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New practice technique is giving me nightmares

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New practice technique is giving me nightmares
second and third paths practice awareness nightmares
Answer
3/9/16 10:21 PM
Hi,

This is my first post though I have been lurking for some time. I believe I am somewhere between 2nd and 3rd path, reaching what I think
was 2nd path in Aug 2015. I have been practicing mostly at home for roughly 1hr sit daily and during daily life whenever I can and only one 5 day retreat.

I practice Vipassana with Mahasi style noting (after reading MCTB ) and some bare awareness, but I have noticed that in the past few
months I don't feel like I have been to be making any progress, and I am no longer noticing cycles (though I am still noticing the 3Cs). I've
read pretty well every post on this site regarding advice on practicing for 3rd path and tried it all. While browsing other areas of the forum
I found link to a book(PDF) called "the most direct and rapid means to eternal bliss" (sorry I can't remember which forum I found this post). I
read it and thought I would give it a try. It basically involves awareness watching awareness.

I tried this each day for the past three days for an hour sit a day, and while I am lying in bed each night before I go to sleep. And each night I
have had a nightmare/night terror. I very rarely have nightmares though I do have vivid dreams which I remember when I awake, in fact
the the last time I had a night terror was when I passed the AP event prior to stream entry.

So this experience has left me a bit rattled and wonder if this is a sign to stop this practice and go back to Vipassana. Or if this is a sign that
this technique is working and the nightmares are part of the process. I tend not to deal well with fear, I usually run the other way rather than
facing my fears, so my habitual response would be to give up on this new awareness watching awareness and go back to Vipassana. 

I guess I am looking for advice or insights into these nightmares or even just advice on 3rd path or if anyone has had similar experiences.
Thanks. emoticon

RE: New practice technique is giving me nightmares
Answer
3/10/16 1:06 AM as a reply to Christine.
That looks like thought thinking it is awareness, looking at another thought of awareness. It's just thoughts. Awareness doesn't need to be recognized. It's already the case. Try not to be aware.

The practitioner is also thought activity creating the sense of there being someone who does all these things, has progression, then suffers from nightmares, tries to get over it etc. And all this with a goal in mind in the future. All this is just thought activity coupled with sensations and mental images, which is also a thought of "sensations and mental images". Are you in any thought that appears? Anything you can say about yourself is a thought btw. And there's already awareness of it, so to speak. So if all that is just thought activity then who has a problem? "Problem thoughts" might appear insisting on someone having a problem but who are those thoughts appearing to? You? "Me" is another thought appearing.

RE: New practice technique is giving me nightmares
Answer
3/10/16 8:15 AM as a reply to Christine.
howdy,
the very very few sleep paralysis events i have experienced were during periods of intense practice.  my theory is that the destabilization effects that some practices can have fertilizes the ground of the mind enabling these things.

some people are more likely to have night terrors / sleep paralasys than others, were they a feature of your past?

some practical tips on how to avoid thesew events are available on online forums and youtube.  things like go to sleep on your side instead of your back apparently reduces the liklihood of such events.  toning down practice a bit is a general way to decrease the instability which often follows envelope pushing.

when in terror or paralasys i have always tried to be fearless and confrontational  whether the object was  of the demonic (external) type or of the internal (fear itself).

good luck

tom

RE: New practice technique is giving me nightmares
Answer
3/10/16 9:10 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
tom moylan:
sleep on your side instead of your back apparently reduces the liklihood of such events.  toning down practice a bit is a general way to decrease the instability which often follows envelope pushing.

That's right, that's what has helped me eliminate the problem. Christine: please avoid practicing lying in bed just before sleep.

tom moylan:
when in terror or paralasys i have always tried to be fearless and confrontational whether the object was of the demonic (external) type or of the internal (fear itself).

My experience is just the opposite. By being confrontational, things got worse. In my case, I eventually found that the fear was triggered by an emerging energetic phenomena (likely I went to sleep but my mind sort of kept meditating, before bed I sometimes practiced Qigong). My mind connected that with old traumas (nothing serious). When I found what the trigger was, I got the courage to let the energy flow. It went up through the back to my head and the down through the middle line to the legs. The release of energy was spectacular, coupled with an OBE.

 




RE: New practice technique is giving me nightmares
Answer
3/10/16 9:26 AM as a reply to Pablo CEG.
....another trick which is absolutely sworn by our christian friends is to invoke the name of Jesus Christ.  i've seen this very often as an approach to stem these episodes.

