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Recurring Tingling Sensation
Answer
7/13/12 10:17 AM
So, for a while now, I have been getting tingling sensations, which happen in a number of circumstances, I don't think it matters whether I know what they are or not, but it's been at least a few months I feel it at least a little everyday, so I can't help but be curious about it.

Description:
Usually, it's a tingling sensation that moves through the spine, back, arms, hands, legs, feet and head, so yeah, almost the whole body. I do feel in the scrotum too sometimes.
It can vary in intensity quite a bit.
I find it to be quite pleasant personally.

When does it occurs:
It may occur spontaneously during meditation, a few times it was like waves.
It can happen accompanied of some strong emotions, like when you are seeing some movie and want to cry tears of happiness or by strong feelings of compassion or something related. Ever since I was a kid I could feel it together with such emotions, but the meditation practice intensified it.
I can induce it to happen by relaxing externally and internally (maybe I could describe it as "surrendering"), and focusing a bit on the breath. I do not need to relax too deep, unless I want the tingling to be more intense.
I also feel it sometimes while peeing or some other ways of slowly changing body temperature.
It sometimes also occurs spontaneously when using my mind machine (Procyon), which I usually use for afternoon naps.

About my practice:
I try to practice mindfulness during the day as much as I can, and I believe my body awareness is not bad.
I usually meditate 30min a day with mindfulness of breath, sitting in sidhasana, and with Kechari Mudra level 2 or 3.
I do Kechari Mudra level 2 or 3 during the day sometimes.
I do a little bit of Alternate Nostril Breathing everyday, it's an exercise I'm personally fond of.
I sometimes do some "edging"(getting close to an orgasm and stopping before ejaculation), and I do feeling tingling, mostly on the lower legs and some parts of the head.

Personally I believe it's something quite normal, and think at least some of these sensations are manifestations of what the yogis call prana. I'm still not entirely convinced there is a subtle energy called prana, because the closest thing to an evidence I have is: I accidentally found that if I start meditation without a hand mudra, and in the middle of meditation I do the mudra, I feel like these tingling sensations suddenly happen through my arm as if "energy was trying to circulate there".

When I am really relaxed and feeling intense tingling sensations, I think I could describe it as a kind of bliss, at least it feels really pleasant.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the matters, Thanks for your time :-)

RE: Recurring Tingling Sensation
Answer
7/13/12 10:53 AM as a reply to John P.
Hi John,

Yogis (of the bendy variety) would indeed call this Prana, or life-force. In other traditions it would be called chi, as in tai-chi or ki, as in reiki. In buddhist circles it is most often known as anicca: Impermanence.

I can't speak for those that do noting practices here on the DhO as my main practice is mindfulness of the body (various techniques including mindfulness of breathing and body-scanning), but I'll describe how my day to day experience matches up with yours;

Whenever my body is still, or doing something not too energetic (like sitting, standing, typing, lying, brushing teeth, eating etc) I can feel subtle tingling/flickering sensations all over the body. As I do yoga I can use these sensations to excellent effect. They work wonders for being mindful of every movement of the body. This perception makes the practice of yoga much more akin to what I imagine patanjali had in mind as opposed to the super twisty gushy breathed pseudo-spiritual nonsense you see most "yogis" mucking around with.

Ooooh... check that out! I got all narky. Cool.

In MCTB (if you don't have it, get it now) Daniel Ingram talks about the perceptions of reality flickering, or pulsing. This is anicca. This is impermanence.

There are many things you can do with this. If your mind is inclined toward this kind of perception I think the Goenka-style body scanning practices would prove very interesting for you. You could also note these vibrations very well I would imagine.

Keep working with them.

RE: Recurring Tingling Sensation
Answer
7/13/12 3:34 PM as a reply to John P.
Hi John,

I used to get this a lot while working with the sorts of practice you're describing, as I understand it this is an example of piti and sukha. It's likely that you're hitting 1st jhana territory, in Buddhist terms, quite comfortably through your current practice; have you tried shifting the focus onto those pleasant sensations and taking them as your object?

RE: Recurring Tingling Sensation
Answer
7/13/12 6:47 PM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Bagpuss The Gnome:
Yogis (of the bendy variety) would indeed call this Prana, or life-force. In other traditions it would be called chi, as in tai-chi or ki, as in reiki. In buddhist circles it is most often known as anicca: Impermanence.

Thanks for confirming this, oh and I took a look at the term anicca and it seems the sensation itself is not anicca, anicca is a characteristic of it(and supposedly of pretty much everything).

Bagpuss The Gnome:
In MCTB (if you don't have it, get it now) Daniel Ingram talks about the perceptions of reality flickering, or pulsing. This is anicca. This is impermanence.

I already read MCTB, but I think I have to read it again! :-)

Bagpuss The Gnome:
There are many things you can do with this. If your mind is inclined toward this kind of perception I think the Goenka-style body scanning practices would prove very interesting for you. You could also note these vibrations very well I would imagine.

Cool! I indeed intend to go to a Goenka 10-day while I'm still at USA. :-)
I still haven't started Mahasi-style noting, but I think I'll do in the future, but there's still some stuff I want to try before.

Thanks

RE: Recurring Tingling Sensation
Answer
7/13/12 6:55 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
I used to get this a lot while working with the sorts of practice you're describing, as I understand it this is an example of piti and sukha. It's likely that you're hitting 1st jhana territory, in Buddhist terms, quite comfortably through your current practice; have you tried shifting the focus onto those pleasant sensations and taking them as your object?


Hi Tommy,
I took a look at Wikipedia and in buddhist terms it indeed seems to be it!
Not only that, but according to what I read there ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C4%ABti#Fivefold_classification ), this inducing of relaxation and tingling seems to be weak rapture.

I did try some few times to take them as objects, but usually they stop coming if I don't focus on the breath. Well, I guess I have to keep trying and figure it out.

Thanks o/

RE: Recurring Tingling Sensation
Answer
7/14/12 7:25 AM as a reply to John P.
Excellent, if you can access this at the drop of a hat then you've got some good concentration skills.

I did try some few times to take them as objects, but usually they stop coming if I don't focus on the breath. Well, I guess I have to keep trying and figure it out.

What you want to avoid doing is trying to make them increase or, if you're doing straight concentration practice at least, investigating them any further; just observe, maintain a gentle focus on the sensations themselves and stay with them as consistently as possible. They become stronger of their own accord if you just keep the focus on them, but it's not a problem if you find yourself going back to the breath as your main object. It's a subtle balance that's required but I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to hit a firm 1st jhana with your concentration skills as they are, just experiment with the way the mind seems to cradle those sensations, how it takes them as an object and relax into it.

Part of the reason you may be finding it difficult to take the sensations as an object could be the way you've been practicing before, these sensation are, at first anyway, more subtle and less obvious than the breath so you might find that returning to the breath is just a habitual thing. Play around with it and see what works best for you, but always with the intent to focus on that object, whatever it may be, as consistently as possible and without struggling.