More Concisely: Bliss in meditation, now stronger sensations - now what?

Chris TK, modified 11 Years ago.

More Concisely: Bliss in meditation, now stronger sensations - now what?

Posts: 5 Join Date: 7/23/10 Recent Posts
First post here, so thanks to any and all that take the time to read this and even respond, and for the very existence of this message board. Also, many apologies for the length - I'm still trying to make sense of this myself (as many of us are), but I phrased it as best as I could.

After reading the Idiot's Guide, I confirmed my suspicion that a number of years ago I went through the A&P (an incredibly strong and traumatic LSD trip that culminated in an experience of nonduality/impermanence with all of reality only being felt as vibrations) with some heavy Dark Night periods...for the last 7 years or so. Hah!

Only in the past 9 months have I started real Theravada meditation practice and only this summer have I had the chance to seriously meditate (about 2 hours a day for the past 6 weeks and now 3-4 in the past week).

I got really motivated this week (thanks in part to Daniel!) to up my sits to at least 1 hour. I've been working with the relaxation technique of just staying mindful with the breath and getting deep in the mind that way. I've always had lights going on in my head, even what I'd call a persistent "third eye" (there's always an amorphous purple sphere floating around when I close my eyes), but during one particular sit this week, I reached a point where the mind was incredibly bright and the usual 3 spheres of light ("third eye" plus two others hanging around) coalesced and then "approached" and consumed my field of vision (note that I'm not doing one-pointed here but the "sutta approach" of keeping the mind open and fixed/undistracted but not narrowly focused).

I thus had decent concentration but wanted to do something more (felt "bored"), so I briefly narrowed my attention to one point - suddenly these two incredibly blissful spheres encompassed my vision, they were of a yellow orangey color and it was an incredibly sweet sort of bliss (but not completely encompassing my physical experience, however it seemed like a partial "wet"/concentration jhana since I was doing one-pointed). I had a similar experience earlier in the summer, but not as intense and somewhat different, as I'd describe it as a pleasant "milk-and-honey" spreading all over the mind.

Anyway, sadly I had to end my meditation right after that point to go to a meeting of all things, but I was "blissed out" for at least 30-40 minutes.

That was a few days ago. As I've said I've been meditating a total of 3-4 hours a day now, so here's where I'm at:

-I've come to feel how the persistent pressure around my third eye area is intimately connected to my states of concentration (the pressure will get stronger during good concentration). I always feel this pressure, as well as energy coursing under my cheekbones around my nose, and if I relax even if not in formal meditation it feels like a subtle, pseudo-concentration state, akin to what I'm now experiencing in meditation. On that note...

-In the last several sits I've been entering states where my mind gets increasingly bright and my body is "buzzing" with energy, especially in the front of my face, my arms, and palms (felt this before, but not as strong as these last few sits) and I build up pleasant sensations of peace and equanimity to some degree. Yet, I've also just noticed that I've been getting "bored" with the breath and have just been hanging out in the buzzing space, trying to experience impermanence (I haven't yet been able to integrate all 3 characteristics).

-Also, in another recent sit, the buzzing seemed to shift to a "cooler" sensation that was akin to a cool blue flame burning in my body. I almost held that state steady again the other night, but was too tired to push it any further since I've already been pushing it a lot.

I'm wondering if I'm experiencing unstable forms of the vipassana/sutta style of jhana, since I'm still aware of my body because I'm not using one-pointed concentration. I call them unstable because I still have thoughts occasionally come in (I can verbalize to myself if I need to for counseling to avoid getting sucked into the "thought-worlds" and so forth...) and even have songs playing sometimes, however aside from occasional brief dips into the thought-worlds, I just use the thoughts to investigate their impermanence as much as possible.

Or, is it even worth it to think about it in terms of jhana? Perhaps I'm thousands of hours away from such states?

For the past few days I've been feeling much more equanimous and able to observe thoughts and emotions, but I'm also starting to experience confusion and slight anxiety as to where I'm at and how to proceed since I've already experienced A&P. Also, a good portion of early Stage 11 in the Progress of Insight (from Daniel's book) corresponds to my experience, but then again I may be fooling myself given my limited concentration skills and so forth.

So far I've just planned to stick with using the Three Characteristics and see how deep into the vipassana-type states I can get, aiming for some good insights.

