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Exercise + Self-kindness + Weird eye flutter

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Here are three items related to my current practice for the last four months.

(Exercise) I have discovered that I seem to benefit greatly from exercising. At least three times a week, preferably more. I do 20-30 minutes on the eliptical running machine, plus 20-30 minutes of stretching or joint rotations or a mild yoga.

During the running, I am finding it best to keep my effort level just at the edge of where I am clearly doing aerobic exercise, without pushing it. It is helpful to realize that there is sometimes a felt "effort-barrier" which can be gently overcome. At this threshold level (without slacking or pushing too hard), the body warms up, and that is pleasant (in that I will actually feel bliss).

This seems to help in relieving tension and normalizing mood, particularly restlessness. I am interested in any tips anyone has on how to use exercise as an aid to meditation.

(Self-kindness) I have had some partial success decreasing tension with a self-kindness-based way of "doing stuff," where I feel tender and caring towards myself. This is particularly successful when I suddenly realize that I am struggling against myself internally (for instance, I might feel profoundly critical of myself, for no good reason, and then suddenly see that this is of no good to me or anyone); I will then "empathize" with myself, so to speak, and adopt an internal posture of greater understanding, acceptance, and caring for myself. This has on 3-4 occasions caused a very noticeable shift, when it feels that the body warms up a little, and there is a strange new energy in the solar plexus, palms of my hands, and face, which somehow "digests tension" more smoothly and at a faster rate.

I don't know if anyone has had an experience like this (Jeff maybe?), but if so I would like to know more.

(Strange ajna-flutter) For well over a year now I have this strange phenomenon: during most times when awake I can easily connect to this strange on-off fluttering sensation, which seems to be felt mostly at the ajna point in the middle of the forehead, but can also appear elsewhere. If I close my eyes and connect to it, my eyelids start trembling in a way that resembles REM sleep. Sometimes this fluttering is felt at other chakra points, the second most frequent being the base of the spine. Sometimes the fluttering is seen in the whole field of vision, which will then "blacken", or "blink", repeatedly *blink* *blink* *blink* ...

Once Clayton was visiting me in Amsterdam and when I asked him to go through the jhanas, he had the same eye-fluttering/trembling phenomena while experiencing (what he said was) 8th jhana, or around that territory. However, I seem to have it most of the time whenever I close my eyes. Actually, this fluttering will sometimes assault me even when my eyes are open, and this is more prone to happen when adjusting to strong sunlight. I used to fight it, as I found it irritating, but nowadays I just let it be (which requires extra precaution while riding my bycicle).

There also seems to be some connection between this flutter and cessation moments, though it is not very clear to me what that connection is. If I decide to close my eyes and stay with that flutter for a while, then, upon reopening my eyes, my field of vision will have a change in hue (sometimes slight, sometimes glaring), specifically it will look more blue.

Also, sometimes attending to the fluttering will lead to an accumulation of tension (typically in the middle of the head), and sometimes it will lead to great internal pleasure and release (including fruitions, after which the fluttering drops suddenly and briefly to the heart, and then I feel rested, refreshed, renewed).

Does anyone know what the heck is this thing?

(Flotation Tank) I have also been doing flotation tank sessions once or twice a week for about a month now. It seems very promising: I didn't really know what it meant to be that relaxed while still awake. Maybe I have more to tell on that later. Any tips and tricks with respect to making good use of floating time are also welcome.

RE: Exercise + Self-kindness + Weird eye flutter
Answer
5/3/12 11:11 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
This seems to help in relieving tension and normalizing mood, particularly restlessness. I am interested in any tips anyone has on how to use exercise as an aid to meditation.


Bruno have you considered lifting some weights? You'll find it has a similar effect. Being a little physically stronger is a nice healthy feeling also. Now you have your cardio sorted, you should find lifting some heavy stuff lots of fun.

Do the big whole body movements like:

  • Shoulder press (if you can get an instructor to teach you the "clean and press" even better)
  • Chest press
  • Squats
  • Chin ups


Don't muck around with any of those daft machines, work the free weights with the scary looking tattoo crowd*

*who are generally really knowledgeable and helpful with it.

RE: Exercise + Self-kindness + Weird eye flutter
Answer
5/3/12 10:01 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Hi Bruno. I don't have much to add except to say that I get something and it sounds pretty similar. It is described in my KFD journal in posts 70 and 122. Here's the link to my journal.

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/4858724/Jacki%27s+journal?offset=120&maxResults=20

actually i'll just copy entry 122 below. Would be interested to hear of others' experience with this.