RE: New practice technique is giving me nightmares
Answer
3/10/16 10:30 AM as a reply to Christine.
Christine:

I tend not to deal well with fear, I usually run the other way rather than
facing my fears, so my habitual response would be to give up on this new awareness watching awareness and go back to Vipassana. 
I think you have gotten 2 different kinds of advice here, one group of advice is suggesting how you might avoid the night terrors, like by changing what you are doing and hoping they go away.  That may work or you may be at a certain stage where you can't go back easily. 

But IMO, the night terrors are indicative of unresolved issues in your psyche and to proceed further down the path, you will need to sooner or later face your fears, deal with past traumas, etc.  IMO the night terrors are a symptom of those undealt with issues and also a doorway for how to work on them.  I personally would consider it your next task to work on.  There are probably multiple ways of dealing with it according to your personality, some suggestions have already been given by others and you need not confine yourself to just one game plan.  I went through such a phase and dealt with it by increasing awareness during the event and stubbornly telling myself those scary things were JUST my imagination and HELL NO was I going to let my own imagination scare me, and in that way was able to dissolve the fears and get better control over my own psyche.  (that didn't work all in one try though, I had some failures along the way) 

In dream work, this kind of thing is sometimes called your shadow side, everyone has it, and to progress far, you must learn to work with that side of self and understand it better.  I don't know  much about the exact meditation method you are using but logically, I would say that improving awareness of various aspects of self is likely a good plan in general, although I certainly could not vouch for the method being the long term be all and end all method of methods for ever and ever.  Personally, I have found that different methods and solutions have worked for me according to where I was along the path.  I personally think many or maybe even most or all methods are stage specific to where I am on the path and have heard indications of similar from others that this may be true at least in part.  Like a video game, what worked on level XVI may not work on level XVII (Roman numbers randomly selected for example, they do not mean anything specific) and so I've found I often have to figure out new solutions and mind hacks as old challenges are conquered and new ones come up.  ;-P
-Eva   

RE: New practice technique is giving me nightmares
Answer
3/10/16 11:53 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
How about practicing metta? Here's the whole story on how/why the Buddha expounded on the Karaniya Metta sutta. Perhaps you will find it relatable to your present situation.

RE: New practice technique is giving me nightmares
Answer
3/10/16 9:23 PM as a reply to tom moylan.
tom moylan:
howdy,
the very very few sleep paralysis events i have experienced were during periods of intense practice.  my theory is that the destabilization effects that some practices can have fertilizes the ground of the mind enabling these things.

some people are more likely to have night terrors / sleep paralasys than others, were they a feature of your past?

some practical tips on how to avoid thesew events are available on online forums and youtube.  things like go to sleep on your side instead of your back apparently reduces the liklihood of such events.  toning down practice a bit is a general way to decrease the instability which often follows envelope pushing.

when in terror or paralasys i have always tried to be fearless and confrontational  whether the object was  of the demonic (external) type or of the internal (fear itself).

good luck

tom

Thanks Tom, When I practicing before I go to sleep, I ususally do that while lying on my back, I will avoid doing that. I used to have these night terrors when I was in my twenties, I thought I had got over them, though you are right I may be practicing too intensely and will try to tone it down a bit.

RE: New practice technique is giving me nightmares
Answer
5/24/16 9:32 PM as a reply to Christine.
Christine:
Hi,

This is my first post though I have been lurking for some time. I believe I am somewhere between 2nd and 3rd path, reaching what I think
was 2nd path in Aug 2015. I have been practicing mostly at home for roughly 1hr sit daily and during daily life whenever I can and only one 5 day retreat.

I practice Vipassana with Mahasi style noting (after reading MCTB ) and some bare awareness, but I have noticed that in the past few
months I don't feel like I have been to be making any progress, and I am no longer noticing cycles (though I am still noticing the 3Cs). I've
read pretty well every post on this site regarding advice on practicing for 3rd path and tried it all. While browsing other areas of the forum
I found link to a book(PDF) called "the most direct and rapid means to eternal bliss" (sorry I can't remember which forum I found this post). I
read it and thought I would give it a try. It basically involves awareness watching awareness.

I tried this each day for the past three days for an hour sit a day, and while I am lying in bed each night before I go to sleep. And each night I
have had a nightmare/night terror. I very rarely have nightmares though I do have vivid dreams which I remember when I awake, in fact
the the last time I had a night terror was when I passed the AP event prior to stream entry.

