoist Nei Gong, and a bunch of really good stuff on Youtube. Look for his name, and/or "Lotus Nei Gong", and it looks like he has a podcast too, though I haven't listened to that. He's got a multi-video series on the Lesser Microcosmic Orbit which is the only in-depth introduction to the subject I've ever been able to find.

I don't know enough to tell you where, exactly, you should start, but I'll bet something in there will help you.

Good luck!
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Kevin Andrew, modified 1 Year ago at 5/8/23 11:22 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/8/23 11:22 PM

RE: Body initiating movements by itself (kinda feels and looks like exorcis

Posts: 85 Join Date: 5/6/10 Recent Posts
Hi Johannes

I practise Goenka-style vipassana. This sounds very similar to what I currently experience. What you are describing sounds like progress in eliminating sankhara. It is not comfortable, it can be very emotionally stressful and it is not easy going. Doing drug therapy, in my opinion, is counter-productive. You are facing your demons and using a crutch to gain insight is unskilled. Trying to maintain sila is important. Have you spoken with an AT from the center you took your course at? That would be a good place to start.

I deal with what you call energy every day, sometimes all day. It affects all parts of my body, especially my head. The agitation is part of the process afaik. Movement helps relieve the intensity during the day, exercise really helps but in order to make progress you just gotta deal with it, be willing to learn from it. Something to think about when it makes you physically move is how you are observing yourself: are you dwelling on a certain area, concerned about what is happening perhaps, trying to wish it away. Maybe try getting to a lighter touch with your attention, keep moving your attention. Try to get familiar with how sensation changes. I have found that it can always be stopped just by rising from where I am resting, perhaps keep that in mind to keep inner tension under control. There will be times when the 'blockages' resolve and you will be amazed by the results, the more so because you had to work for it. Believe me it can feel quite amazing!

I've been practising for 7 years, seriously for almost 2 years, 2 hours a day. It has gotten progressively more intense and doubts have crept in from time to time. They stress equanimity for a reason: that is how to progress. You learn to deal with it, there is no other way. No easy way, other than to give up completely and that may no longer be a reasonable option.

Just observe, with equanimity, and keep your attention moving. It has been working for me. It is hard. Most good things are.

Be Well
Johannes Schlechter, modified 1 Year ago at 5/9/23 3:29 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/9/23 3:29 AM

RE: Body initiating movements by itself (kinda feels and looks like exorcis

Posts: 3 Join Date: 5/8/23 Recent Posts
A while ago I discovered (thanks to this forum!) materials by Damo Mitchell, including the book  A Comprehensive Guide to Daoist Nei Gong, and a bunch of really good stuff on Youtube. Look for his name, and/or "Lotus Nei Gong", and it looks like he has a podcast too, though I haven't listened to that. He's got a multi-video series on the Lesser Microcosmic Orbit which is the only in-depth introduction to the subject I've ever been able to find.

Thanks a lot Eric. I'll defintely look into the material and searching for a class close by emoticon
Johannes Schlechter, modified 1 Year ago at 5/9/23 3:50 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/9/23 3:50 AM

RE: Body initiating movements by itself (kinda feels and looks like exorcis

Posts: 3 Join Date: 5/8/23 Recent Posts
Hey Kevin. Thanks for answering.
I started meditating with Goenka Vipassana retreats and after discovering MCTB and the secular buddhism bubble I'm not too fond of goenkas one size fits all method. At my second retreat I was overhelmed with my experiences, couldn't sleep anymore and had panic attacks. Not knowing any buddhist background, map theory and a teacher who advised me to just observe with equanimity didn't help much. 
For me it was crucial to tackle some issues on a psychological level and doing some rather shamanic trauma therapy sessions to understand some patterns of mine, that includes mdma also, helped me a lot to now come back to the path focusing on meditating again.

I'm wondering how to proceed now. Sweeping attention through my whole body doing vipassana style is something I didn't do since my last retreat 3 years ago. But your suggestion to try a lighter touch is definetly resonating with me and there is definetly an aversion to this phenomenom as well. I guess it needs some equanimously and finetuned investigation. I'm not sure if my concentration is strong enoguh though. 

