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RLS, ADHD and update on my practice

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RLS, ADHD and update on my practice
Answer
4/29/12 9:15 AM
I was able to improve my practice quite a bit in the last two months. I'm back being a 24/7 yogi and manage to pay attention pretty well at work. I basically alternate between two modes:

1. I do Mahasi-style noting when I'm in a state of confusion and thoughts get too sticky. I never managed to do detailed noting so it's basically "thinking thinking thinking seeing hearing...."

2. I work on just being aware of whatever arise and try to not stick on anything. It's a constant effort to bring myself back into the present moment. It generally go like this: once I have the sense of being aware of the sensation or thought, I let go of it and open my sense again to let the next sensation arise. I ended up doing this technique for two reasons. One is that it's a great way to end discursive thoughts. The second reason is that I get a lot of spams and "brain contraction" and they would make me loose my momentum and without knowing it I find myself making judgement about the event. The rate is probably around 3-5 sensations per second.

I experience my share of spasms and muscular tensions. I used to experience the spams at work but now it's only when I rest lying but they are getting more intense and frequent. I'm surprise that the subject of restless legs syndrome has never be talked about on this forum. Those symptoms aren't necessarily new to me. There is a reason when I was shaking my leg all the time before. It's a way to break up those tensions. I experienced tension in my neck since my childhood. It has been proved that there is a strong link between RLS and ADHD. The connection between all this physical tension and being lost in thoughts is pretty clear.

I do at least 90 minutes of sitting meditation per day. I get to break a lot of tension during those sittings and enjoy a mindful mind for the rest of the day after. I have been on a medication (lyrica) that help to deal with all those tension for more than a year but I only need it at night now (I can't deal with the tensions during my sleep). I also take enough medication (wellbutrin) that increase my alertness. I keep the dosage at the bare minimum. One of the effect of the medication is to mitigate the speed at which thoughts and images arise in my mind. If the dosage is too high, I can't burst those bubbles and break the tension.

I get to enter a state of weak access concentration after about 5 or 10 minutes of my sitting. I say "weak" because it's a fragile state. I cannot maintain it while moving, as I experienced during retreat. I generally can do a 90 minutes session. My posture is extremely stable and relaxed (once I broke the tensions) and I feel no pain. Sometimes I see lights on the side of my eye (rare), or little blue dots (sometimes) or all my visual light up (often). I never get into absorption and I keep acknowledging what happen in my environment. I do somewhat loose the sense of having a body and my mind can get pretty quiet. Excitement that I fail to acknowledge will usually break me out of it but I get more and more used to it.

While the spams I get during sitting meditation are helpful at breaking tensions, those I get during lying meditation don't have a lasting "healing" effect.

Physical tension is the main hindrance now.

Any advice is welcome.

RE: RLS, ADHD and update on my practice
Answer
4/29/12 12:05 PM as a reply to Simon T..
Simon T.:
Physical tension is the main hindrance now.


You may try Kum Nye. This is the book I would recommend to you: Tibetan Relaxation: The Illustrated Guide to Kum Nye Massage and Movement - A Yoga from The Tibetan Tradition by Tarthang Tulku

RE: RLS, ADHD and update on my practice
Answer
4/29/12 3:03 PM as a reply to Simon T..
When you write that physical tension is the main hindrance now, do you mean as a general obstacle not referring to Buddhist terminology or are you trying to discuss the 5 hindrances in reference to Buddhist terminology? Cuz physical tension isn't 1 of the 5 hindrances. Either way, let's talk 5 hindrances because they are a direct barrier to tranquility and insight. They are:

1. sensory desire
2. ill will
3. sloth and torpor
4. restlessness
5. doubt

Which of these do you think is giving rise to the physical tensions that are recently happening (or if any tensions are occurring right now, investigate that)? Note that not all tensions are caused by the same hindrance and so specific types of tensions arise as a result of each of the hindrances.

Steph

RE: RLS, ADHD and update on my practice
Answer
4/29/12 3:12 PM as a reply to Simon T..
Have you experimented with starting and ending your meditation with straight physical relaxation exercises from yoga?

Do the spasms seem more intense or frequent when you practice?

RE: RLS, ADHD and update on my practice
Answer
4/29/12 8:52 PM as a reply to Change A..
Aman A.:
Simon T.:
Physical tension is the main hindrance now.


You may try Kum Nye. This is the book I would recommend to you: Tibetan Relaxation: The Illustrated Guide to Kum Nye Massage and Movement - A Yoga from The Tibetan Tradition by Tarthang Tulku


I will have a look at this. Does the guide suggest which exercise to use depending on the problem we try to address?

RE: RLS, ADHD and update on my practice
Answer
4/29/12 9:41 PM as a reply to Simon T..
It has a self-massage section for various parts of the body telling about various acupressure points. Then it has gentle movement exercises as well. Has some exercises for release of tension in specific parts such as neck, head, eyes, shoulders, spine, melting tension, release of tension, throat centre, heart centre etc.