So this experience has left me a bit rattled and wonder if this is a sign to stop this practice and go back to Vipassana. Or if this is a sign that
this technique is working and the nightmares are part of the process. I tend not to deal well with fear, I usually run the other way rather than
facing my fears, so my habitual response would be to give up on this new awareness watching awareness and go back to Vipassana. 

I guess I am looking for advice or insights into these nightmares or even just advice on 3rd path or if anyone has had similar experiences.
Thanks. emoticon

To purchase a hard copy-
http://www.amazon.com/DIRECT-RAPID-MEANS-ETERNAL-BLISS/dp/0979726794
Free website -
http://albigen.com/uarelove/most_rapid/contents.htm
If you dig around its not hard to find a pdf too.

So I've started to read this. I really enjoy it so far.

Christine,
What practises are you doing?
Have you noticed anything?
Still getting nightmares? what kind?
~D

RE: New practice technique is giving me nightmares
Answer
5/25/16 12:17 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker,

Yes, I really enjoyed it too. I think there is a link to the PDF copy somewhere on the Dho discussion board, and I did try this practice for a while. Though I keep wondering if I am doing it correctly, he describes it in many ways but I still wonder if I am doing it right since I've mostly only done Vipassana mindfulness.
Have you tried the practice he describes?

The night terrors stopped after someone mentioned that they can be caused by sleeping on my back, go figure.
I ended up switching back to Vipassana because I had a two week Vipassana retreat the end of April. Just prior to the retreat I was reaching low EQ during several sits.
At the retreat I was practicing pretty intensly (often sitting longer -they only had 45min sits), during meals and off times. At a teacher interview I mentioned being close to high EQ but not getting there and she said that it involves letting go and not striving (which I have a hard time doing). I remember another teacher once saying that if you meditate while lying down there is no striving. I tried this, during one sit I noticed this strange sensation of a hole opening up in the centre of my forhead (third eye?), it felt really weird. After the sit, when I left the hall my perception seemed different or had shifted, at first I didn't realize what it was (I know now that it is centrelessness). That night I woke up from sleep at about 3am for some reason so I started doing some mindlfulness of breath, before I notice I was in high EQ and then fruition and a incredible joy. I am pretty sure that was third path, though it has only been a few weeks, there diffinetly was a shift.

It's funny that I was looking at different techniques to try to get path, but it was go ole mindfulness of breath that did the trick emoticon.  However fourth path seems like quite different so I might try some different practices, like awareness watching awareness and see how it goes.

RE: New practice technique is giving me nightmares
Answer
5/25/16 6:31 AM as a reply to Christine.
re: Christine (5/25/16 12:17 AM as a reply to Dream Walker)

"The night terrors stopped after someone mentioned that they can be caused by sleeping on my back, go figure."
Interesting – may have been some subtle form of "sleep apnea", as when on one's back, it's possible for the tongue to fall so far back as to block not only the mouth but also the throat, and cut-off inhalation. That sparks a panic reflex, which no doubt can surface mentally as terror dreams.

In another direction (were it more psychological in nature), as per the suggestion of metta practice (from Small Steps) –doing Brahmavihara thoughts, or maybe taking refuge (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha or the like) might help. Going to sleep can be like facing death.

Maybe similar to (memory from childhood of a bedtime prayer):
"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my Soul to keep.
 If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my Soul to take.
"
Taking-refuge and a sort of equanimity practice?

RE: New practice technique is giving me nightmares
Answer
5/25/16 10:00 PM as a reply to CJMacie.
Re: CJMaciere:
"Interesting – may have been some subtle form of "sleep apnea", as when on one's back, it's possible for the tongue to fall so far back as to block not only the mouth but also the throat, and cut-off inhalation. That sparks a panic reflex, which no doubt can surface mentally as terror dreams."

That does make a lot of sense. I was wondering why sleeping position would make a difference but I agree if I am unable to get enough oxygen it could trigger fear.

"In another direction (were it more psychological in nature), as per the suggestion of metta practice (from Small Steps) –doing Brahmavihara thoughts, or maybe taking refuge (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha or the like) might help. Going to sleep can be like facing death.

Maybe similar to (memory from childhood of a bedtime prayer):
"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my Soul to keep.
 If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my Soul to take.
"
Taking-refuge and a sort of equanimity practice?"


I have in the past suffered from stress and anxiety at night or at times have trouble falling asleep and found the Brahmaviharas helpful, though I hadn't thought about using the refuges, I will try that if it happens again. I grew up Catholic so I have also found the Hail Mary helpful in instances of fear and stress.