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Pressure in my head (left and right temples)

I have been practising shamatha meditation for the past 8 months (in retreat) and a week ago I started experiencing pressure in my the left and right temples of my head. The pressure increases if I continue to meditate. It remains even after the meditation, i.e. it is present most of the time. The pressure is so strong that it's difficult to meditate. It fades away if I lie down. But after almost a week of resting without meditation, the pressure is still constant. I wonder if anyone here have similar experience? Any advice in this matter would be very much appreciated! 

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/17/16 10:34 PM as a reply to B WC Teoh.
I have experienced a lot of this. This pressure is the result of a volitional formation. It starts with some idea in the mind (such as "I am going to meditate" and an idea of what that should look like), there is some kind of pleasant feeling associated with that, so that there is craving, and then you take some kind of action to try to obtain the desired outcome (such as trying to put one's attention on the breath). The craving/grasping/forcing causes some muscular contractions (probably in the neck and head) that result in head pressure.

In other words, while you are practicing you are also thinking about an outcome, desiring it, and trying to get it (grasping/forcing). The grasping/forcing results in bodily tension.

It can probably be addressed in various ways. At the level of thought, it could mean giving up your intention to "attain" something. Could also mean being extra mindful of mental processes in a non-judgemental way. Or just intentionally dropping any extra mental activity when it's noticed. At the level of feeling or craving, it might mean being totally non-judgemental toward whatever arises. At the level of muscular contractions, it could mean just relaxing the body (and mind) every time attention wanders even subtly, or practicing yoga or something. You will have to play with it and see what you need.

Be on the lookout for a subtle stream of thought in the background of your meditation, esp. monitoring outcomes, thinking about the meditation, etc.

Not an expert meditator, but I have spent quite a bit of time with this ...

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/18/16 8:21 AM as a reply to Chris G.
Thanks very much for your input.  However, the main issue is that the pressure persists even during post meditation periods, i.e. it is present most of the time. It lightens up when I lie down. When I make special effort to relax, it also lightens up. But it comes back again if I'm not totally relaxed. 

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/19/16 11:40 PM as a reply to B WC Teoh.
I have a similar issue, though for me it might be anxiety related. Not sure if you also experience anxiety, but it seems to be a symptom some people have. The only advice I could offer would be to try to practice in a lighter, more open fashion, instead of forcefully constraining your attention to that one area.

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/20/16 8:05 PM as a reply to Elijah Smith.
Thanks! Yes, I'm trying to practise in a lighter an open fashion - it seems to be the only way I can inch a little forward with my practice. And even then the pressure persists, though somewhat less. I don't have any anxiety issues that I'm aware of. 

I think this thread should be in the 'concentration' section. I can't figure out how to move it there. So I'll re-post another one there. Hope it's ok.

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/25/16 7:44 PM as a reply to B WC Teoh.
Yeah, it definitely sounds like there's an emotional thing going on beneath conscious awareness. There's usually some thinking and craving/aversion happening, even if you can't see it at the moment. Which is why lying down or taking it easy helps (even if only a bit). 

Try taking some time out to just sit and do nothing. Maybe just on the couch or a chair, not trying to meditate or do anything, just giving yourself a break. It's a very healthy thing to do. Or go for a walk -- not to go anywhere in particular, not a strenuous hike or run or anything, just an easy walk with no particular destination.

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/27/16 3:31 AM as a reply to Chris G.
Thanks mate! Will try. 

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
12/31/19 5:30 PM as a reply to B WC Teoh.
B WC Teoh:
I have been practising shamatha meditation for the past 8 months (in retreat) and a week ago I started experiencing pressure in my the left and right temples of my head. The pressure increases if I continue to meditate. It remains even after the meditation, i.e. it is present most of the time. The pressure is so strong that it's difficult to meditate. It fades away if I lie down. But after almost a week of resting without meditation, the pressure is still constant. I wonder if anyone here have similar experience? Any advice in this matter would be very much appreciated! 


Hey friend, I'm wondering if you ever found any relief to this? I similarily have been making great progress with meditation and then I get intense head pressure that is somewhat debilitaing and stop. I've actualy been through this cycle 3 times already. Where I start a fairly serious practice, start feeling wonderful, after about 3 months I develop all sorts of head pressure and phenomena, continue practice seems to make it worse, so I stop....

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/1/20 2:30 AM as a reply to john paul komperda.
john paul komperda:
B WC Teoh:
I have been practising shamatha meditation for the past 8 months (in retreat) and a week ago I started experiencing pressure in my the left and right temples of my head. The pressure increases if I continue to meditate. It remains even after the meditation, i.e. it is present most of the time. The pressure is so strong that it's difficult to meditate. It fades away if I lie down. But after almost a week of resting without meditation, the pressure is still constant. I wonder if anyone here have similar experience? Any advice in this matter would be very much appreciated! 