I feel like I'd benefit a lot of having a teacher who could guide me and point out how to continue practicing. Goenka vipassana is not the place where I found the help I needed. I'm quite new to this bubble living in Germany. Most teachers I listen to and read books from are not from here so I guess I need to do some research. Maybe some of you can help me out there.

Anyway thanks for answering. It feels good to be able to share what is happening and I'm very curious and motivated to continue this strange path emoticon
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Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 1 Year ago at 5/11/23 3:30 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/11/23 3:30 AM

RE: Body initiating movements by itself (kinda feels and looks like exorcis

Posts: 83 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
Hi Johannes, just wanted to support what Kevin also said earlier.  What you describe matches my experience as well.

Adding some of my thoughts:

Therminology here can differ a lot across traditions and sources - but let's stick to working through Sanskaras as a term (or replace with your favourite word for body/psyche/energy knots) . It is important to recognise that these are indeed body/psyche knots and not pure body knots, as if we believe they are just body knots, we might just stick to body-practices like jogging to get rid of the energy; or if we ignore the body aspect, we might stick to mind-practices like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (whcih can lack the attention to the body).

anskaras are often traumatic in origin (single high intensity traumatic events) or complex trauma (continuous exposure to unhealthy dynamics) but can also be ancestral/heridetary or even past-lifes in origin (if you are into that type of stuff).

And it can be A LOT - like it can take years to work through our back-log of these knots. Some ppl have less and some more.

Some practices I have found useful for this or have heard others find useful:
  1. Qi Gond & other body/energy pracrices
  2. Body-scans (Sourcing of Sanskaras) - scan the body and stay with the tense areas until it progresses and shows what it is about
  3. Shamanic Drumming and Shamanic Journeying (solo or guided)
  4. Imaginal Practice (solo or guided)
  5. Internal Family Systems (solo or guided)
  6. EMDR (solo or guided)
  7. Bodywork - massage therapy combined with letting our awareness guide us to the source of the Sanskara
  8. Dreamwork (Sanskaras often show up or play out in dreams)
  9. Being present in interactions with ppl, especially when we are triggered (as this is when Sanskaras show up)
  10. Psychadelic therapy & retreats (no personal experience with this)
  11. Family Constelations and group-therapy excercises


The Body Keeps the Score is one often read "Western psychology" book which covers this territory. Many other books cover if from more easter/woo-woo angle too.

It can be incredibly rewarding to work through a Sanskara (a knot or a grouping of knots) as it then frees us up from specific unhealthy behavioral patterns/copes we had. We can then act more skillfully in similar situations, be more compassionate to ourselves and others, etc. Our bodies also feel lighter. So totally worht it.

As always, trust your own intuition and what you are drawn to in terms of practice, or reading materials, or teachers / guides / therapists / groups / friends that might be needed to help you progress.

I hope this is helpful
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Robert PASHAYAN, modified 1 Year ago at 5/11/23 9:12 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/11/23 9:12 AM

RE: Body initiating movements by itself (kinda feels and looks like exorcis

Posts: 20 Join Date: 5/11/23 Recent Posts
Hello, 
It's interesting that many Therevada style practitioners have this "issue", first time I heard about it, it was an interview of Sam Harris with Willoughby Britton.
I am curious do you feel the ego/subject present while you feel this way ?
Conal, modified 1 Year ago at 5/12/23 7:46 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/12/23 7:21 PM

RE: Body initiating movements by itself (kinda feels and looks like exorcis

Posts: 78 Join Date: 6/3/17 Recent Posts
Hi Robert,

I see that nobody has replied to you about this as yet, so I thought I'd jump in. I have to say the tenor of your question implies a criticism of Theravada, so perhaps that's why nobody else has replied as yet. I too have no interest in getting involved in a Theravada v Mahayana argument but I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt as you may be genuinely curious about differences between the two traditions, as I am actually.