Jacki


122. RE: Jacki's journal
Today, 12:38 AM EDT | Post edited: Today, 4:01 AM EDT

today's sits. (lying in bed because of sore back)

1hr and a bit (non) concentration this morning. brain felt very wide and clear this morning. but when i tried to meditated it didn't translate into good samatha.

35 min noting just now.

settling in
mouth uncomfortable
hearing, seeing, touching (repeat as necessary)
uncertain thoughts, vagueness, mapping thoughts
pulsing
mouth uncomfortable
breathing anxiety
pulsing
cold
forehead tension
more lights
pleasant
cloudy
suddenly large area of white brightness & eye flickering with build up of pressure inside forehead, squeezed and then popped producing burst of mental bliss with glowing redness behind eyes. bliss spread into body. heart feels jolted, nervous system a little shaken.
sort of popped and spat me out to lie still and recover.

RE: Exercise + Self-kindness + Weird eye flutter
Answer
5/4/12 7:49 PM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Bagpuss The Gnome:
This seems to help in relieving tension and normalizing mood, particularly restlessness. I am interested in any tips anyone has on how to use exercise as an aid to meditation.


Bruno have you considered lifting some weights? You'll find it has a similar effect. Being a little physically stronger is a nice healthy feeling also. Now you have your cardio sorted, you should find lifting some heavy stuff lots of fun.

Do the big whole body movements like:

  • Shoulder press (if you can get an instructor to teach you the "clean and press" even better)
  • Chest press
  • Squats
  • Chin ups


Don't muck around with any of those daft machines, work the free weights with the scary looking tattoo crowd*

*who are generally really knowledgeable and helpful with it.


I've recently started up again, just from home with some free weights. Pushing really heavy things around is hugely beneficial way of enlivening/relaxing the body. Doing it in a 'circuit' style ensures the heart gets worked too.

There's a fair bit in the hypnosis literature on eyelid flutter, as you may know already. A sign of mild trance state.
If interested: http://www.scientificremoteviewing.com/main-menu/what-is-hypnosis/levels-of-hypnotic-trance/

RE: Exercise + Self-kindness + Weird eye flutter
Answer
5/6/12 5:22 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
hi ccc. didn't know about the connection with hypnosis, so thanks for that and for the link. jacki.

RE: Exercise + Self-kindness + Weird eye flutter
Answer
5/6/12 7:26 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
During the running, I am finding it best to keep my effort level just at the edge of where I am clearly doing aerobic exercise, without pushing it. It is helpful to realize that there is sometimes a felt "effort-barrier" which can be gently overcome. At this threshold level (without slacking or pushing too hard), the body warms up, and that is pleasant (in that I will actually feel bliss).


What happens if you push yourself too hard?

This seems to help in relieving tension and normalizing mood, particularly restlessness. I am interested in any tips anyone has on how to use exercise as an aid to meditation.


I began a thread touching on this some time ago (but I don't have the name handy now).

My experience was that fairly intense exercise leads to more energy, relaxation, etc., which can make meditation go better...but, these were aftereffects of exercise, rather than things that I would experience during it. I'm not sure I ever found a way to make exercise as such actively pleasant (as you describe).

Also, keep in mind that if you actually experience bliss during exercise, or, in general, find a way to modulate your mood in a significant way with it, that there is the possibility of becoming addicted to exercise (in some limited sense, just as one might become dependent on an antidepressant medication, and suffer adverse effects if one stopped taking it)...which would not necessarily be a problem, but would be worth knowing about, were it to happen.

(Flotation Tank) I have also been doing flotation tank sessions once or twice a week for about a month now. It seems very promising: I didn't really know what it meant to be that relaxed while still awake. Maybe I have more to tell on that later. Any tips and tricks with respect to making good use of floating time are also welcome.


Could you offer us any of your own tips, on the chance that we find ourselves with access to a flotation tank at some point?

RE: Exercise + Self-kindness + Weird eye flutter
Answer
5/7/12 9:25 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
This seems to help in relieving tension and normalizing mood, particularly restlessness. I am interested in any tips anyone has on how to use exercise as an aid to meditation.


I've got to second the recommendation of weight lifting. My favorite is heavy deadlifts. It's like nothing else.

Here's a quote that sorta explains how it relates to meditation:

"The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all
kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron
will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference
point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in
the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It
never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two
hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds."

-Henry Rollins

Full Text Here


Once you lift something that weighs way more than you do, the quote may make more sense.

Some good instructions on basic lifts.