Any thoughts on where I am and the best method of approach? What should I do about the boredom with the breath - in my last few sits I feel intentions to "do" something else, but I'm not sure what...should I just buckle down with mindful investigation of the 3 Characteristics due to the strong sensations I'm experiencing?

If anyone has advice or similar experiences, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it!

Thanks,
Chris
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tarin greco, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: More Concisely: Bliss in meditation, now stronger sensations - now

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
C K:
First post here, so thanks to any and all that take the time to read this and even respond, and for the very existence of this message board. Also, many apologies for the length - I'm still trying to make sense of this myself (as many of us are), but I phrased it as best as I could.

After reading the Idiot's Guide, I confirmed my suspicion that a number of years ago I went through the A&P (an incredibly strong and traumatic LSD trip that culminated in an experience of nonduality/impermanence with all of reality only being felt as vibrations) with some heavy Dark Night periods...for the last 7 years or so. Hah!

Only in the past 9 months have I started real Theravada meditation practice and only this summer have I had the chance to seriously meditate (about 2 hours a day for the past 6 weeks and now 3-4 in the past week).

I got really motivated this week (thanks in part to Daniel!) to up my sits to at least 1 hour. I've been working with the relaxation technique of just staying mindful with the breath and getting deep in the mind that way. I've always had lights going on in my head, even what I'd call a persistent "third eye" (there's always an amorphous purple sphere floating around when I close my eyes), but during one particular sit this week, I reached a point where the mind was incredibly bright and the usual 3 spheres of light ("third eye" plus two others hanging around) coalesced and then "approached" and consumed my field of vision (note that I'm not doing one-pointed here but the "sutta approach" of keeping the mind open and fixed/undistracted but not narrowly focused).


what many here would appreciate is a clearer description of what it is you are doing in the meditation experience itself.. what the premises on which you begin are, what the guidelines along which you conduct your investigation are, what the cues (among the many which emerge in meditation) to which you respond (by shifting your attention in some way) are, etc. i am intimately familiar with the 'sutta approach', but meditator idiosyncracies are many, and details about your practice are likely to reveal some of those, which can then be used as points of engagement. sometimes, the most meaningful points of engagement can occur at places you find most interesting in your own meditation, whereas at other times, they may be had at places you would overlook (or have already done so) yourself. with this in mind, would you describe your practice more concretely.. perhaps in the form of an account of a recent sit which includes both your intentions and the following results?

C K:

I thus had decent concentration but wanted to do something more (felt "bored"), so I briefly narrowed my attention to one point - suddenly these two incredibly blissful spheres encompassed my vision, they were of a yellow orangey color and it was an incredibly sweet sort of bliss (but not completely encompassing my physical experience, however it seemed like a partial "wet"/concentration jhana since I was doing one-pointed). I had a similar experience earlier in the summer, but not as intense and somewhat different, as I'd describe it as a pleasant "milk-and-honey" spreading all over the mind.


with or without the visualisations, that does sound like jhana.

C K:

-I've come to feel how the persistent pressure around my third eye area is intimately connected to my states of concentration (the pressure will get stronger during good concentration). I always feel this pressure, as well as energy coursing under my cheekbones around my nose, and if I relax even if not in formal meditation it feels like a subtle, pseudo-concentration state, akin to what I'm now experiencing in meditation. On that note...

-In the last several sits I've been entering states where my mind gets increasingly bright and my body is "buzzing" with energy, especially in the front of my face, my arms, and palms (felt this before, but not as strong as these last few sits) and I build up pleasant sensations of peace and equanimity to some degree. Yet, I've also just noticed that I've been getting "bored" with the breath and have just been hanging out in the buzzing space, trying to experience impermanence (I haven't yet been able to integrate all 3 characteristics).


further, i would guess that you are hanging out around 2nd jhana territory..

C K:

-Also, in another recent sit, the buzzing seemed to shift to a "cooler" sensation that was akin to a cool blue flame burning in my body. I almost held that state steady again the other night, but was too tired to push it any further since I've already been pushing it a lot.


..either going deep into it, or breaking 3rd jhana.

my question here is, besides the bliss and the buzz, what new things have you noticed?

C K:

I'm wondering if I'm experiencing unstable forms of the vipassana/sutta style of jhana, since I'm still aware of my body because I'm not using one-pointed concentration. I call them unstable because I still have thoughts occasionally come in (I can verbalize to myself if I need to for counseling to avoid getting sucked into the "thought-worlds" and so forth...) and even have songs playing sometimes, however aside from occasional brief dips into the thought-worlds, I just use the thoughts to investigate their impermanence as much as possible.

