~heart pain: not uncommon in early stages, or should I seek medical advice?

Phantom of the Opera, modified 8 Years ago at 10/8/13 4:13 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 10/8/13 4:13 PM

~heart pain: not uncommon in early stages, or should I seek medical advice?

Posts: 24 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Here's the description of the sit:
Tuesday, October 1st, 25mn
I freaked out during this sit:

At first, it took me about 2mn to realize that I had sit down to meditate. Instead of counting the breath or of taking it as anchor, I decided to pay attention to whatever was coming up, since there was a lot, sights, sounds, tensions, thoughts.
Thoughts were not considered as disturbances from my noting: they would not take over the mind, and instead their content 'flew off the caption' as if blown gently away by the wind, and once empty, the 'caption' would leave too.
It felt nice, like a little insight. Well, some thoughts were still sticky, for instance: is it time to note the feeling tone of thoughts in my practice? As one way to disembed from the fact that the content of most of them -and, until the previous sit, my relationship to their rising- was negative.
The pleasure gotten from observing thoughts pass away as almost any other sensation continued for a while; then my posture felt a bit tense, tension rose in the belly and the chest, with contractions at the level of the eyes and things in the brain, nothing unusual. The pain in the chest increased, like if the heart was under heavy pressure. It had happened several times already in my sits early this summer. I decided not to intervene. But the pain and the pounding located at the heart increased in intensity to a level that panicked me, and I interrupted the sit abruptly (about 5mn before the bell).
Next, in the kitchen I had a slight nausea but did not vomit, then my head started spinning so I got on the ground to prevent from falling down/passing out. I didn't stay on my knees long though, maybe 20 seconds. Then I recovered pretty quickly.
But it reminded of a little bad trip I had say 5 years ago, from smoking hash (which I was not accustomed to anymore) with the usual accompanying alcool, in a little party at a friend's; I didn't feel well and passed out, and I got anxious enough to actually ask the firemen (here they can suppleate Emergency doctors for such things) to come over check me out!! I slept at this friend's place and noticed very erratic heart rythm, and started to anguish 'oh my god should i go to the hospital probably for nothing but strong anxiety, or should i risk dying of a heart attack in my sleep', that kind of thing, till dawn.

Soooo, yesterday, I had a frightening physical experience during a sit, and I'm wondering: is this kind of symptom common or not (among meditators in the early stages)?
I don't have any known cardiac pathology, but I ve fell unconscious on occasions (like, around 7 times), often because of hypoglycemia, or strong skull massage!


Short meditation context:
- I'm trying to establish a daily practice. Lately, I've been keeping practice notes at KFD.
- I think I crossed Mind&Body recently.
- The above looks like the 3Cs to me (I've just rewatched Daniel's great geeky video on the Nana graph)
- I might have had an A&P two years ago.an A&P two years ago.

Thanks in advance for any input.
Dream Walker, modified 8 Years ago at 10/8/13 5:08 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 10/8/13 5:08 PM

RE: ~heart pain: not uncommon in early stages, or should I seek medical adv

Posts: 1430 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
If you have crossed the A&P then the next thing would be MCTB 5. Dissolution, Entrance to the Dark Night
followed by MCTB 6. Fear . Ruling out that you are having real heart problems...(maybe you should check?) I would continue to meditate and see if fear becomes predominate...kinda can't miss it really...not fun but knowing things are unfolding as they are supposed to can calm you down some. If you have no heart problems other than meditating...you're healthy and work out/exercise without symptoms then...welcome to the dark night. Only practice will tell.
I have had heart chakra problems in the past, pain and pressure ...I have added 5 minutes or so of happiness (stomach area), loving kindness (heart area) meditation and it seems to have cleared up....you might want to try it a little metta and see what happens.

The analogy I think of is a pipe with love flowing....I play with the flow and size of pipe. If your pipe is too small or clogged you could get some pressure...I try stretching the pipe size to allow more thru. (Reading this I sound like a new age nut with tantric double entendres but whatever....if it works it works)
Good luck,
Daniel M Ingram, modified 8 Years ago at 10/12/13 3:00 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 10/12/13 2:57 PM

RE: ~heart pain: not uncommon in early stages, or should I seek medical adv

Posts: 3230 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
The thing with chest pain is this:

It is really hard to know what is what without real testing, meaning by a qualified medical practitioner, which basically means a cardiologist.

Heart rhythm problems or possible cardiac ischemia are nothing to fool with.

While perhaps up to 1/3 of workups done in emergency departments for chest pain are panic attacks, there are the 2/3 that have something else going on, and there are other disturbing statistics...

If a patient presents to an emergency department with chest pain and they get no definitive workup (meaning nuclear stress test, cardiac cath, plus perhaps outpatient wearable cardiac monitoring for palpitations, etc.) then among those that are determined to be of "non-cardiac origin", the diagnosis will be wrong about 1-3% of the time and they will have a heart attack within the month. This means that it is very hard for anyone to tell you that you don't have heart disease unless they really do the complete workup, meaning beyond what is available when they are sitting there and have the full powers of a modern emergency department at their disposal, with cardiac monitors, cardiac enzyme labs, EKGs, clinical skills, electrolyte panels, a full history and physical, and the like, and they will still be wrong about 1 in 30 to 1 in 100 or so.

Thus, nobody here can possibly tell you if that is really a cardiac problem. If you are asking the question, you should seek real medical care and get a much better answer. It is not something to fool with. Bad things can occur, such as death. Even if you are relatively young (notice that no age or other cardiac risk factors are given in your email beyond alcohol and drug use), you could still have an underlying cardiac arrhythmia, such as Wolff-Parkinson-White, PSVT or others, and even teenagers occasionally have heart attacks, though it is rare in general terms, but those general statistics have little bearing on your specific case.

Thus, my strong, unofficial advice is to get checked out by a qualified cardiologist. By way of full legal disclaimer, I am not your doctor, just in the roll of online forum moderator here at this time. I realize that lots of people don't have health insurance in the US (assuming you are in the US, which is just an assumption), and lots of people are willing to risk global financial ruin to keep it that way, but there are ways to do it that are not financially terrible, such as at teaching hospitals and the like, so go get checked out by a cardiologist somewhere that you can afford it as soon as possible. If you are fortunate enough to live in a place where ordinary people all have some health coverage, meaning the civilized countries, go and use it, as you and your family paid for it.