For what it may be worth (head-rolls)

Stanley Gallagher, modified 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 9:35 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 9:35 AM

For what it may be worth (head-rolls)

Posts: 3 Join Date: 8/19/23 Recent Posts
When it occurred to me to post what I regard as a useful tip, there was no intention of starting (or participating in) any discussion. (I simply don't have the time to keep "ping-ponging" remarks and replies.) However, the tip that I offer has been so very fruitful, that I feel it would be a crime not to post about it.Many years ago after an X-ray examination, a doctor advised me that there was a condition in the neck called spondylitis. When I turned my head, it felt stiff and was painful, and I believed it would stay in that condition for the rest of my life. However, about twenty years ago, I acquired my first computer and was able to gain access to information very easily. By chance, I came across a page about the exercise known as neck circles (or neck-rolls etc.), and gave it a try, thinking that it might loosen up my neck. After many years of doing these neck rolls, I am able to report that (several years ago) a remarkable improvement in my neck occurred. Now, I can turn, or roll, my head as much as and for as long as I like, with not the slightest stiffness or discomfort, much less pain! Now, anyone that would like to try this exercise should consult the Internet before doing so, because there are caveats about the practice. Done wrongly, it is a potential source of damage to the neck. I should say that I had been doing it for years (with no ill-effects) before I learned about its dangers, so perhaps the cautions are just published as a matter of principle, rather than because injury might easily occur. As I found, it is possible to be too cautious.Readers may wonder why information about neck-rolls should be posted on a Buddhist forum. Let me continue, and judge for yourself.Over several years, I discovered that a session of neck-rolling (while sitting in bed with my wife, after coffee) had a very marked effect on "my" state. By this, I mean that, many, many times (in fact, nearly every time a session occurred), a spontaneous state of meditation would arise. Many times, my wife would leave me sitting there (seemingly in a trance, but really, very much awake), and go about her business, knowing that I would not rise for at least half an hour. On occasion, these sessions last much longer, but one's breakfast cannot be left for too long on the kitchen table, and it becomes necessary for me to reluctantly break off the meditation, and rise. Many are the times, after a session of neck-rolling, when a state of heightened consciousness will occur. Whether there is any lasting benefit from these sessions, I cannot say. However, I am profoundly grateful for them. They strengthen my faith in invisible forces, and the exercises certainly have brought about insights that would not have arisen through merely thinking about the dharma.Though what is written above is perfectly true, I used to wonder why it happened. I have heard of the Dervishes that rotate at dizzying speed, then go into a trance. There also is the remark made by R.W. Emerson, who, in one of his essays (I don't remember which), referred to a sect of his times (also, the name of this Christian sect escapes me), who had a practice of doing what he called a "Bruin-dance" ("shuffling about" — as he put it — and dancing as captive bears were trained to dance, I presume), and who, by this practice, brought about some kind of spiritual state. (I have tried to find out more about this sect, and the dance, but without success. I cannot even find out in which essay of Emerson's the reference to it is.) I read the essay many, many years ago. May blessings be on Ralph Emerson!The mind (consciousness) and the body are linked — there is no doubt about that. (I think of breathing exercises and yoga.) All the same, it is rather strange that valuable meditational states can arise in the way I describe. I hope others may find this information helpful.
Edward, modified 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 11:09 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 11:08 AM

RE: For what it may be worth (head-rolls)

Posts: 129 Join Date: 6/10/19 Recent Posts
Thank you. This is the most wonderful story I have read since that of Henry Sugar
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 11:16 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 11:15 AM

RE: For what it may be worth (head-rolls)

Posts: 5093 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I watched The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar just a few days ago. Written by Roald Dahl, produced and directed by Wes Anderson.

