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frission/asmr type experiences while sitting

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hey all, first post. posted this on reddit as well, but figured i would come here as well, to try and get started in the community.

so, recently i've been getting these waves of pleasure while sitting. as background, i get both asmr and frission in my day-to-day life. i don't sit everyday, as i would like to, but when i do, i try to get about an hour in throughout the day.

anyways, a couple of months ago, during metta, i began feeling these waves of pleasure, like vibrations or goosebumps, down my whole body, on each in-breath. i let this continue as long as possible, it was quite a pleasant surprise. 
since then, it comes back fairly often. not every sit, but often enough to keep noticing it. often during metta, but it has occurred during more straight concentration practice as well.

when it does come up, i've found that i'm often able to sustain it, and turn it into a kind of positive feedback loop. it may only last 30 seconds or a minute, but it is immensely pleasurable. at first, they feel like little bolts of energy, goosebumps, or shivers in my head, that quickly extend down my arms and back. often, at the beginning, on only one side of my body. when they get going in a strong way, it almost feels like my whole body is being caught in the middle of a vortex, that is spinning around me and lifting me upwards. it seems to be accompanied by quicker breathing, and some movement, especially of my head. it seems that getting the cycling going is easier if i somewhat tighten the muscles of my cheeks on each breath.

normally frission sort of comes and then is gone, and asmr tends to be triggered by something. i'd have to open my eyes to check, but it feels like there are physical goosebumps during these experiences as well. i have great hesitation in describing these experiences, or in attributing them to any progress in meditation. i guess i don't want to get ahead of myself, and i worry about having intellectual insights into the path of meditation without having true experiental knowledge of those experiences.

i have done my best not to get too caught up in this, and to not make it a goal, but i'm very curious if anyone else has had these types of experiences? is this simply frission or asmr, and i am just learning how to better control and cause it? i notice that when similar sensations have come up outside of a sitting session, i am somewhat able to keep them going in that situation as well.

any thoughts/wisdom/input for me?
thank you!

j

RE: frission/asmr type experiences while sitting
Answer
7/4/17 2:48 AM as a reply to Jamie Mitchell.
That's a textbook explanation of piti. Perfectly normal and expected, especially with metta practice. Congratulations! It is a sign of progress.
I get frisson and asmr as well but piti is an entirely different level.

Did you get the earlier forms of it? It feels like strange tensions or movements in the body.

RE: frission/asmr type experiences while sitting
Answer
7/4/17 3:42 AM as a reply to Jamie Mitchell.
Yepp that's piti. Feels like gods mercy and it's the perfect occasion to develop natural devotion. I wouldn't worry about getting to fixated on it since it usually helps to let go, accept and investigate deeper layers of "you".
And if it's not the right time for piti, it won't appear, or your mind will drop it. It's definitively okay to enjoy it and use it for positive life moments and bringing up kindness for people. In the worst case you will appear a little ungrounded to others, but hey I mean that could just happen too if you are having a fly day. emoticonemoticon

RE: frission/asmr type experiences while sitting
Answer
7/4/17 4:16 PM as a reply to Jamie Mitchell.
Daniel Slaney:
That's a textbook explanation of piti. Perfectly normal and expected, especially with metta practice. Congratulations! It is a sign of a progress.
I get frisson and asmr as well but piti is an entirely different level.

Did you get the earlier forms of it? It feels like strange tensions or movements in the body.

interesting. i've gotten frisson my whole life, and this feels like that, thus my doubting if this was at all a sign of progress.

it came up again during both my metta and insight segments of my sitting. it seems to be easier if i'm at least on the cusp of being cool, temp wise. and as i mentioned before, i am noticing that my breath quickens and that on each in breath, i pull my eyes more tightly closed, and slightly upward. i have no idea if this info is at all relevant.

it's certainly very pleasant, whatever it is. i find myself wishing i could make it last flr
much longer than it does, it feels like a minute or two of it would be bliss.

as far as earlier forms, i can't say with much certainty. the only thing in that ballpark that i can remember are some feelings awhile back of my head wanting to move or sort of gyrate around during several sits a few months ago.

thank you for the comments and perspective!

RE: frission/asmr type experiences while sitting
Answer
7/6/17 2:39 AM as a reply to Jamie Mitchell.
Arising and Passing Away (A&P), aka the second vipassana jhana. Standard stage stuff. Read up on the stages of insight. Watch for what comes next. Enjoy!

RE: frission/asmr type experiences while sitting
Answer
7/6/17 11:06 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
thank you, all, for your posts. i have been doing some reading on the recommended topics, and will continue to do so. as i mentioned above, i have some apprehension about reading too much about what i am experiencing. i am an over-thinker, and as such, worry about being intellecutually ahead of my experiential knowledge. i have done some reading about the first jhanas, and have to say that i am unsure if i have experienced those, either. i often suspect that i am not practicing enough, or regularly enough, to be making real progress on this front.

also, this is perhaps a topic for another thread, but i have also been slowly becoming aware of the lack of depth to physical sensations. when sitting, i pretty much always get the same pain in my left knee. as i have been focusing on that, i've realized that there is nothing 'more' there than the sensation. as in, there seems to be no deeper meaning to the physical feelings. i've tried to explain this to one or two people in my life, and no-one seems to find this quite as significant of an observation as i do.

