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noting practice with ear ringing

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noting practice with ear ringing
Answer
5/26/15 7:26 AM
hi everyone.

i have tinnitus (continious ear ringing). i notice it occasionally during the day, but when i settle in for meditation, it clearly becomes the dominant sensation.

it has certain underlying physical characteristics like pressure, prickling etc. (other than the sound itself).

it also triggers certain emotions like fear, aversion and hatred.

so i could spend my whole session noting "ringing, pressure, hatred, ringing, fear, ringing, prickling, aversion, restlesness, ringing..."

i was noting these sensations, then other sensations in the body, then returning to ringing, going back and forth... but these days i'm not sure this is the right thing to do, as sometimes i deliberately take my attention away from ringing not to get caught up in this cycle that i've mentioned.

any suggestions? (or anyone with same/similar issues?)

thanks.

RE: noting practice with ear ringing
Answer
5/26/15 8:00 AM as a reply to Ufuk C..
Have you tried U Ba Khin / Goenka body scanning? With that technique you are allowed to "note" a sensation only when it appears right in the zone you are focussing on at the moment. You could try that and if / when the tinnitus recedes go back to Mahasi-style noting.

RE: noting practice with ear ringing
Answer
5/26/15 8:08 AM as a reply to Ufuk C..
I have tinnitus as well. My experience might be a little different than yours, as it rarely becomes the dominant sensation during meditation. As an experiment a couple of times, I made the ringing itself the object of meditation. I went in with the assumption that the ringing was not a single tone, but some different tones, and that it probably wasn't really 'continuous' either. So, the different tones, when they came and went, which side they were on and so on were the focus of those sessions.

Your mileage may vary....

RE: noting practice with ear ringing
Answer
5/26/15 5:18 PM as a reply to Ufuk C..
Is your goal to cycle through the nanas and attain paths or learn more skillful, moment-by-moment ways to deal with the pain?  If its the first one, it might not matter what your objects of attention are (meaning, you could just go with the pain-aversion loop the whole time).  This might not be tolerable or at all desirable.  If its the second one, I think Shinzen Young has some good, systematic instructions for dealing with pain.

RE: noting practice with ear ringing
Answer
5/27/15 4:06 AM as a reply to Drew Miller.
thank you for the replies everyone. i'll write down the answers without quoting.

@neko: yes i did goenka style for a couple of months and attended 2 retreats. i think i hit ap at my last retreat there, but there were 2 main problems with goenka style. first one is, mahasi noting includes feelings as objects, which feels more appropriate. and the other (more important) one is, there are so little help that i could get with goenka style (regarding to qualified teachers or advanced practicioners). it's much easier to get help or have an online teacher when doing mahasi style. but i hear your point and i was thinking about this for sometime too. thanks for reminding.

@noah s: yes, my goal is to attain path(s). it's just that every sitting with so much negativity is not that very motivating (especially in dark night) i am trying these days to focus solely on the ringing, as you would concentrate on the breath, but the ringing becomes very VERY loud after the sessions end. so that's another setback for me.

@drew miller: (just to clarify tinnitus vs. nada sound) i have read some articles about the "nada" sound, but i think tinnitus has different aspects into it. first of all, it's not only audiable in total silence, i can hear it whenever i turn my attention to it, so it's a bit loud. it also has some negative physical attributes that i've mentioned before... but florian's discusson that you've sent had some additional information since i last visited. so i'll read them all. thanks!

RE: noting practice with ear ringing
Answer
5/27/15 12:35 PM as a reply to Ufuk C..
Ufak C,,

That sounds like a frustrating situation.  I hope you find something to remedy it.  I suspect you have considered many different potential medical solutions to the problem. As you may be aware, when conventional methods of attempting to control phenomena don't work, what is left is to work towards transforming the relationship with the phenomena. Wishing you peace, happiness, and rest within the noisy uncomfortable ringing.

Metta,

Drew

RE: noting practice with ear ringing
Answer
5/27/15 2:03 PM as a reply to Ufuk C..
Hi Ufuk,

My sympathies! I posted a somewhat similar question a few months ago. The fear was a big issue at times (I kept thinking brain tumor) and made it hard to note, as you say. I was also experiencing a lot of jaw pain, and face tingling, so it was not pleasant at times. What helped for me is I switched to watching the breath in the abdomen, not the nostrils, as I had been doing (Goenka trained too). I also eased up on my formal meditation schedule for a while.

