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How to overcome this phenomenon? Feel there is something great beyond

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I have been meditating for over a year now. I first started 20 mins with insight vipassana meditation. I then took a break for a month. I started meditating again but this time I went up to one hour of meditation each day. I had huge progress and everything in my life got better. It was amazing. Before christmas I had a meditation session that was very intense. I started to feel a pressure in my head during the meditation. I didn’t think about it afterwards, but over the course of the next 2-3 weeks my concentration became poorer and poorer. In the end the pressure returned and was there constant throughout the day. The effects of my meditation decreased and I sensed my lower self slowly taking over. 

I read tons of forums and information about this topic. I read that it was some kind of "energy blockage" in the brain. The people who wrote it told that you needed to focus on something else and the energy would be directed there. So I started to focus on my breath and breath into my body instead of my head. After 1-2 days of this, I was back on track and the everything came back to normal. Well, it lasted one week because now the pressure is returning to my head. When I read about other people having «kundalini syndrome», I recognize myself standing in the same boat as them.

What can I do burst through this point?Would practicing yoga have any effect?How about abstaining from meditation a little while?Would eastern medicine/therapy help?

Kind regards Framu emoticon

RE: How to overcome this phenomenon? Feel there is something great beyond
Answer
2/2/16 2:37 PM as a reply to fridtjof amundsen.
Hello Fridtjof, welcome! emoticon

A few questions.

fridtjof amundsen:
I first started 20 mins with insight vipassana meditation.


What kind of vipassana do you practice exactly? Mahasi noting? U Ba Khin / Goenka body scanning? Ajahn Chah / forest Thai? Mahamudra? This might help a bit to provide tips in terms of your current practice.


fridtjof amundsen:
I then took a break for a month. I started meditating again but this time I went up to one hour of meditation each day. I had huge progress and everything in my life got better.


Could you describe what you mean by "progress" in more detail?


fridtjof amundsen:
It was amazing.


If you know about the progress of insight, you will know how Bad Stuff (DN, the dark night / dukkha nanas) inevitably follows "it was amazing" (Arising and Passing Away, A&P) emoticon


fridtjof amundsen:
Before christmas I had a meditation session that was very intense. I started to feel a pressure in my head during the meditation. I didn’t think about it afterwards, but over the course of the next 2-3 weeks my concentration became poorer and poorer.


Pressure in the head is an extremely common phenomenon. See this discussion here for example:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/102822



fridtjof amundsen:
In the end the pressure returned and was there constant throughout the day. The effects of my meditation decreased and I sensed my lower self slowly taking over. .


What effects decreased? What is a lower self? In any case, I wouldn't be surprised. The experiences you are talking about do not sound like a Path, so any improvements you have experienced so far come with a big-ass "transitory" warning attached to them. Good news: the bad sides of meditation too! So do not be discouraged, although months of head pressure must suck.

Anyway: Why do you think there is a relation between the pressure and the "lower self" thing?


fridtjof amundsen:

I read tons of forums and information about this topic. I read that it was some kind of "energy blockage" in the brain. The people who wrote it told that you needed to focus on something else and the energy would be directed there. So I started to focus on my breath and breath into my body instead of my head. After 1-2 days of this, I was back on track and the everything came back to normal. Well, it lasted one week because now the pressure is returning to my head. When I read about other people having «kundalini syndrome», I recognize myself standing in the same boat as them..


Pending more detailed answers from you, kundalini (that is, A&P and entrance into DN) sound like very possible interpretations of what you are going though.


fridtjof amundsen:

What can I do burst through this point?Would practicing yoga have any effect?How about abstaining from meditation a little while?Would eastern medicine/therapy help?


Yoga: yes.

Samatha in addition to vipassana: yes.

Energy work of any kind to try and "move" the pressure around: yes.

External help (as in eastern medicine and therapy): you might want to give it a shot, why not, but the solution is most likely inside yourself emoticon

Abstaining from meditation altogether: I would say only as a last resort measure. Pending confirmation, if it is DN, abstaining means that these same symptoms might present themselves again, unchanged, when you start meditating again.

Practice:
I am not sure. Just watched a video on youtube. I was only instructed to focus on my thoughts with closed eyes. They slowed down and eventually eventually as I progressed I had long spaces inbetween thoughts. I would say the focus was kind of felt the eyelids, if you know what I mean.

Progress:
What I mean about progress is that the spaces between thoughts were longer during meditation. My concentration was getting better. I got more clearity and presence in the moment while doing things in my everyday life. I did things to improve my life instead of distracting myself with tv, facebook and junkfood. Blindspots on how I was as a person and how I could improve appeared etc. I was feeling more at peace with the world and got a sense of true self esteem. No more anexiety. My life automatically got better.

