Strange sensation, any ideas?

Bob Middle Sacramento, modified 7 Years ago.

Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 3/12/14 Recent Posts
Hello,

A few days ago whilst meditating something very strange happened to me. I was very deep into it, as I have been for the past month. I was feeling how my mind was very focused like on a single point and that thoughts were whirling through it very rapidly. I tried to come back to my breath but time and again I was drawn back to the whirling feeling. At first every time the feeling would intensify I would open my eyes being afraid of what would happen if I followed through. Then I followed through. It felt like my mind snapped for lack of a better description, like there was a single moment when the tension/focus grew too strong and something just 'died', 'exploded', 'drifted away', 'popped'.

A few minutes after this happened I had cold shivers and I went to sleep waking up the next day feeling like something terrible had happened. I panicked and thought I might have had a stroke. I went to the doctor and they said it wasn't a stroke but they couldn't say what it was.
Today I feel better, my mind feels different. I am calm yet not very focused or concentrated. I have a mixed feeling of sadness and relief. I can't explain it but it feels like something important has happened to me and I can't figure out what it is.

When I try to meditate now I have a completely different sensation. Like there is no or a lot less mental chatter than before. It makes it a little more difficult to meditate since I don't have an anchor in my mind like I used to but I feel sort of 'expelled' from the old mental processes. They have been replaced with something empty, and calm. But I am worried.

I have had severe tension in my body with pain in my neck and shoulder. I have also been experiencing depression that goes on and off, right now its better. The tension has decreased since the event. A few days ago I had pain in my shoulder and neck but today it is really gone. My body feels very tired at the moment and my mind is sort of empty. I feel good but I also feel alarmed, what happened?

Anybody has any thoughts on this?
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tom moylan, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Howdy and welcome.
sounds like A&P event and then into the Dhukka nanas aka. "dark night" territory. if so you are on the ride.

have you read MCTB yet?

good luck and try to have fun.

tom
Bob Middle Sacramento, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 3/12/14 Recent Posts
Hi,

Thanks for the MCTP heads up, been reading now. If you are right, I'm in for some interesting and heavy stuff and I hope whatever skills & will I have will get me through it.
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Dream Walker, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 1335 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Bob Middle Sacramento:
Hi,

Thanks for the MCTP heads up, been reading now. If you are right, I'm in for some interesting and heavy stuff and I hope whatever skills & will I have will get me through it.

Some light reading about the A&P Diagnosing the A&P in case you have not read it.
See if it fits.
~D
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Avi Craimer, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 114 Join Date: 10/29/13 Recent Posts
It definitely sounds to me like the A&P followed by the terror stage. I would recommend Daniel's Cheetah House videos on the insight stages. He gives a very good gut-level understanding of what the dark night stages are like and how to get through them.

Cheetah House Part I
Cheetah House Part II
Cheetah House Part III

If the fear leads to panic attacks, I'd recommend the book Don't Panic by Reid Wilson. It was what finally helped me lick the terror stage and since then I've never had much of a problem with any fear cycles.

You can use this board as a resource if you continue to have trouble.

Best of luck,
Avi Craimer
Bob Middle Sacramento, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 3/12/14 Recent Posts
Thanks for the links. I have been doing some reading and it could be an A&P; the peaking, the burst or vortex and the sudden change in mood, from happy and in some form of bliss to panic. I still feel worried, like I knocked down the door too soon. That I am not ready to deal with this right now – I have been using meditation to ease anxiety and depression, not to cause more of it – but I guess I don't have much of a choice if I am reading up on the information correctly.

Unfortunately I have had some problems meditating since the event. I feel uncomfortable sitting down and meditating while I would look forward to the next sit just a week back. This is where I have to rely on some discipline.
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tom moylan, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
...this is very common and a possible confirmation of the stages past the A&P. i know i could write "don't worry , be happy" but also know that makes pretty thin soup when one is going through thees stages.

try not to be freaked out as that is generally not productive anyway. since the weight of opinion says that once you are at the point you are probably at currently (into the dhukka nanas) that the only way out is through, that means moving forward.

try to take the long view. at some point, sitting will become easier and fun again. your goal should be to keep doing what you did to get where you are until you get past the jittery unfocused uncertain feelings and into equanimity and then to work from that peaceful platform to stream entry.

best of luck and keep us up to date here.

tom
Bob Middle Sacramento, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 3/12/14 Recent Posts
Thanks Tom.

