Overwhelming Mental Chatter During Samatha

Nathan, modified 5 Years ago.

Overwhelming Mental Chatter During Samatha

Posts: 5 Join Date: 5/27/15 Recent Posts
Hey everyone,

I've been doing a little bit of research for the past couple hours to try and find out what is going on with my concentration practice. I'll begin by telling you all how long I've practiced and what I typically do for practice everyday.

For 3.5 years I have practiced now, but only started really knowing what I was doing about a year ago. That was when I began my current practice. I think I was only at Mind & Body at this time, since I really fucked up the previous 2.5 years with my practice.

My typical practice for the last year has been samatha in the mornings when I wake up, and at night before going to bed. During the day I always do my best to remain mindful of the three characteristics, as my insight practice. I have ramped up my samatha time to three hours a day now. In the morning, I start with 10 minutes of deep relaxing breathing while lying down, then do 20 minutes of metta practice ling down. I end by going to my chair and doing one hour of jhana practice with my focus always on the breath. Then I repeat this at night.

Lately, I can tell I'm entering some new territory. I have been dealing with an increased pressure in my head, like the feeling of a balloon being blown up from the inside. I have researched this phenomenon extensively and am always finding different answers. Some say it's Kundalini, others say my crown chakra is near activation. Some say to stop meditating. It seems like nobody really knows what to do with this. On my last retreat the instructor told me she had the same problem and eventually the energy evened out into permeating bliss. She suggested I just continue on my path and always maintain mindfulness during practice. So I have been doing that. The pressure is always changing, sometimes it feels like there is a brick in my head during practice, and other times not so bad. It used to really affect me during the day. I could barely hold a conversation sometimes the pressure was so debilitating. This has gone away now, and it usually only is there during meditation.

Another phenomenon occurring is kriyas. They intensify when the pressure in my head intensifies. If a lot of pressure starts to build up, then a flash of kriyas will happen and release the pressure a bit, until it begins building up again. Sometimes, the kriyas result in large amounts of pleasure, not permeating, but like a bliss wave. Sometimes they are sudden and quick, and other times smooth flowing mudras. From what I've read, it all points to Kundalini Awakening.

Also, I'm getting almost no pleasure from my concentration now. I used to be able to follow the breath quite easily and enjoy the permeating bliss of 1st jhana. Now, it feels like I'm not even close, and thoughts are storming my mind while I have all this pressure and the kriyas going on.

So...that is what's happening right now at this moment during meditation. Otherwise, while not meditating, I'm very much at ease and content. I'm currently living in Thailand by myself. Have little desire for sex now, despite being able to get it at any time here. Not too interested in talking to many people. I just research some online business ideas I have, go eat, do some shopping maybe, meditate, and repeat. Life is so fucking simple. No desire to buy much. I'm having trouble distinguishing whether I have apathy or equinimity. They are close cousins. Sometimes I feel like I'm swinging between the two just depending on the day. I'm pretty content just being alone, observing my thoughts and emotions, like a retreat almost. My social skills are fine, but I don't need people much. Others don't really understand, but I'm happy this way. Money isn't a huge motivation for me either, I just need enough to survive. People also keep asking me if I want to explore the rest of Thailand, go diving, climing, see the different provinces. I just don't care about that it seems.

My main questions are:

What the hell is going on in my meditations? I cannot pinpoint it despite plenty of research. This is a well informed community with plenty of practical experience. I'm hoping somebody knows here.

Where might I be on the insight maps, based on what I have said? I've never really known since I came here about six months ago. I've just never been able to figure it out. Things don't seem to be going in accordance with the maps. I'm struggling so much in meditation, but I'm so at ease in everyday life. That doesn't line up.

Any help is appreciated! Thank you so much!
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Noah S, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Overwhelming Mental Chatter During Samatha

Posts: 1532 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
It might be a really, really strong, and really, really prolonged a&p.  One guess, which might be useful if you haven't heard that particular possibility from anyone else.
Nathan, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Overwhelming Mental Chatter During Samatha

Posts: 5 Join Date: 5/27/15 Recent Posts
Noah S:

It might be a really, really strong, and really, really prolonged a&p.  One guess, which might be useful if you haven't heard that particular possibility from anyone else.