Henry Sugar

I have not tried those head rolls. I'm probably too old and brittle to do them without hurting myself. I would be interested in having Stanley Gallagher provide a more descriptive version of his meditative state after doing head rolls.
Stanley Gallagher, modified 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 11:45 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 11:45 AM

RE: For what it may be worth (head-rolls)

Posts: 3 Join Date: 8/19/23 Recent Posts
Chris: I'm sorry, but it's not possible to describe the meditational states. However, I assure you that this practice works (for me, at least). I should say that I engage in sitting meditation also. You say that you are too old and brittle to do the neck/head rolls. Well, that may be the case. I have been doing them for many years, so when I started, I was much younger than I am now, and still doing them. I was ninety years old last July, so take heart (and take care).
​​​​​​​S.G.
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 11:50 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/23/23 11:50 AM

RE: For what it may be worth (head-rolls)

Posts: 5093 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
... it's not possible to describe the meditational states. ​​​​​​​


You're being too hard on yourself. If you've been lurking here, you know we do this meditative state description thing all the time. I have no doubt you can do it, too!
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SushiK, modified 4 Months ago at 10/24/23 1:19 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/24/23 1:19 AM

RE: For what it may be worth (head-rolls)

Posts: 161 Join Date: 6/11/20 Recent Posts
Slightly tangent on the original subject, I often have automatic neck movement coming up during meditation usually accompanied by insights and a feeling of opening/release or what feels like deeper concentration.

Usually it would be my face shifting toward the left and up, then maybe an half circle toward the right, all happening very slowly.
Other time it's my head falling very slowly toward my chest (Absolutely not falling asleep).

I have quite a lot of neck pain and tension (and unfortunately can only sleep on my belly with face looking on the side so it doesn'y help) so it might be connect.

Instead of meditation leading to the mechanical release of tension maybe mechanicaly releasing the tension lead to meditation?
Stanley Gallagher, modified 4 Months ago at 10/24/23 8:44 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/24/23 8:44 AM

RE: For what it may be worth (head-rolls)

Posts: 3 Join Date: 8/19/23 Recent Posts
Chris M
... it's not possible to describe the meditational states. ​​​​​​​


You're being too hard on yourself. If you've been lurking here, you know we do this meditative state description thing all the time. I have no doubt you can do it, too!
No, Chris, I don't lurk on this site (at least, I have not done in the past, and it doesn't seem likely that I will. However, I really can't describe interior states, and besides, soon after they have occurred, I forget what the experience was. The only thing that I can usefully add (I did not think of this, before) is that I sit for half an hour from about 6.30 am, then make the coffee and take it up to my wife, who has yet to wake up, usually. So, most of the head-rolls (I do 30 clockwise and 30 anticlockwise) are done after a sitting practice. To me, it seems obvious that the head-rolls augment any effects of the sitting practice. In past times, the head rolls had surprising consequences, even though the sitting practice had seemed to be a waste of time.
​​​​​​​I'm not being awkward, but this is my last word on this subject. As I stated at first, I simply don't have time for "ping-ponging" posts.
With metta, S.G
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 10/24/23 9:01 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/24/23 9:01 AM

RE: For what it may be worth (head-rolls)

Posts: 5093 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Well, I found from doing a bit of research that head rolls are a common yoga exercise, and are used to relieve benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV.
Edward, modified 4 Months ago at 10/24/23 1:29 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 10/24/23 1:29 PM

RE: For what it may be worth (head-rolls)

Posts: 129 Join Date: 6/10/19 Recent Posts
Stanley Gallagher
Chris M
... it's not possible to describe the meditational states. ​​​​​​​


You're being too hard on yourself. If you've been lurking here, you know we do this meditative state description thing all the time. I have no doubt you can do it, too!
No, Chris, I don't lurk on this site (at least, I have not done in the past, and it doesn't seem likely that I will. However, I really can't describe interior states, and besides, soon after they have occurred, I forget what the experience was. The only thing that I can usefully add (I did not think of this, before) is that I sit for half an hour from about 6.30 am, then make the coffee and take it up to my wife, who has yet to wake up, usually. So, most of the head-rolls (I do 30 clockwise and 30 anticlockwise) are done after a sitting practice. To me, it seems obvious that the head-rolls augment any effects of the sitting practice. In past times, the head rolls had surprising consequences, even though the sitting practice had seemed to be a waste of time.
​​​​​​​I'm not being awkward, but this is my last word on this subject. As I stated at first, I simply don't have time for "ping-ponging" posts.
With metta, S.G

Stanley, I think you may be describing an exalted state called nirodha samapatti. 

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