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Extreme negative hallucinations

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Extreme negative hallucinations
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11/10/14 11:54 PM
I've been meditating for 6 years and have always had mental images of insects.  The problem is they have been getting more and more realistic, and they now attack me every time I am in a hypnagogic state.  Some nights I can't get any sleep because I have to keep waking myself up to flee from them.  One of them in particular, a giant wasp, has the most intense negative body sensations coupled with it and it feels and sounds like it is inside my forehead.

My question is, what can I do to get rid of them?  I understand that a strict vipassana meditator would allow them to come up and get more intense and realistic and just observe them with equanimity even if it is hell, but I am hoping for some other way.  Has anyone had an experience of this nature and did something to manipulate conditions to make them more pleasant?

RE: Extreme negative hallucinations
Answer
11/11/14 12:14 AM as a reply to deltawaves.
Hi Delta Waves: What you are describing sounds like it is outside of normal meditative side effects due to the unreality (which you're aware of) of the hallucinations, the intensity of the discomfort and the way it is disrupting your life. It may be more of a sensory processing or psychological health issue. In this case seeing a doctor/psychiatrist/psychologist is much more useful than ramping up the intensity with meditation. If you need further assistance locating something along those lines you can message me, but a quick google search would work as well. I do hope you find assistance as it sounds unpleasant.-Bill

RE: Extreme negative hallucinations
Answer
11/11/14 2:27 AM as a reply to deltawaves.
deltawaves:
I've been meditating for 6 years and have always had mental images of insects.  The problem is they have been getting more and more realistic, and they now attack me every time I am in a hypnagogic state.  Some nights I can't get any sleep because I have to keep waking myself up to flee from them.  One of them in particular, a giant wasp, has the most intense negative body sensations coupled with it and it feels and sounds like it is inside my forehead.

My question is, what can I do to get rid of them?  I understand that a strict vipassana meditator would allow them to come up and get more intense and realistic and just observe them with equanimity even if it is hell, but I am hoping for some other way.  Has anyone had an experience of this nature and did something to manipulate conditions to make them more pleasant?

Hi DW,

Six years of meditation sounds pretty solid. I assume however that you haven't broke through, had stream entry. On the other hand it is not uncommon to have such strong fears after SE.

I had such visions of bears for years and didn't understand it. I don't know anything about it but a friend of mine, who had some background in shamanism, told me that bear is my power animal. I don't know how that comes about, perhaps from prev lives. At some point those visions passed and didn't return. A student of mine had similar visions of big spiders and was terrified of them. I told him to meet the spider the next time it comes up to see what happens and... nothing happened. Except that the spiders never came back.

My teacher once told me that subconscious creates these visions from ones own karmic tendencies which then pop up into the conscious mind. Why? So that these fears may be seen through/uprooted. You know, fears have the greatest potential for spiritual understanding. Fear is an abstract thing but can make one totally disoriented and shake you off from your body just like that. However, if you study your fears, that is if they aren't powerful enough to disturb your mental stability, you can understand that they are very abstract and deceptive and that you go along into it's illusory trick. 

My opinion is that "you cannot get rid of them". I think no fear can be gotten "rid of", that is not how it goes. It is the same with I-delusion. "You2 cannot get rid of "it". You can only see that there is no me to begin with, nor the fear.

Calm yourself and meet it face to face. Don't fight it and don't run away. They are just images and sounds created by your own mind. See what happens. Then you can do the same to the person, your self, who is affected by these fears.

Baba

RE: Extreme negative hallucinations
Answer
11/11/14 10:13 AM as a reply to deltawaves.
I'll second being cautious about this kind of thing.  If it is a psychological problem, then meditation isn't going to solve it for you.

Are you particularly afraid of insects, though?  It might help to take some time to visualize insects crawling on you, or look at pictures on google, and practice remaining calm.  I successfully treated my arachnophobia this way.  You can do it safely this way because, presumably, this problem with hallucinations is only happening while you are meditating/concentrating (if it comes up in normal everyday consciousness, it's probably a deeper problem!) Fears tend to come up in meditation because we are opening ourselves up to them.  If you can work out your fear of insects outside of meditation, you might not have to deal with the wasp hallucination directly.  Wasps just won't be on your mind because you won't be afraid of them.

EDIT: I disagree that "you" can't get rid of a fear. I am no longer afraid of spiders.  I didn't see it as a delision, I just decided to stop being afraid.  With practice, it became the new normal.

RE: Extreme negative hallucinations
Answer
6/14/18 4:17 AM as a reply to deltawaves.
Hi Deltawave, 
I'm curious as to what happened to your visions of insects and which path you took to deal with this. 
Tine

RE: Extreme negative hallucinations
Answer
6/15/18 8:10 AM as a reply to Christine.
Shinzen Young dealt with exactly the same phenomenon--for a period of time, he saw insects even just walking around.

If I remember correctly, he overcame this by applying mindfulness and equanimity in a certain way. I could be wrong here, but I believe he told the story in his interview on the "10%Happier" podcast. Here's the link. Sorry if the story isn't in here but I don't have time to listen to it again to confirm, but I believe this is the one.

https://player.fm/series/10-happier-with-dan-harris/64-shinzen-young-meditation-teacher