Or, is it even worth it to think about it in terms of jhana? Perhaps I'm thousands of hours away from such states?


you are possibly thousands of hours away from getting them rock-solid as described in the visuddhimagga and other commentaries and as taught by hard jhana advocates, but so long as you conscientiously investigate your experience as it occurs, not allowing any form or type of experience to slip by unnoticed, until you are intimately familiar with every nook and cranny of your mind, then you are likely closer than thousands of hours away from completing a path. therefore, the question of whether it is worth it to think about these experiences you describe in terms of jhana depends largely on who you are talking to and on what you are aiming for.

C K:

For the past few days I've been feeling much more equanimous and able to observe thoughts and emotions, but I'm also starting to experience confusion and slight anxiety as to where I'm at and how to proceed since I've already experienced A&P. Also, a good portion of early Stage 11 in the Progress of Insight (from Daniel's book) corresponds to my experience, but then again I may be fooling myself given my limited concentration skills and so forth.


have you noticed that confusion and slight anxiety as to where you're at and how to proceed (..or as to anything else for that matter) are themselves made of momentary experiences, and have you noticed that this confusion and slight anxiety exhibit the same characteristics as any other object of your investigation?

if so, is it now clear how to proceed?

C K:

So far I've just planned to stick with using the Three Characteristics and see how deep into the vipassana-type states I can get, aiming for some good insights.

Any thoughts on where I am and the best method of approach? What should I do about the boredom with the breath - in my last few sits I feel intentions to "do" something else, but I'm not sure what...should I just buckle down with mindful investigation of the 3 Characteristics due to the strong sensations I'm experiencing?


both 'boredom with the breath' and the "intention to 'do' something else" are opportunities to get a good look at dukkha/suffering/dissatisfying characteristic.

what else would you do if you don't buckle down with mindful investigation of the 3 characteristics? to return to my first question.. what (else) have you been doing thus far?

tarin
First, thanks so much for your response tarin! I really appreciate you taking the time to carefully address each of my questions - I'll do my best to do the same for yours.

tarin greco:

what many here would appreciate is a clearer description of what it is you are doing in the meditation experience itself.. what the premises on which you begin are, what the guidelines along which you conduct your investigation are, what the cues (among the many which emerge in meditation) to which you respond (by shifting your attention in some way) are, etc. i am intimately familiar with the 'sutta approach', but meditator idiosyncracies are many, and details about your practice are likely to reveal some of those, which can then be used as points of engagement. sometimes, the most meaningful points of engagement can occur at places you find most interesting in your own meditation, whereas at other times, they may be had at places you would overlook (or have already done so) yourself. with this in mind, would you describe your practice more concretely.. perhaps in the form of an account of a recent sit which includes both your intentions and the following results?


It's really changed this past week after the intense bliss experience (only 4 days ago, but I've been at 3.5-4.5 hours a day now broken up an to about an hour at a time), but since I've left the breath and settled on insight through the 3 Characteristics, this is what I've done:

-a la MCTB, I've set a vow the past several sits in terms of length and intention - something like "I will sit for an hour, deepening my concentration state to further investigate the 3 Characteristics".
-As soon as I close my eyes I feel/see the lights and buzzing (as they're already present in regular consciousness) and as I continue to sit they get more intense. I don't feel the need to watch the breath, I just hang out in the buzzing mindspace, attempting to center my awareness at the center of all impermanent vibrations. Thus, I've initially been working with "feeling" impermanence in the body as vibrations (easy to do, but trying to extend the experience to my whole body, even to the point of letting the sensations of nonduality present themselves to my awareness.) and to sound and thoughts as well.
-When thoughts come up I've also been attempting to feel their impermanence, and often I get the vague impression that they are "located" somewhere in the mindspace and even have some sort of inchoate shape.

Any thoughts on this particular sensation?

An account of my sit last night, where I had a mini-insight:
-I sat with the intention to meditate for an hour and to examine the 3 characteristics of my experience. Simple and straightforward like that. So I just settled into the buzzing and mindspace and intently "felt" vibrations, making effort to distinguish them in ever greater detail.
-I was just examining whatever was most prominent in my experience, and at one point this became the sound of crickets outside. Suddenly I had a "thought" about the "watcher" idea -- I began quietly questioning that notion, trying to find the "watcher" (or listener, in this case) and obviously couldn't…I subtly listened and then realized there was only sound and that the "hearing" (i.e. consciousness) was, as Daniel described it, just an echo (another causally conditioned thought/perception/whatever and thus NOT the listener!). I chuckled to myself a bit a couple of times, maybe felt a bit more relaxed. Had an energetic conversation with my friend who was also meditating afterward.
-Today I've been reflecting on that and it's strange because I can't seem to "get into" the same mindstate as that realization, but I feel like I do "understand" it, but can't quite penetrate it the same way, if that makes sense?

