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What are these waves?
Answer
6/19/10 7:26 AM
Hello,
I am feeling slightly lost and concerned about my practice, and I have no teachers that I can discuss my experiences with.

As I meditate I feel much spinning all through my body, and huge waves of energy, here and there, and at times it seems like one big wave is moving upwards through my body (or really trying to through a few blocks). There is also a lot of pulsating happening. Actually it feels like everything is just happening, like im being taken over by something, losing myself in this wave, like i have no control. What is happening? And what is this that is rushing through me, because it doesnt seem to have anything to do with me at all, like its a totally separate thing?

Ive suffered a lot in the past year in my practice, and have been quite depressed. I had a very strong fear of insanity etc. But thankfully it seems that these fears have all gone, though i wouldn't say i was totally happy now, just no fear. But my emotions are up and down and i a bit confused. One moment i feel totally peaceful and then i dip back into an intense sadness.

Anyway, in terms of my practice what should i be doing at this point? I cant seem to body scan anymore (ive been practicing in the Goenka tradition) as too many things are happening all over my body and its difficult to focus on any one part. Ive been trying to observe my whole body when i can, and this is becoming more and more possible for longer periods. Should i be doing this?

The only thing i can seem to do at this point is to let go, and just let everything be, observing as much of my body as i can at the same time. And this feels like such a relief and all i want to do is just relax into it all. And i feel like im falling into something. Though there are still blocks here and there, though they are not painful, and they seem to be preventing me from falling or letting go completely.

But sometimes im not sure where to place my attention. I go to my respiration at these times or in desperation ive taken to focusing on the changing nature of internal light, which calms me down, but then the gushing waves moving through my body take an even more powerful life of their own & get so much stronger & stronger after just a few moments of this and im unsure what to do next?

Im not sure where im at or if im on the right track? What should I be focusing on? Im a little concerned that ive somehow gone off track, or im doing the wrong thing? The Goenka tradition doesnt seem to explain any of this, and im a little lost.

Thanks
H

RE: What are these waves?
Answer
6/18/10 8:35 PM as a reply to Anonymous.
Are you familiar with Daniel Ingram's book? If not I suggest you read it. You're somewhere between the dark night and equanimity.

This is counterintuitive, but confusion is a good sign. Great doubt leads to great insight. This period can drag on for a while, but that's normal. This is a good opportunity to really investigate the three characteristics, emptiness, luminosity, dependent origination, or whatever paradox of reality is nagging at you.

RE: What are these waves?
Answer
6/19/10 2:11 AM as a reply to Anonymous.
You mention the sensation of "falling." This is mentioned in many places (e.g. Shinzen Young, Yogani), and is common for many people doing meditation.

RE: What are these waves?
Answer
6/19/10 1:19 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
A word of encouragement -- in order to get to stream entry and end this mass of dark night suffering, all you need to do is continue putting in effective meditation time. While it is EXTREMELY common to think, while in the dark night and even low Equanimity, that your meditation isn't working, that thought is often dead wrong.

If you start having thoughts like "this isn't working" or "I can't body scan," simply notice that those are typical dark night thoughts and don't believe them as if they had to be true. When you're on the cushion, they're just mental phenomena arising. Note them like you would the breath or any bodily sensation, and don't believe that they actually mean anything.

Unfortunately, the dark night really screws with a person's ability to tell how effective their meditation is, so a good best-practice is to assume that it's still working if you're still following the instructions, unless you don't make any progress at all for a while. Then, in that case, consult someone else who can help you with it, like the forum here.

RE: What are these waves?
Answer
6/27/10 2:17 PM as a reply to Anonymous.
Mate

I'm afraid I have no advice to offer, but this all sounds very familiar. It may help you to know that you are not alone.