I have kept up with the practice, but it has been hard work to keep myself motivated. It's a much different thing compared to before, I loose focus more often and don't get even with the flow of it. Watching the videos with Dan Ingram helped a lot. I am not as concerned as before about the lack of focus. I just keep on getting in and trying again and again and slowly it seems to make a difference. But the frustration over how easy it was just a week back is sometimes overwhelming.

Anyway I have continued my online quest for an explanation to what it might have been. I am new to the terminology both on this side of the camp and on the other sides. I started meditating to ease anxiety and depression and improve cognition, clearer thoughts, I do have some spiritual wondering going about but my practical motivations is what drew me to it, the spirituality came along as a bonus.

I found this site: http://www.innerexplorations.com/chmystext/isit.htm

It mention the Dark Night (there is a link to another article) and it also seems to map out pretty much what is going on. I guess this is just another terminology for the same event. Do you think I am correct in assuming this? Does the Arriving and Passing have anything to do with what others call ego death, or ego loss? I searched Dans book and I couldn't find any reference to ego death or ego loss. I feel more at home with how people here discuss these matters. I am reading up on the material as fast as I can and I am looking through other posts in the forum so I am starting to get a hang of at least the outline of what is going on. I have a lot more to dive into though and it is helpful to get different viewpoints.

It's funny, I didn't know what an A&P was until week ago, nor did I know a lot about ego death or ego loss except from what some of my psychonaut friends have told me. I have told them I am going to rival their experiences with meditation. And to be honest, I maybe already have but I read in Dans book that people experience the A&P with drugs. So perhaps my friends have gone through this. I will run it by them later and see what matches. Would be interesting.

Once again, thanks for all the inputs and support, it has been great help. I will make an update again in one or two weeks when I hope things will be getting smoother along as I am able to navigate myself better to whatever is going on.
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Avi Craimer, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 114 Join Date: 10/29/13 Recent Posts
I'm pretty sure that ego-death is related to the dukka nyanas (dark night insights stages). These occur after the A & P.

To map it onto the conceptual scheme of that article you posted:

4 A &P = An object is dissolved completely into impermanence for the first time, thereby allowing the perception of the aspect of the subject (ego) which was responsible for the maintaining the previous illusion of the object's solidity. Hence, shortly after the A&P what was formerly experienced as subject/ego/self now becomes a perceptual object.

5. Dissolution = This aspect of ego starts dissolving

6. Terror = One's psyche is threatened by the sense of losing this habitual aspect of self, which can lead to fears that one is literally dying.

7. Misery = The aspect of the ego that one had clung to for so long is now completely inaccessible as "self" and there is a resultant feeling of loss and grief as if a close loved one has died (which indeed in a way it has).

8. Disgust = The aspect of the ego that has died is now present before one as a semi-solid object, it is like looking at the decomposing corpse of the self. If you view this process in the visionary or dream space it can often present a bloody, rotting, or torn apart corpse as the object.

9. Desire for Deliverance = One finally gets so sick of being this state of affairs that one truly wants to let go of the clinging to the dead ego part. This results in the ego part object completely dissolving into impermanence.

10. Re-observation = Now the ego part is gone, but the context or perceptual background against which that ego part made perceptual sense as "self" comes into focus. This needs to unravel now that the "self" it once held is no more.

11. Equanimity = Finally the vibratory fields of the original object, the dead ego part, and the background seem to all merge together into a single unified field. There is a peace and acceptance about the ego death. However, subtle aspects of the perceptual background like thoughts, intentions, space, and time still remain elusive and illusory.
Bob Middle Sacramento, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 3/12/14 Recent Posts
Thanks Avi, very useful.
Bob Middle Sacramento, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 3/12/14 Recent Posts
I have been continuing down the road to find more explanations and I have found something called Depersonalization. I have read through its symptoms and must say a lot of them seem to apply to me too but not all of them and I don't feel as I have a neurological disorder going on here. Is this common too? Are there any view on that? That is, is it normal to go through and A&P and have symptoms of Depersonalization?

The past two days have been hard again. I am trying to sit down but I sometimes have to resort to using music just to get through. Anyway, the sitting this morning was without and it was good. Feels like the whole day is bright for me when I have the meditation back on track.

