Simply the first effects of mindfulness practice?

Adam Arjuna, modified 12 Years ago at 4/23/10 2:15 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/23/10 2:15 AM

Simply the first effects of mindfulness practice?

Post: 1 Join Date: 2/26/10 Recent Posts

Have been reading the forums for a while and trying to slowly assimilate the maps & practices.

Was just hoping someone could have a quick glance over this and confirm "yes, it's just all normal stuff when you start practicing" -- as I feel things are just starting to change neurologically - which I'm pretty welcoming to. But if anyone has any further, more detailed thoughts, that would be very much appreciated. I don't really have any dharma buddies, so this post is a sort of introduction also.

My past experience is with vipassana (a few Goenka retreats...which I hated for the most part and felt like part of me was forcing myself to do), lucid dreaming and some quasi "astral" weirdness in my teens, plus a heap of depression, anxiety and then later psychedelics, and then pot & alcohol abuse of varying durations. Took "refuge" as a Buddhist about a year ago after dropping a lot of bad habits and seeing a mindfulness counsellor, and everything has improved vastly.

My main practice for the past few months has been mindfulness of breath, and I have mostly just been hovering around access concentration (with just little pre-thought verbal blips still echoing around a bit). Am only really doing 20-45 mins daily practice, sometimes in split sittings, and sometimes I get quite reluctant to sit for a few days. I listen to talks by Ayya Khema almost every day.

Recently when going off to sleep, I'll enter into my normal hypnagogic stuff - dreamy stuff, "conversations", etc - but then *snap!* like a whip - intense mindfulness, back to the breath, sensation, hearing, etc. no more mind-stuff. This happens several times before falling asleep. This has been happening through the day also, as well as a few experiences of suddenly feeling like 'I' am seeing out of the body's eyes, watching the body do it's thing, but with no identification with it. (This is not unpleasant like some dissociative states I'd feel with teenage depression. It feels peaceful and fully experienced/vibrant)

Last week while eating in a cafe with a friend, while I was spooning out some food, things seemed to slow down a little and, (mostly) thought cleared spontaneously and I became very aware of the intention/action/movement, purposeful but with ease. Some light conversation with my friend while eating.

A thought arose in my mind on the topic of a past life (not a recollection or anything like that) and then suddenly my mind fell very silent and still with the feeling of acceptance and, I suppose, gratitude that I sometimes feel when I settle in to shamatha or vipassana practice - usually when the mind sort of clicks out of resisting ... when agitation drops away to a feeling like I could sit for 3 years (this doesn't last, of course), and the sensation in lips or foot feels like a wonderful, beuatiful friend (hope that makes sense).

Anyway, from the outside I sort of froze with a spoon in my hand above the plate with my eyes mostly closed and the eyelids flickering rapidly (which I wasn't aware of). As it flowed on, I still was somewhat aware of my surroundings, but when my friend asked if I was ok, I couldn't bring myself to move or speak ... feeling frozen but not at all stiff.

Emotional content went from acceptance/peaceful/stillness to happiness/big smile to feeling like I would gently cry.

This went on only for a few minutes perhaps.

I was able to easily leave the place at my friend's suggestion but found it very difficult to try to formulate words for about 20 minutes, though I think my mind at this time was swirling with crazy little thought fragments and a pretty high energy vibration that I used to label as "anxiety", but that label seems obsolete or inadequate lately because I don't plug thoughts into it so readily now.

Resting in bed later at home I felt (fairly mild) energy surges up through my abdomen and chest that were slightly sexually coloured and a little un-nerving.

Next day, I felt fine and a little tired. I am travelling with this friend to India for a few weeks and he has 'insisted' I try to find out a bit more about what was going on in case it happens again, as it freaked him out more than it did to me.

I can again feel this mildly coming on at times but I think I'm subtly avoiding getting to absorbed in things now, when I rest my gaze on something, for example...possibly because this threw me a bit.

This has been followed up by more "anxious" feeling than I've had for at least a few months (not so bad), and a few "issues" rising up quickly to the surface that kind of insist on being dealt with. Also while looking at things I've seen many times before/am very familiar with, on a few occasions look very alien/different. Like while driving I suddenly think "I must have taken a wrong turn" because my surroundings look kind of weird and it takes a few seconds to fit the "new" stuff together relatively to realise I'm in the right place.

I'll leave it there for now.

Many thanks-
Chuck Kasmire, modified 12 Years ago at 4/23/10 6:08 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/23/10 4:21 PM

RE: Simply the first effects of mindfulness practice?

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi Adam,
Welcome to the group. I also hated my Goenka retreat - but have to admit it was very helpful.

yes, it's just all normal stuff when you start practicing. Everyone's experience is different but what you are describing is well within the range of things that can happen. More importantly, I think you have a good attitude towards the process - which seems to have a mind of its own. Trusting in it makes things easier.