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Rising head pressure
Answer
7/19/12 4:54 PM
This is an event I've had happen once or twice when doing concentration practice with auditory objects.

I can hear the hum of my desktop a few feet away from where I'm sitting, and once or twice I've tuned into it and used it as the concentration object. I find that a few minutes of this produces a buzzing sensation in the head, which invites attention and seems to be a natural "next" object. Focusing on this head buzz creates a feeling of pressure in my head that quickly rises to a level that is really unnerving. There is a feeling that something crazy is about to happen and I get scared/excited and fall out of the state involuntarily.

Some time ago I experimented with binaural beat headphones and visualization headgear and this produced a similar effect.

I usually just practice with the breath and feel like I can get a few good minutes of access concentration out of it, but it feels nothing like this. Is this something worth pursuing?

RE: Rising head pressure
Answer
7/20/12 12:22 PM as a reply to Art Kubov.
Art Kubov:

I can hear the hum of my desktop a few feet away from where I'm sitting, and once or twice I've tuned into it and used it as the concentration object. I find that a few minutes of this produces a buzzing sensation in the head, which invites attention and seems to be a natural "next" object.

Focusing on this head buzz creates a feeling of pressure in my head that quickly rises to a level that is really unnerving. There is a feeling that something crazy is about to happen and I get scared/excited and fall out of the state involuntarily.

Welcome to the DhO, Art.

It might be that your focusing on the "hum" of the desktop as a concentration object thus producing "a buzzing sensation in the head which invites attention and seems to be a natural 'next' object" is the interior trigger for the growth of the sensation. If mindfulness is low (that is, if mindful awareness of the means for the arising of this phenomenon is low, which also takes into consideration "clear comprehension" or "clear discernment," meaning sampajanna), this can easily get out of control in the mind (through subconscious proliferative or speculative thinking), as you seem to describe, so that it "rises to a level that is really unnerving." All of which means that, internally (perceptually), you are the cause of this phenomenon's occurrence and rising intensity.

If brought on naturally, through concentration on the breath, this sensation of pressure in the center of the head is a quite natural part of concentrated meditation, and thus signifies a deepening of levels of concentration, enough in most instances to be described as "access concentration" or more. Such a sensation is nothing to be afraid of and is quite a natural phenomenon experienced by many if not most meditators.

You just have to be mindful that you are not inadvertently adding to the intensity by the way that you internally react to this sensation when it arises. Otherwise, it can stay in the "useful" range of intensity and not become "unnerving."

In other words, it all depends on how you deal with this when it arises.

Generally speaking, I know when this sensation arises in my meditations, that I'm doing something right. If you've ever stopped to notice yourself when you are engaged in moments of high concentrated states (when reading or focusing on performing some physical activity that involves danger), you might have noticed this pressure's arising before. At least, I know that I have. And I associate it as a "good" indicator or sign (nimitta).

In peace,
Ian