I have some weird days when I think that I have no idea what I have gotten myself into, but on a good day I get the positive, but it goes up and down. I'm still not through it by mo means but I am moving forward.

The worst moments are when I can't decide what caused it in the first plays. But that just leads to speculation and nothing more. The most promising is A&P so far and I try to repeat that in my mind, Depresonalization sounds, to be honest, like a not so pleasant dip into the psyche, but I have a feeling it is not that from reading the forums and articles I can find.

Any insight into this would be helpful

[edit: grammar and restructure]
Bob Middle Sacramento, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 3/12/14 Recent Posts
A short update:

I have been reading up in the forums and I think I got the answer to the Depersonalization question I had. There are similarities but it is still not the same thing and it is not what is happening to me. Anyway, all in all I am becoming comfortable with the context I am in now and your replies here have been very helpful.

As I believe I mentioned I am no stranger to depression but this is different. As someone here said there is no "blues". I remember I used to always have this melancholia about me when I was blue and down, I don't have it, so this is different.
I am usually a strong willed person, when I really want to do something I do it and the ONLY thing I want to do now is to meditate and it just happens to be the most DIFFICULT thing to do. It is frustrating. I have problems getting up to 30 mins let alone an hour and sometimes there is no satisfaction in the sit whatsoever. But I keep on practicing and on the bright side, after my event (which I have almost no doubts about now – the A&P -> DN) I have been reading up on meditation and been getting familiar with insight practice, noting, concentration and so on. The MCTB is very helpful, and so are the forums.

I'll make an update again in a month by which time I hope I can provide some progress. Until then, I'll keep on sitting through hell.
Eva M Nie, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 831 Join Date: 3/23/14 Recent Posts
The thing with psychological 'illness' labels is that they typically describe tendencies that exist extensively in the 'normal' population (whatever that is) as well. But it's only when the tendencies get so powerful that they are severely impacting day to day life that they get the title of 'disorder' and it is felt that it would be better if they could be toned down. It's actually quite common for psychology students, when they first start learning about various psychological disorders and descriptions, to start fearing that they have one or more of them, because the students often recognize some of those tendencies in themselves. Psych professors often warn students about that in their lectures.

We all have tendencies and phases we go through, but unless those things are impacting life so strongly as to severely degrade quality of life or are causing you to not be able to pay your bills, keep a modicrum of health and cleanliness, and/or not scare the hell out of other humans too much, then it's unlikely a psychologist is going to give you a label of mental illness. And when you think about it, mental illness is not easy to define specifically, which I think makes it easier to fear you have 'it' whatever label you are worrying about. But one culture's apparently totally crazy person might be another culture's very skilled shaman. IMO, such issues as mental health, mostly refer to an individual's ability to conform to minimal standards set by their current society. Can you fit in enough to uphold basic minimal standards? If not, you cause 'disorder' in your society and thus you are 'disordered.' You could also argue that mental health issues also have a lot to do with quality of life on the individual level, but then again, I have seen a lot chronically unhappy people that however are successful with society's basic standards, ie earn lots of money, are not scary, and do not commit serious crimes, and so society does not at all think of them as being mentally ill in any way. And I've seen quite a number of so called 'mentally ill' people who seem quite happy on a regular basis.
Bob Middle Sacramento, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Strange sensation, any ideas?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 3/12/14 Recent Posts
Interesting post, thanks.

A friend of mine who is a psychologist often jokes about how she sees a diagnosis in everyone. She "has" Asperger and I ADHD and so on. No one is safe emoticon

The reason I asked about Depersonalization was that I felt I could recognize some if it symptoms. I was interested in what was going on in the DN and for a period I was extensively googling symptoms and reading up in forums all over the place. I ended up in a Depersonalization forum and it was scary but informative. Some people there seem to be going through what we here call the DN but they don't identify it as such but call it a disorder. It seems to eventually go away or become lighter but can take many years – just like a DN you don't do anything about.

The tricky part of this, at least to me, is that you can enter the DN without practicing meditation. It can happen out of the blue.
Now if you wake up one day feeling slow and down when you just a day before was up and energetic it might set you up on a really bad trip, much worse than it has to be. And you can end up with a diagnosis of some sort if you pursue it through psychiatry. My luck was that I brought it on while sitting so I assumed it had something to do with meditation and so I ended up anchoring here instead of some other place with deeper waters, not that these waters are in any way shallow.