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Feeling stuck
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7/3/12 4:14 AM
Hi this is my first post. I have been meditating in a more committed way for about a year.I usually sit for about 50 mins each morning about 5 days a week. For the last few months I have become stuck at the same point , although have reached it from different routes. I usually conc on the breath for first 15 mins then switch to noting, after a while I start rocking backwards and forwards, my eyes vibrate very fast and there is strong pressure in my forehead ( also feelings of great pleasure and spaciousness ). The intensity of this gets to the point where it is unbearable so I stop and go back to watching the breath , but in the end this leads to the same effects . Once I kept going as long as i could and when i stopped a door semed to slide open and i felt like i was looking into a void . Am I trying too hard ? I feel like I'm gonna burst a blood vessel in my brain !! If anyone could point me in a better direction or could advise on how to progress I would be very grateful. Many thanks.

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/3/12 8:23 AM as a reply to catherine jane.
Can you describe exactly how you're noting? Are you giving a lot of emphasis to identifying the three characteristics in each moment? Just based on what you've said so far, I would guess giving the three C's greater emphasis would be likely to help.

Good luck. I may be incommunicado for a couple of days.

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/3/12 9:03 AM as a reply to fivebells ..
When this happen do you tend to develop a feeling of anticipation that you cannot see clearly? Do you feel you start commenting your experience or get excited? Do you feel you try to gain control over your experience at that point? In what sense is it unbearable?

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/3/12 11:50 AM as a reply to fivebells ..
Hi thanks for your reply, I am naming ( or sometimes just being aware of ) the part of the body I can feel from moment to moment as quickly as I can , also if there are any thoughts I categorise them ( ie memory, planning etc. ) about 5 per second .

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/3/12 12:09 PM as a reply to catherine jane.
catherine jane:
Hi thanks for your reply, I am naming ( or sometimes just being aware of ) the part of the body I can feel from moment to moment as quickly as I can , also if there are any thoughts I categorise them ( ie memory, planning etc. ) about 5 per second .


I'm not sure how your noting practice is but make sure that 95% of your note is the actual experience and noting once a second is good to get you used to hanging out with what is in the senses and then to deepen the practice by reducing the striving for a special speed of noting. It's more like doing very little but seeing what's happening without a goal. Just keep seeing phenomenon arise and pass away. Thoughts aren't to be blocked but they are not to be added to. Keep in mind that all automatic thoughts and automatic senses are operating at the same time so noting your sense of "self" behind the eyes, and the back of the head will help weaken the conceptual location of the "self".

These practices helped me unstick the automatic functions from reactivity so I could tell the difference:

http://www.albigen.com/uarelove/awa_instructions.aspx

If you find that noting is getting too much in the way of touching experience I would recommend some practices from Shinzen Young:

http://www.shinzen.org/Retreat%20Reading/Return%20to%20the%20Source.pdf

These are more like 3rd gear practices by Kenneth Folk and if you can't stay there long then going back to the 2nd gear practices (Awareness watching Awareness). If you can't stay there long either then going back to noting will help. You want to feel the good and the icky feelings arise and pass away without repression or without any doing to change them. As your brain gets to really KNOW the reactivity then reactivity is less of a problem.

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/3/12 12:09 PM as a reply to Simon T..
Hi thanks for your reply, there is a sense of anticipation but i try to avoid taking control ,but perhaps i do to an extent because it is exciting when things start to change. It feels like a pressure increases when i note faster , maybe unbearable is too strong a word , its very uncomfortable and my focus moves onto the vibrating in my eyes instead of the noting I was doing . Should I just ignore it and keep going ?

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/3/12 12:13 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thanks for your help

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/3/12 12:37 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard:
These practices helped me unstick the automatic functions from reactivity so I could tell the difference:

http://www.albigen.com/uarelove/awa_instructions.aspx


Richard would you mind elaborating on your experience of this?

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/3/12 12:58 PM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
When I got to equanimity I did the awareness of awareness practice (look at something, locate the self behind the eyes, then close eyes and concentrate) and it felt like I could sense my thoughts by the next day.

What happened was I did the practice before bed, then I woke up in the morning and made a sandwich. I was thinking of something being funny and those funny thoughts felt sensed and thinking about the experience as it was happening was also sensed. It's like an invisible halo around my skull that senses thoughts and it feels like it unsticks from reactivity. My brain cooled down like a minty shampoo on my head and I was just in the senses and my vision and clarity increased. I felt much more interconnected with the atmosphere, though still physically separate. (I've had many shifts before this experience which was greatly helped by noting). I just ate the sandwich in bliss. I talked to people on this board and I think Tommy_M said it was equanimity (because I thought it was more and it faded away. :grinemoticon I think it was what AEN and Maharshi call the "I AM". I can do it much easier now even when sitting on the can. emoticon It was a practice I found on this site and it was just what I needed when noting was becoming a little too mechanical. The Shikantanza practice is all I'm working on now because concentration practices now feel so coarse. Letting go of that zeal for attainments feels so healthy. That zeal actually felt a little sick, because I think I was still blocking thoughts too much. To me the AWA practice is a good middle step like KFD's 2nd gear.

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/3/12 4:03 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
That's great, thanks Richard. I've been noticing a similar thing when getting into EQ recently. Previously I could never understand what people meant by the sense of self being sensations at the back of the head but now it's very clear. If you watch them, they move around, change etc --interesting stuff.

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/4/12 2:54 PM as a reply to catherine jane.
Hi Catherine,

Involuntary body movements and intense pleasure are often symptoms of the Arising and Passing Away nana. Then again you could be in EQ. Have a read of MCTB in the wiki and see if the descriptions of A&P or EQ apply to you. Would you say you had been through a period of symptoms similar to the dukka nanas (Dark Night)?.

Do you find the pleasure (buzzing) continues throughout the day, even when not sitting? When you feel you are about enter a void, is it a sinking feeling like falling through a hole in the floor, or a rising through the head feeling?

Either way, try to stop resisting the pressure in your head and the build up of pleasure. I would stop noting practice for a while, and just let go, open yourself up completely to what happens.

Good luck.

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/4/12 9:40 PM as a reply to catherine jane.
catherine jane:
Hi thanks for your reply, there is a sense of anticipation but i try to avoid taking control ,but perhaps i do to an extent because it is exciting when things start to change. It feels like a pressure increases when i note faster , maybe unbearable is too strong a word , its very uncomfortable and my focus moves onto the vibrating in my eyes instead of the noting I was doing . Should I just ignore it and keep going ?


Pay attention to how excitement feel in the body. Pay attention to this sense of anticipation. Objectify it. Ultimately, anything exciting has to be let go off. Each time you have the experience, develop a neutral perspective toward it until it feels as banal as anything else so you don't get excited and get to see it clearly. Remind you that's it's not what you are looking for.

As a side note, in case this is where you are (and I really don't know), there is those kind of things in the Arising & Passing Away stage, they are called The corruptions of insight:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/mahasi/progress.html#ch4.4

http://www.vipassanadhura.com/sixteen.html#onec

RE: Feeling stuck
Answer
7/5/12 1:41 PM as a reply to Simon T..
Many thanks for that