i have found this to be true for both pleasant and unpleasant sensations, whether it's pain, warmth, cold, etc. i look at a sensation, like pressure, say. so, the feeling of one leg resting on the floor, and there is nothing there. i mean, i can feel it, somehow i can identify it, but when i look closer, there is nothing there. the closest i can come to describing it is: "i don't even know what pressure feels like". this has been a very odd realization. it has always felt like there was something more there than simply that sensation, like, if i looked into it, there was some meaning there, except i didn't even need to look into it in the first place, because the meaning was obvious.

another example of this would be tastes. i've never liked pickles. so, in the last few months, i have made it my mission to like pickles. when i eat them, i try to identify what it is, exactly, that i dislike about them. and i have no idea. on some level, i know it's the vinegar, but when i look into that as i'm eating, i have no idea at all why i don't like vineagar. that feels like a very parallel realization as the one i spoke of above.

finally, yet another topic that probably deserves it's own thread, i've realized the same of emotions. i have struggled with mental illness, specifically depression, for much of my life. i had a few awful months this year, where i could hardly practice at all, followed by a few very good ones, where i was practicing alot. medication also helped spark this change. i am prone to low self-esteem, jealousy, all the negative stuff. when that stuff comes flowing in, it is so strong, and yet, i'm still unable to put my finger on exactly what it is. it has way more power over me than physical sensations, although i am starting to be able to identify what the physical sensations associated with these emotions are. sadly, in the last two weeks or so, the negative thoughts, the darkness, has returned, stuff i thought i had fully put behind me. how this is all related to meditation, i do not know.

i hope these rantings do not seem too out-of-place here, and i will likely start other threads to deal with them, but it felt worth it to get them out here. it's a strange thing to be contemplating these things without anyone around you to discuss them with!

as always, comments, insight, thoughts are all welcomed.
thank you!

j

RE: frission/asmr type experiences while sitting
Answer
7/6/17 1:20 PM as a reply to Jamie Mitchell.
more observations. my appologies for the length of these...

these sensations arose today, as well, during insight pratice, but not at all during concentration practice. that seems to go against what i said in the first post, so i have no idea what that means.

it's also quite possible that i do not fully grasp the difference between insight and concentraion practice. however, today they were arrising directly after having some kind of clarity on the speed of the vibrations in a body part, the finger tip, for instance. if i had a moment of getting a clear image of that, the waves of pleasure would begin. sometimes i could get them to continue for a short amount of time, and they would subside, only to return again, fairly reliably, after the next instance of me having a clear vision of speedy moevment of vibrations in another area of the body.

i am finding concentration practice (or what i understand as concentraion practice) to be much more difficult. as i stated before, i have, unfortuenatly, a lot of negative thoughts in my life, and these seem to come up frequently during concentration practice. they are rather distracting, and not at all pleasurable. self-esteem issues, jealousy, etc. it is usually during this practice, while i'm simply trying to watch my breath closely, that i feel a desire to bail on my sits. it sometimes feels like there is just way too much for me to face. i really have to push myself to continue at these moments. i do find that some of my concentration *may* be getting better. i've noticed recently that i can actually feel my pulse extend from my heart down to my fingertips, feel it progress all the way down my arms. i have also noticed, even more recently, that i can actually hear my blood/pulse, a subtle shift in the white-noise background that becomes more clear during a quiet sit. i am fairly unable to notice either of these things while not sitting.

it seems that insight practice is "easier" for me, or at least in the sense of having aversion to the feelings that arrise. does this seem at all reasonable? i don't really have anyone close in my life who is involved in an in-depth meditation practice (although i am only practicing around an hour a day on the days i do practice), so i don't have anyone who i can compare results and experiences with.

anyways. for now,
j

RE: frission/asmr type experiences while sitting
Answer
7/9/17 8:53 AM as a reply to Jamie Mitchell.
Concentration appears to feel easier or harder as things cycle and depending on where one is in the practice. It may appear that concentration has became harder, but it's actually that one has progressed. From a vipassana point of view, the important thing is to observe and not get attatched to whatever arises. If concentration is good, enoy it while it lasts and know it will pass; if concentration is bad, sit with that and know it will pass. If pleasant sensations arise, enjoy it while it lasts and know it will pass; if they don't arise, know that this situation too, will pass. The goal is always the same, try to observe whatever arises, as best as you can, without judgement, as best as you can.If it's hard to keep a narrow concentration, and it feels like it wants to go wider, you may like to try allowing attention to do what it wants to do, rather that fight it, you could try flowing with where it's at right now. 

If you want to take things in a concentration, rather than vipassana direction, you might like to experiment with making pleasurable sensations themselves, or pleasure itself, the object of conentration. Of course, that directly contradicts what I wrote above! 

Though, from what your describing, it sounds like you're making progress. 

I'm hearing that there's some psychological stuff that you're struggling with, too. Again, from a vipassana point of view, all experiences are the same (no-self/impermanance/suffering), which includes all positive and all negative experiences. Though I'm wondering if you're explored something like cognitvie therapy for the depression? While meditation is one line of development, I've been wondering a lot recently if it can be useful for people not to put all their eggs in one basket. Meditation can make things harder, rather than easier at times, so it seems to me good for people to have different tools in their toolbox. E.g. using some cognitive therapy techiques helped me deal with catastophising,  fear and worry that was resulting from what arose from practice, as well as how I was interpreting it. It also helped me to maintain my practice.