But it does take time to get a handle on it because it is a bit like meditation and yoga combined. The meditation component makes it slower to start. Once you get a handle on it, then you can come up with movements of your own specific to your tension.

Just to give you an idea of Kum Nye, you may watch this video for the navel centre and do the exercise described: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jwWdIIhVuc

I think Bagpuss The Gnome got this book. If he reads this and has tried the exercises in the book, he may want to add his comments.

RE: RLS, ADHD and update on my practice
Answer
4/29/12 10:02 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph S:
When you write that physical tension is the main hindrance now, do you mean as a general obstacle not referring to Buddhist terminology or are you trying to discuss the 5 hindrances in reference to Buddhist terminology? Cuz physical tension isn't 1 of the 5 hindrances. Either way, let's talk 5 hindrances because they are a direct barrier to tranquility and insight. They are:

1. sensory desire
2. ill will
3. sloth and torpor
4. restlessness
5. doubt

Which of these do you think is giving rise to the physical tensions that are recently happening (or if any tensions are occurring right now, investigate that)? Note that not all tensions are caused by the same hindrance and so specific types of tensions arise as a result of each of the hindrances.

Steph


Bad choice of word. My point is that it's pretty obvious that I spent my entire life with some kind of tension. As a child I had issue with tension in my neck. Shaking my leg nervously (it's called RLS for a reason...) is something I started doing quite early in my life. Over time, anxiety increased, so did the tension, until I started meditation. By learning to pay attention to my body I am now able to release quite a bit of those. I was able to get rid of my Irritable Bowel Syndrome for which I took a medication for 5 years!

It has been reported by girlfriends in the past that I have spams while sleeping but it got much worse after my last retreat. The symptoms are coming back now that my practice improve. I have very tense during my sleep, so much that it's hard to sleep. Falling asleep is also an issue because of all the spams.

I can get rid of the tension I have sometimes in my back with a meditation session but the body-wide tension (shoulders, legs) are that are hard to get rid of.

So it's basically a form of anxiety I have to deal with but now that I'm getting pretty good at paying attention, I have to face the physical effect directly. Let say I have to talk to my boss about something that make me anxious, I direct my attention to my body to release the tension. I greatly reduced procrastination simply by paying attention to my body. Still, sometimes it's more than I can handle. The more tension I experience, the harder it is to pay attention.

To come back to the 5 hindrances, only sloth and torpor is an occasional issue, mainly the weekend for lack of discipline It is also one of the reason I keep using wellbutrin. Without it, I get in a state of confusion. At work, I do 30-45 minutes sitting at lunch time and it make such a difference! My attention greatly increases for the rest of the day and my anxiety is way down.

If by restlessness you mean physical restlessness, this isn't a issue. If you mean mental chaos, then it is to some degree but it goes hand in hand with physical tension that I can break with a good sitting session.

The spams I get at bed time seems to be related to the speed at which images arise in my consciousness. It's just overwhelming.

My desire to have sex reduced dramatically in the last few weeks. Sensual desire of any form is basically not an issue anymore. It is much easier to not let my eyes wander on pretty women.

When I think about it, anger might be problem. Not that I experience real anger but more conflicting thoughts. The most obvious example is the people renting my house who stopped paying me. Those are the kind of situation I find really hard to deal with. I feel strongly the suffering those people experience but my compassion mechanisms aren't fully in place.

RE: RLS, ADHD and update on my practice
Answer
4/29/12 10:13 PM as a reply to fivebells ..
fivebells .:
Have you experimented with starting and ending your meditation with straight physical relaxation exercises from yoga?

Do the spasms seem more intense or frequent when you practice?


No, I don't know any yoga or any similar technique. I will have a look at what as been suggested by Aman.

I can get rid of the tension by a good vipassana session. A typical day is usually like that:

I wake up and my mind is mess, having run wild all night. I'm also tense. I start paying attention and go to work. At work, I keep paying attention and relax my muscle as much as possible (I work as a programmer but what I do isn't very mentally demanding). At lunch time I go meditation 30-45 minutes. I will experience a few spams body-wide or in my legs. I will experience a lot of "spams" in the head, often coming from my neck and spine, contraction in the frontal area, my eyes want to pop out, I will see flash. Contraction of my neck is something that just keep happening until I reach a state of deep relaxation. The spams will happen in the first 10 to 20 minutes.

It seems that the simple fact that sitting in a meditation position make it necessary to use some muscles, we cannot get 100% relaxed. When I'm lying, I try to relax all my muscles and it's like if there was not place anymore to send those tension. Something like that. The better is my capacity to pay attention and relax my body, the more severe are the spams.