Now feeling a lot better, maybe not pushing so hard. Face pain (and jaw pain, thanksfully) seems resolved, leaving just general (pleasant) vibrations. Concentration is good. The sound is still there, but does not feel as intense and threatening. I can even use it as an object of meditation now without fear arising. 

Obviously hard to compare levels of sound. I hope your discomfort is eased soon too! For a while I was ready to give up so I feel your pain.

Best,

RE: noting practice with ear ringing
Answer
5/28/15 4:53 AM as a reply to Al.
Al:
I was also experiencing a lot of jaw pain, and face tingling, so it was not pleasant at times.



hi Al. actually, jaw pain and face tingling are symptoms of progression in insight maps, so you might want to check them out... and thanks for the tips.

the thing is, i want to reconcile and make it an object of investigation. make it an ally instead of easing the pain. because it actually eases all by itself when i don't meditate for a while (couple of days). so, it's a bit confusing for me right now...

RE: noting practice with ear ringing
Answer
5/28/15 6:20 AM as a reply to Ufuk C..
Ufuk C.:


the thing is, i want to reconcile and make it an object of investigation. make it an ally instead of easing the pain. because it actually eases all by itself when i don't meditate for a while (couple of days). so, it's a bit confusing for me right now...

My advice is the following:
1. Notice if there is enough calm to put your attention on the ear ringing(meaning you can look at it from a certain distants and are not overwhelmed by it.
2. When there is not enough calm then focus on your primary object, this can be the breath at the abdomen or the nostrils(I recommend the breath at the abdomen because this has more distants to the ear ringing). Put your attention on the primary object and note(label) with power. Stay with your primary object until concentration and calm are present. By focusing on the primary object you put your attention away from the object(ear ringing) that creates irritation, aversion, tension and because of this, the mind has a chance of re(gaining) concentration and calm. When concentration and calm are present do the instruction as descripted in 3.
3. When there is enough calm then focus on the ear ringing and note(label) it. If aversion arises then note that too. You can note ´hearing´ and ´aversion´ the whole session, no problem. When you notice that you get overwhelmed again, then just do as descripted in 2.

It is possible that you switch between 2 and 3 a few times, but that doesn´t matter. Everytime you will understand a bit more and your relationship with the ear ringing will improve.

Good Luck!

RE: noting practice with ear ringing
Answer
5/28/15 7:46 PM as a reply to Ufuk C..
Ufuk C.:
Al:
I was also experiencing a lot of jaw pain, and face tingling, so it was not pleasant at times.



hi Al. actually, jaw pain and face tingling are symptoms of progression in insight maps, so you might want to check them out... and thanks for the tips.

the thing is, i want to reconcile and make it an object of investigation. make it an ally instead of easing the pain. because it actually eases all by itself when i don't meditate for a while (couple of days). so, it's a bit confusing for me right now...
Hi Ufuk, Yes, read in MCTB -- I think it was the 3 Characteristics -- that these types of sensations could be common. I know I passed the A&P over a year ago, and possibly reach low equanimity sometimes but I really seem to be all over the place. Some days are quite frankly awful -- miserable and gut churning -- but thankfully not with the jaw pain anymore. I think wherever I am map-wise the answer is practice, so that's what I'm doing and not reading too much into where I may be. Just noting things as they come.

I agree with you though. I completely accept the sounds now, without fear, they're just there and no longer threatening. I can now make them an object of investigation as they change tone but for a few months I couldn't -- it was just too unpleasant and intense. I almost felt like my jaw was some kind of antenna amplifying sounds to the world.

And the face tingling is more diffused over the whole body now, and vibrations usually are pleasant.

So maybe hang in there. John's above advice makes a lot of sense.

RE: noting practice with ear ringing
Answer
5/29/15 4:04 AM as a reply to Al.
@al: i also have lots of ups and downs post a&p, so i hear you... i understand that it will take time to be friends with the ringing. i have it for 3 years now (it's not that long, but at the same time i still remember what "quiet" felt like.)


@john power: now that seems like a solid advice. thanks!