Perception of direction/position completely off

John, modified 5 Years ago at 4/20/17 5:27 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 4/20/17 5:26 AM

Perception of direction/position completely off

Posts: 5 Join Date: 3/30/17 Recent Posts
Hello everyone, I am a beginner-ish meditatior, have been meditating constantly for about a month now, currently following TMI instructions for stage 2.

During my sit, I had an extremely disorienting experience. While I was focusing on my breath it seemed like my perception was completely messed up. I was sitting cross legged but it felt like my breath was higher than usual, that my head was completely to the right, that my eyes were on the right of my head looking towards my nose. 

I tried to stick with the breath which I managed to do but it really felt like I was strainging my neck and trying to twist my head so I opened my eyes to find I was in a perfectly straight and relaxed position.

I then closed my eyes and went back to focusing on my breath and the same thing happened. I stuck with my breath and then I started to feel like I was turning and turning and turning, like when you turn in circles with your head on a baseball bat to get dizzy while playing children's games outside.

It felt like I was a tornado except I never got dizzy. It felt like I was a round object in the middle of the tornado and that the tornado was myself unravelling.

At one point this stopped and then it felt like I was compressed except for my nose which felt higher than my head, like my nose was on top of my scalp.

Anyway after a while my back hurt too much so I stopped.

Lately I have been having a lot of perception related bizzareness, for example yesterday it felt like I was a giant, like my hands were 5x larger than normal and my nose felt as big as my head normally does. Earlier to day while reciting some Dhikr (Islamic prayers) it felt like I was completely flat, like my whole world was 2D and I was looking at myself as if I was a drawing on a paper.

Since I have been having weird experiences but that are of a similar kind I thought it might be of some significance. Either way, I am continuing on with my simple practice of staying with the breath. These experiences are quite unsettling but they aren't painful, at worse they are slightly uncomfortable and at best they are quite interesting.
Gerald, modified 5 Years ago at 4/22/17 6:23 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 4/22/17 6:23 AM

RE: Perception of direction/position completely off

Posts: 7 Join Date: 7/4/16 Recent Posts
Do these experiences occur only during sits? Probably you don't feel like an actual giant while walking around, it would be a very strange experience!

When sitting it is quite normal to 'lose' a sense of proper placement of sensations in relation to the image of the body. If its not too disconcerting, you can try just maintaining your awareness of it. If it bothers you too much, move around a little, specifically using the body in locations where the perception seems wrong. If you pay attention, you should be able to see the awareness of the bodily image come back and put everything in place, relative to other sensations, when you move around. Try staying with the sensations of touch and experiment a bit if you feel like it! You've noticed that opening your eyes snaps everything back in place already, but its much harder to see whats actually happening when doing so.
Matt, modified 5 Years ago at 4/22/17 8:57 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 4/22/17 8:56 AM

RE: Perception of direction/position completely off

Posts: 316 Join Date: 1/14/14 Recent Posts
Your experiences sound like normal progress on the path of insight.  Check out 'Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha' for a description of the early stages.

The way I think of it for myself is, you're used to letting your brain do *everything* on automatic.  When you start to develop focus and concentration you become aware of the nervous system data that your brain was subconsciously handling for you and when you do that you temporarily cut out some of that automatic stuff, and that can be pretty freaky.

The prescription is to maintain an approach of equanimous awareness which allows automatic sensible brain functions to re-asert themselves.  Then you are farther along the path of insight, all just by paying attention and sticking to it.