The short and obvious answer to your question is that yes, of course, ego is present when people engage in insight meditation. If there wasn't, then there would be no need to engage in it! You do insight/vipassana meditation to gain insight into the working of the mind and the ego and hence be able to let go of the ego and attenuate the power of the craving/aversion tendencies of the rational mind. Is that not something that is addressed in the Mahayana tradition?  I expect it is but it is done in a different way.  One of the issues that is often discussed on this forum is that of concentration (or shamatha) v insight (or vipassana) practice.  In general shamatha (and I include metta and the bramaviharas in this) are seen as giving an easier ride than straight vipassana and a combination of the two is my current approach.  Daniel Ingram in his book "Mastering the core teachings of the Buddah" discusses this issue and posits a spectrum between pure shamatha and pure vipassana and the techniques we discuss here will be somewhere on that spectrum.  The terminology "wet" (shamatha) v "dry" (vipassana) is often used.  The discussion above relates to Goenka-style vipassana bodyscanning technique which is very much at the dry end of the spectrum.  

Does this have any relevance to your experiences with mahayana?

with metta,
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​​​​​​​Conal
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Dream Walker, modified 1 Year ago at 5/14/23 8:11 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/14/23 8:11 AM

RE: Body initiating movements by itself (kinda feels and looks like exorcis

Posts: 1759 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Johannes Schlechter
Hey everyone,
Hi.

I've been having some weird phenomenoms since one year and I'm curious if some of you can point me to some literature or give me a hint how to proceed with it since I'm only guessing by myself what to do with it.
Google this - site:www.dharmaoverground.org kriya kundalini
It will give you results of posts relevent to what you are looking for.
First time I noticed some body parts of mine moving by itself was while sitting a goenka vipassana retreat.  It started very subtle, muscels contracting and letting go in tiny parts of my back and neck. It started like this and didn't come up again until I did a mdma therapy session where I did nothing but lying down watching my body shaking, contracting and letting go in a much bigger style. I simply observed my body and it felt to me like it was cleaning/healing itself of energy that got stuck or trauma I experienced.
Kriya is spontanious movements, before you hypothisize to far into it, I'd research it a bit more.

I picked up concentration pracitice seriously again after that session but the more time I was spending meditating the more powerful I felt energy being stuck especially around my neck. Once I sat down I soon had to stop cause there was to much energy shooting up my head and I just couldn't be with it. This energy accompanied me into my daily life and made me feel quite nervous and agitated. When I lie down and start relaxing my body starts twisting itself into weird positions.
Energy up the spine is standard kundalini discriptions.

By chance I met a woman who helped me to work with those phenomena. She is working with a frame of transgeneratinal trauma and our first session was crazy intense. With here helping me look what was part of the conflict I got the experience some very strong waves of various experiences. We worked out some conflict on my fathers side which just came up washing over me while I was observing. Screaming, Disgust, Self-Harm, Anger which I did not initiate but just happened through letting go.
Trauma work is always interesting, therapy is a wonderful axis to work on for development in general. It may or may not be associated to kriya or kundalini though.

My question for now is how I could deal with those phenomena now and progress with meditation. Sometimes I lay down and just watch itself unfolding, sometimes that drains me of a lot of energy and it still feels stuck afterwards. When I do concetration meditation following my breath it sometimes shows up and I'm unsure how much I can ignore it or how much attention I should give to it.
It is your meditation playground, have fun exploring it and getting the most out of it by investigations and modifications or create a bunch of projections onto it and make yourself miserable, your choice of course.
​​​​​​​
My guess is starting a moving meditation like quigong. Also walking mediation felt quite doable cause the energy had somewhere to go. 
I also thought about concetrating on brhamavihara because this phenomenom brought so much nervous energy and stress with it. It's hard for me to come down these days...
Quigong and Daoist practices seen to be the usual advice, I wish someone would explore that and then come back with some solid advice from direct experience.

Well that's a short description. I could go much more into detail if you have questions and I hope you can give me some piece of advice how to continue my practice. Thaaaanks.
Research, try different advice, iterate.
try googling this too - site:www.mctb.org kriya kundalini
Good luck,
​​​​​​​~D

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