Hey friend, I'm wondering if you ever found any relief to this? I similarily have been making great progress with meditation and then I get intense head pressure that is somewhat debilitaing and stop. I've actualy been through this cycle 3 times already. Where I start a fairly serious practice, start feeling wonderful, after about 3 months I develop all sorts of head pressure and phenomena, continue practice seems to make it worse, so I stop....

It has been better over last 2 years. I've received advice to meditate on visualizing a flame three fingers' width below the navel, and this helps. I haven't done that much of it though. So the pressure hasn't totally gone away yet. From what I've heard so far, this is caused by grasping, which causes energies (Tibetan: lung) to be stuck.

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/1/20 11:25 PM as a reply to B WC Teoh.
I started developing pressure in my face during a retreat a couple years ago. It scared me quite a bit at the time, and I backed off meditation for a while.

To make a long story short, the pressure is still there. However, it no longer bothers me. I don't know if it will ever go away (I'll let you know if it does emoticon )

I don't believe it's as harmful as I thought it was initially. I'm not sure exactly what causes it, but I have my pet theories. Things changed when I stopped fighting it and started accepting that this is just how my body feels sometimes.

I think it is pretty common, but I don't know if everyone experiences it or not. Some people don't seem to talk about it.

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/2/20 6:19 AM as a reply to spatial.
How does the pressure behave? Is it there both during and after meditation? Does it appear only when you pay attention to it?

I think the pressure and its cause are different for everyone.

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/2/20 10:28 PM as a reply to B WC Teoh.
B WC Teoh:
How does the pressure behave? Is it there both during and after meditation?


It started off on the left side of my face in a rather small area. It stayed like that for a while until I made the decision to accept it. Since then, it has expanded quite a lot, spreading to the right side of my face, all around my neck, up the back of my head, and on top. It's there when I meditate, and it's there when I'm not meditating. Certainly at first, bringing my attention to the body made it worse.

There's another aspect of all this that is very odd, and it relates to how my mental concept of my body has changed over the past couple years. I don't really know how to put it into words.


Does it appear only when you pay attention to it?


That question is interesting, and perhaps points to what I'm trying to get at:

Is it possible for something to appear when you're not paying attention to it?

I think I used to look at things that way, and I think that was why I was freaking out about it. It felt like an intrusion into my mental space. But, I'm not sure I see it that way anymore.

Not sure...it's all a work in progress.

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/2/20 11:20 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:


Is it possible for something to appear when you're not paying attention to it?



In actual fact - no. But the awareness (peripheral awareness) covers several objects, and is therefore clearer and more sensitive. Thus, it can detect any object that attracts attention, whereby the mental factor of attention will then arise and dwell on the object.

One possibility is - the pressure is already there, but with heightened awareness, it becomes more obvious. And coupled with other conditions, such as clinging, the 'pressure' can appear threatening, etc.

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/2/20 11:48 PM as a reply to B WC Teoh.
B WC Teoh:
spatial:


Is it possible for something to appear when you're not paying attention to it?



In actual fact - no. But the awareness (peripheral awareness) covers several objects, and is therefore clearer and more sensitive. Thus, it can detect any object that attracts attention, whereby the mental factor of attention will then arise and dwell on the object.

One possibility is - the pressure is already there, but with heightened awareness, it becomes more obvious. And coupled with other conditions, such as clinging, the 'pressure' can appear threatening, etc.

Here's one way to look at it: The objects are sitting out there in the environment, and the awareness is the faculty that allows you to perceive them. Once an object becomes loud enough, it starts to attract the attention, and then you are focused on the object.

Here's another way to look at it: Sensory experiences happen, and we call this "awareness". Sometimes the mind synchronizes into certain wave patterns that we call "attention". As a result of this, we create "objects". 

What troubles me is this question about whether the pressure is already there. What if the pressure is to at least some degree the result of the mind turning back to look at itself? 

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/3/20 12:44 AM as a reply to spatial.
I used to have really weird pressure sensations in my face, almost violent ones. They felt like all my senses were turning inside out. As weird as I am, I loved it. I surrendered to it. I thought of it as surrendering to the process. Then one day I noticed that they were the direct result of my attention. I felt so stupid. I had been surrendering to my own attention. It was all made up. Since then it hasn't happened like that. Instead there are lots of more subtle sensations in my face. 

RE: Pressure in my head (left and right temples)
Answer
1/2/20 6:23 AM as a reply to spatial.
I have facial pressure, too. All the time. Have had it for years now. Not sure what to make of it, but it doesn't seem to be debilitating unless I freak out about it. EDIT: I think it tends to go away if I don't meditate for a day.