Effects decreasing and lower self:
The effects that was decreasing was the same as what I listed above. Basically today I have trouble doing schoolwork. Have trouble smiling in social situations. I feel depressed and have a pretty negative outlook on how this will end. What I mean with the lower self if the opposite of the higher self. My lower self likes to argue, blame, do egotistical and greedy actions. I only care about myself, which is not a position I like to be in.


Two days ago I felt pretty great, but yesterday I saw the whole thing coming back in full swing. Woke up today and felt ok, and thought I was good but after I meditated the pressure returned. Throughout the day I have gotten a kind of gradually developing anexity and obsessive thinking about this issue. Have only eaten and searched forums. Times when I havent taken the practice seriously and skipped days of meditation a kind of anexiety have arising into my awareness. I have always known that it will go away and not obsess about it, but the anexiety I am feeling now is very different. At times I just wish I was dead.

I just got to say thank you for the reply! Your answer gave me hope, have felt very lonely all dayemoticon Please tell me if you need anymore information.

Is this an issue that will last very long or is it common to get over it? I am reading about people living with this for years. I think that is what makes me very sad.

Kind regards, Fridtjof emoticon

RE: How to overcome this phenomenon? Feel there is something great beyond
Answer
2/2/16 3:44 PM as a reply to fridtjof amundsen.
fridtjof amundsen:

Is this an issue that will last very long or is it common to get over it? I am reading about people living with this for years. I think that is what makes me very sad.emoticon

It can last for very long, definitely. Particularly if one does not get good advice and directions on what it is and how to deal with it. What surprises me a bit about your description of your practice is that you have spent substantial amounts of time practicing, based just on a single video (I am curious which by the way!). Given the descriptions that you give of your progress, it is possible that you have some talent for concentration, but I think that, at this point in your practice, you would benefit from reading a bit about meditation technique, stages, and so on. Moreover:

Progress:
What I mean about progress is that the spaces between thoughts were longer during meditation. My concentration was getting better. I got more clearity and presence in the moment while doing things in my everyday life. I did things to improve my life instead of distracting myself with tv, facebook and junkfood. Blindspots on how I was as a person and how I could improve appeared etc. I was feeling more at peace with the world and got a sense of true self esteem. No more anexiety. My life automatically got better.

Effects decreasing and lower self:
The effects that was decreasing was the same as what I listed above. Basically today I have trouble doing schoolwork. Have trouble smiling in social situations. I feel depressed and have a pretty negative outlook on how this will end. What I mean with the lower self if the opposite of the higher self. My lower self likes to argue, blame, do egotistical and greedy actions. I only care about myself, which is not a position I like to be in.

Yes, it sound like the Dark Night, or something very similar to it. These mood swings are known (I had written "well" known, but I had to correct myself: unfortunately, they are not as well known as they should be). The best source available to understand and deal with them is Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. It is almost 400 pages long and I understand that it can be daunting, but I do strongly suggest that you read it. You will also get a lot of tips on how to practice, what is vipassana, what is samatha, and so on. If what you got yourself into is indeed the Dark Night, by all means, read it. It can save you.

If you want some pointers on how to meditate in an alternative way, that might possibly, temporarily relieve both the feelings of pressure in your head and bad mood swings, give this a shot:
http://www.leighb.com/jhana3.htm
this is the equivalent of two pages and you might try it immediately - do not expect immediate results, but who knows, it might help with the head pressure thing and with your mood too.

If you want something brief to read about Mahasi-style vipassana and what the Dark Night is, try this (about 15 pages)
http://www.saraniya.com/books/mahasi-sayadaw/pdf/mahasi_sayadaw-1944_practical_insight_meditation.pdf
and this (about 35 pages)
http://www.saraniya.com/books/mahasi-sayadaw/pdf/mahasi_sayadaw-1944_progress_of_insight.pdf

But these are just shortcuts. Do read MCTB above.

Whatever you do, keep us posted.

RE: How to overcome this phenomenon? Feel there is something great beyond
Answer
2/2/16 3:51 PM as a reply to fridtjof amundsen.
If you're having conentration problems then you can try drinking coffee(works within 10 minutes emoticon ) or better would be to take a coffee nap.After that start your daily meditation.You'll be super alert and go much deeper in your meditation.You can pretty much drink coffee and meditate everyday and when you stop drinking coffee the effects will stay when you meditate even without coffee.
Coffee nap:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaI5LWj6ams

RE: How to overcome this phenomenon? Feel there is something great beyond
Answer
2/2/16 5:41 PM as a reply to fridtjof amundsen.
I will start reading the book of buddhad teachings today. And I think I am going to call an acupunturist tomorrow in case it could be a blockage in my energysystem.