I went back to review Daniel's descriptions of the A&P once again (it's been a while), and I'm finding many similarities with my situation. Not everything fits, but enough of it does that you are probably correct. The kundalini experiences, shaking, and my strong ability to quickly feel vibrations point to it. I think you got it.

This stuff has been going on for a while. If I take a step back and look at the situation more honestly and objectively, I am making progress through this stage. The kriyas and dying down a bit and this morning I began to feel more of a cool bliss spreading through my body with less head pressure. Taking a closer look at the phenomena and seeing them for what they are has always been a priority for me.

Also, when I posted I was feeling some lack of energy and let it spill onto the page. Generally, right now I am a highly motivated individual who is feeling a lot of general sexual lust, and have big plans still. Tons of energy and love talking to people. This all matches A&P!

Daniel mentiones this as well. Sexual confusion. Last night I did have sex, NOT a Thai prostitute ha ha ha. I clearly have some unresolved issues around sexuality like many other young men. I mean, I want to have lots of sex right? With pretty girls. It's a manly thing to do, but it seems to get in the way of my path. So, on one hand I want to fulfill my sexual desires, and on the other my spiritual path. The conflict was torturing me last night after the deed was done, because I seem to lose so much spiritual energy after sexual release. Or maybe it's just all in my head ;)

Alex L:

I swithced up to jhanna 1-2yrs ago and have had similar meditative experiences.  I suppose i should switch back to noting/insight practice but i kinda of like the solidity of the concentration experience.  Even if it can be rather uncomfortable, in a way very much like you write.  I've given up long sits for now which works well for my lifestyle, i.e, daughters of 1.5 and 4.


I was talking to Kenneth Folk the other day and mentioned this discomfort.   He hypothesized that it was my experience of the second noble truth, i.e., suffering.  Still, i have to live with it and should figure my way around it.  In July i complained to Bhante G about it but dont remember that he completely understood my issue.

if you search around you can find this is actually a common complaint.  I believe i can attach a convo where Jenny said that Daniel plans to write about it in his next book.  she believes the solution is to move the energy to another part of the body, which seems to make sense.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5757436

I've heard other dharma teachers talk about imagining the brain inside the head and look for ways to relieve the pressure.  Avi Kramer was one of the guys who talked about.  Sorry i dont have the link but it may be searchable.

Enjoy Thailand.  Did you make it to Chiang Mai?
Congrats to having thse kids. Becoming a dad must be one of the greatest things, probably one of the only things I would let get in the way of my own practice emoticon

Interesting you've been going through similar experiences. I have been finding that this isn't uncommon at all, but nobody seems to have any idea what this stuff is. There are so many different interpretations! Looking forward to reading Daniel's next book. He should have good insight on this phenomena.

Actually, the pressure really isn't that bad anymore. It used to be crippling, both during meditation and during the day, but now it has smoothed out considerably during the day, and I can kind of relax into it during meditation. I think this follows the natural progression of what should happen with continued practice.

Thanks! I have been in Chiang Mai for about two weeks now, working mainly on my new online business plans, and doing some online dating. I love the good Thai women haha! Working on my spiritual practice too of course. I'm not too interested in doing any of the touristy things. I want to immerse myself in the Thai world and gain perspective, rather than just having fun. Learning more about the culture has been interesting, and I fit in here pretty well (not being an obnoxiously loud sex hunter like many of the other young tourists). Language is tough, but I'm learning, and that's what matters! Have you been here before?

katy steger:

Lovely descriptions. 


Perhaps just check your blood pressure when you're having the head pressure issues. Does high BP run in the family?

Personally, I think apathy and equinimity are far apart in feeling, as apathy has dissatisfaction it in (as I would denote that experience anyway. and equanimity is fine). 

Richard Zen just made a post this evening about being in comfort much more often due to his practice, going into that. Do you have maybe any guilt to letting yourself just let go and survive simply and well, as in an "I should..." or a pressure to be otherwise which is delivering a fight to your head without concepts nor words?