Howard

RE: What are these waves?
Answer
6/28/10 12:53 AM as a reply to Anonymous.
For people suffering from this problem this thread could help. I started it in another forum and received some good advice that helped to solve things out.
http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/4031973/-

RE: What are these waves?
Answer
7/7/10 7:11 AM as a reply to J Adam G.
There are a couple of things that can REALLY smooth out wild energy. One is the microcosmic orbit. There is a pathway up your spine and over your head and this connects to a pathway down the front of your body and to the root where it connects with the pathway up. Oftentimes the back gets opened first and then you get too much energy high up which can seem intolerable. Once you open the front and get energy down and then up and down and then up etc. the waves will usually not feel all that intense. In my own experience what felt like very powerful scary energy felt smooth once it got circulating in the orbit. THe orbit also refines and balances the energy and your psyche in many beneficial ways as well.

You don`t have to keep the orbit running all the time conciously once it is open. Then the energy will naturally flow thereby it self. But in the begining one needs to work specifically on circulating it here, especially in the front channel.

THe small universe Cds from Springforestqigong.com have a good reputation as a means to opening the orbit.

Another balancing factor is grounding in other ways. Standing meditation is a very efficient way of doing that. If you google Zhan Zhuang you will find stuff on youtube and other instructions on how to do it. It can be learnt without a teacher as the poses themselves are largely self correcting once you are in them, relax and softly look for the best way to stand. Also the energy will naturally put you into better and better poses once it starts running. One note of caution. Although standing meditation gets energy down very well it does also produce a lot of energy. In some very sensitive and unbalanced people that may be too much but that is very rare so you should most likely not have a problem with it.

Both of these are very good long term practices in their own right but if one wants to use them only to achieve more balance then one can work quite a lot on them until good results are reached and then let the orbit run by itself and maybe do standing meditation only 5 min or less a day to maintain the grounding. Maybe in certain periods you will need to do more but for the most part just a little bit is needed for maintaining effects and slight progress.

It sounds like your practice no is going in the right direction so it would probably not be a good idea to temporarily halt it to focus on orbit and grounding but rather add them or cut only a little in your current practice to allow time.

RE: What are these waves?
Answer
7/8/10 12:20 PM as a reply to Anonymous.
You have come upon the energetic field of the body - as in Chi or Prana. It is the basis or platform for jhana as described in the Suttas.

Ive suffered a lot in the past year in my practice, and have been quite depressed. I had a very strong fear of insanity etc. But thankfully it seems that these fears have all gone, though i wouldn't say i was totally happy now, just no fear. But my emotions are up and down and i a bit confused. One moment i feel totally peaceful and then i dip back into an intense sadness.

This is common at this phase. From an energetic stand point you are releasing lots of junk (blockages) and these create the up and down emotional roller-coaster. If it gets too much for you, then back-off on the practice but I think once you develop some skill with this energy it won't be such a problem.

Ive been trying to observe my whole body when i can, and this is becoming more and more possible for longer periods. Should i be doing this?

This is what I recommend. Keep your awareness spread throughout the whole body. One good way of doing this is to imagine that the energy is going in and out through the pores of your skin as you breath. If there are tight or dead areas then imagine the energy coming into those areas and opening them up. If areas are really intense then imagine that spreading out or put more attention else where. Allow the mind to incline towards and rest with the pleasant qualities of this experience that you have already noticed.

You have not gone off track. You are doing very well. Here are some links to teachers that work with this stuff:

Thanissaro Bhikkhu - A western monk based near San Diego, CA in the Thai Forest Tradition. Many short dharma talks on all aspects of what you are experiencing and how this is worked with in this tradition. Here are two short talks that should give you all kinds of ideas on how to work with this stuff:
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/100323%20Perceptions%20of%20the%20Breath.mp3
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/100227%20Fabrication%20at%20the%20Breath.mp3

Shinzen Young - go through his site and read what interests you. Scan through his videos on youtube. There are lots of good tips and techniques for you on his site.

Shinzen Young takes a more vipassana like approach where as Thanissaro Bhikkhu takes a Sutta approach but they are working with the same phenomena.

Have fun!