When I focused on the breath a week ago and had the pressure it was like I felt it was going away. It got instantly better the first session and built for a week. What did happen here?

What timeframe does the step I am experiencing now operate between?

I also want to try this guided meditation for energy balancing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEgLw6bTtxs is that recommended?

And will everyone go through this step in their meditation practice?

(video I learned meditation from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wirV265ZYSw)

RE: How to overcome this phenomenon? Feel there is something great beyond
Answer
2/3/16 8:24 AM as a reply to fridtjof amundsen.
An little update:

Today my anexiety is subsiding and the pressure is fading away. It feels like it is going back to normal. I had an realization yesterday that the world is not static and that includes psyche. I knew that it wasnt possible going back in time and when I accepted that I neede to look forward and work with what I got in the present moment I got this kind of sad joy.

In the situation I am in now, would you guys recommend going on a retreat?

Kind regards

RE: How to overcome this phenomenon? Feel there is something great beyond
Answer
2/3/16 8:52 AM as a reply to fridtjof amundsen.
howdy,
my 2 cents.  sounds like you had a non-spectacular A&P and then the dullness of the dukkha nanas which you were able to break through with your body (wider) based focus and are now reliving the nanas from 5 to 10 which are manifesting as head pressure.

if my take is right:  yes, its common, yes, it might take a while but it may not too.  widening or generalizing your focus is generally a good reccomendation at this phase as well as taking more subtle processes as your object.  things like anticipation, or the movement or your mind from one object to another, looking towards what little things you are missing, what is this investigation thingy.

nothing lasts forever

RE: How to overcome this phenomenon? Feel there is something great beyond
Answer
2/3/16 7:56 PM as a reply to fridtjof amundsen.
Sounds like you have overall good instincts and insights.  There is going to be ups and downs.  I don't know of anyone who has traveled the path without dealing with some stretches of it that really sucked.  When you are in the 'downs,' it's tempting to think you are sliding backwards but you aren't.  Its a process of dealing with things, each cycle around you deal with deeper aspects, diff details, and stuff you did not get sorted yet.  Then you get some break time inbetween before you cycle around again. How long it takes and how it goes exactly is a very individual thing though so people will probably not venture to try to give time frames.  As much as has been written about the process, at it's core, it's a very personal endeavor with details unique to each person and we don't understand much of it. 

Lots and lots of weird stuff happens which we don't understand why.  Mostly people are just cataloging commonalities and common patterns and naming them.  In some areas there are some inklings about the overall idea of it and what seems to work for a larger percentage of people, but there is also much debate.  I also had a lot of times with pressure in the forehead area, I  just called them headaches and aspirin really did help a ton!  I just put up with it, not knowing of any other options, they came and went and eventually seemed to have mostly abated now.  (fingers crossed!) 

Sorry to be so mundane but I actually have no idea what is the difference between a  headache and pressure in the head, if there is a technical diff, I've not yet read it.  This is probably also coming off as really catty which is not at all my intention.  More like I am saying we don't understand what causes headaches (except meditation can do it for some!  ;-P) and we don't understand much of the other stuff either, but the line we may mentally draw between meditation effects and things that are normally experienced in nonmeditators may be overly rigid.  It would certainly be nice to better understand both headaches and/or pressures in the head and how to get rid of them but as far as I know, we don't have the magic bullet for either. 

Now as for going on retreat, again, no one knows you like you.  I don't think anyone is going to risk telling you to go on retreat if there is any indication that you may be  in any way over stressed with current activities. Even if in your situation, they would go on retreat themselves, they are likely not willing to take the responsibility to suggest that to someone else if there is even  the slightest tiny risk.   I certainly would not.  In the end it sounds to me like deep inside you already know the answer and can feel what is right for you for right now if you look in there.  ;-P
-Eva 
[quote=
fridtjof amundsen]An little update:

Today my anexiety is subsiding and the pressure is fading away. It feels like it is going back to normal. I had an realization yesterday that the world is not static and that includes psyche. I knew that it wasnt possible going back in time and when I accepted that I neede to look forward and work with what I got in the present moment I got this kind of sad joy.

In the situation I am in now, would you guys recommend going on a retreat?

Kind regards

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