Else this rang true to me, where you wrote: "She suggested I just continue on my path and always maintain mindfulness during practice. So I have been doing that"

Thank you katy! I have been working on my writing skills. Glad someone has taken notice!

Now, down to business...my blood pressure is fine haha. I'm young and fit. Never had a problem with it.

In my opinion, apathy and equanimity are very similar mental states. They may feel completely different (one sucks, the other is awesome), but they share similar subtle characteristics. Apathy is basically not caring, right. And equanimity is harmonious balance of emotions. My own definitions there. Sometimes when I am really apathetic, I am playing the card that I am truly feeling equanimous. It's an excuse to not take action, when a difficult situation is upon me. I'm running short on time right now and will try to expand later on where I'm going with this...I just seem to switch between these states quite often.
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Alex L, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Overwhelming Mental Chatter During Samatha

Posts: 158 Join Date: 12/23/11 Recent Posts
Interesting you've been going through similar experiences. I have been finding that this isn't uncommon at all, but nobody seems to have any idea what this stuff is. There are so many different interpretations! Looking forward to reading Daniel's next book. He should have good insight on this phenomena.
...
Thanks! I have been in Chiang Mai for about two weeks now, working mainly on my new online business plans, and doing some online dating. I love the good Thai women haha! Working on my spiritual practice too of course. I'm not too interested in doing any of the touristy things. I want to immerse myself in the Thai world and gain perspective, rather than just having fun. Learning more about the culture has been interesting, and I fit in here pretty well (not being an obnoxiously loud sex hunter like many of the other young tourists). Language is tough, but I'm learning, and that's what matters! Have you been here before?



I think a lot of us have been through similar issues.  Though i worry sometimes that my two strong coffee-a-day high fat ketogenic diet may catch up with me, it seems to support meditative concentration.  I can link to another convo i was involved in on the same issue, and within it another convo from a little while back. 

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5763364

T
hailand and its people are lovely.  Everything about it is great.  I was there five years ago with friends.  My girlfriend of 1.5 months joined me a few weeks later and within two months, she was my fiancee.  Now we have two girls.  I sounds like you're a bit younger so good that you can enjoy single life! Great if you can learn the language too.

Alex
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Alex L, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Overwhelming Mental Chatter During Samatha

Posts: 158 Join Date: 12/23/11 Recent Posts
I swithced up to jhanna 1-2yrs ago and have had similar meditative experiences.  I suppose i should switch back to noting/insight practice but i kinda of like the solidity of the concentration experience.  Even if it can be rather uncomfortable, in a way very much like you write.  I've given up long sits for now which works well for my lifestyle, i.e, daughters of 1.5 and 4.

I was talking to Kenneth Folk the other day and mentioned this discomfort.   He hypothesized that it was my experience of the second noble truth, i.e., suffering.  Still, i have to live with it and should figure my way around it.  In July i complained to Bhante G about it but dont remember that he completely understood my issue.

if you search around you can find this is actually a common complaint.  I believe i can attach a convo where Jenny said that Daniel plans to write about it in his next book.  she believes the solution is to move the energy to another part of the body, which seems to make sense.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5757436

I've heard other dharma teachers talk about imagining the brain inside the head and look for ways to relieve the pressure.  Avi Kramer was one of the guys who talked about.  Sorry i dont have the link but it may be searchable.

Enjoy Thailand.  Did you make it to Chiang Mai?
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katy steger, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Overwhelming Mental Chatter During Samatha

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Lovely descriptions.

Perhaps just check your blood pressure when you're having the head pressure issues. Does high BP run in the family?

Personally, I think apathy and equinimity are far apart in feeling, as apathy has dissatisfaction it in (as I would denote that experience anyway. and equanimity is fine).

Richard Zen just made a post this evening about being in comfort much more often due to his practice, going into that. Do you have maybe any guilt to letting yourself just let go and survive simply and well, as in an "I should..." or a pressure to be otherwise which is delivering a fight to your head without concepts nor words?


Else this rang true to me, where you wrote: "She suggested I just continue on my path and always maintain mindfulness during practice. So I have been doing that"

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