Hope the above is a good clarification for you and the description of my sit gives you enough to work with.



further, i would guess that you are hanging out around 2nd jhana territory..


You mean just in meditation? What about the persistent feeling of energy and pressure I normally feel? I've always felt it (since the A&P) but it's opened up to more of my forehead and face now...


my question here is, besides the bliss and the buzz, what new things have you noticed?


Ok, aside from the mini-no-self experience mentioned above, a few things.

First, a dream from last night. I woke up 2 hours after going to sleep with an image of a face with bright, burning circles of lights in the eyes - "spiritual light" that seems familiar yet I don't think I've experienced it in that intensity. It was bright pink with yellow as well and absolutely brilliant!

But there was a great sense of anxiety and fear, and somehow "I" was in control of how large the circles got and if I let them get too large…I don't know? Talking about it today with my friend I struck upon that it was identification that was threatened -- the fear of losing the deep sense of me, of being annihilated in the burning light.

Speaking of burning, when I awoke the energy that I now feel in my palms was more intense, as if it was burning as well…not painful, but really strong. The fear quickly left me, but even now I can vaguely feel the burning...

Some less intense experiences:

In my meditation, as I've mentioned I've been able to just rest my awareness in the mindspace. I think just from practice I'm getting better at not getting caught up in thought-worlds (or getting out of them more quickly). I'm really intent on seeing things as they are...it's really different from the past several weeks, in terms of approach -- I'm more focused with strong intentions to investigate as soon as I sit down. Perhaps it's something of a nascent "inner confidence" developing about practicing.

I've started to realize in my daily experience the suffering of identification. I still do it, but as Daniel says it's like a bad habit. I'm trying to break it now emoticon When I start identifying, I just let go…still a shaky process, but I feel "better" when I do it.

Actually, come to think of it, I feel so much better in every moment when I just relax and don't identify. It's a hard conditioning to break, but it's very freeing.

Also, today I've been focusing on suffering some and there have been a few moments where I've really "felt" the suffering, even nearly tearing up (this was really strong with desire where as soon as I felt it I immediately questioned the yearning and focusing on how it made me suffer).

Also, when not meditating I have urges to "just sit" and not think about anything…sometimes "tuning out" to feel my experience, if that makes sense.


you are possibly thousands of hours away from getting them rock-solid as described in the visuddhimagga and other commentaries and as taught by hard jhana advocates, but so long as you conscientiously investigate your experience as it occurs, not allowing any form or type of experience to slip by unnoticed, until you are intimately familiar with every nook and cranny of your mind, then you are likely closer than thousands of hours away from completing a path. therefore, the question of whether it is worth it to think about these experiences you describe in terms of jhana depends largely on who you are talking to and on what you are aiming for.


Fair enough…well, I'm aiming for liberation emoticon So I take it one can indeed experience "weak" jhanic states? Again, even when I had that cool burning sensation, I still have thoughts and even songs sometimes in the center…or I guess, given the nature of insight meditation that's the whole point (to have thoughts, feelings, etc. to come up to investigate them)? Perhaps in stronger states the mind is even more fixed and the feelings more intense?

I think I kept tripping up with wondering if it's insight jhana due to the differences between the concentration vs. insight jhana. With my (limited) experience of strong concentration jhana, I thought the mind would have to be equally concentrated in insight jhana...perhaps at a later point? Obviously the mind is concentrated enough to experience the bliss and so forth, so I guess that's enough for the present...



have you noticed that confusion and slight anxiety as to where you're at and how to proceed (..or as to anything else for that matter) are themselves made of momentary experiences, and have you noticed that this confusion and slight anxiety exhibit the same characteristics as any other object of your investigation?

if so, is it now clear how to proceed?


Yes, yes - I feel I'm increasingly realizing this truth, in small small ways of course (and maybe medium ways like last night). I'm starting to experience emotions and anxieties and just "bubbles" coming up my body and then if I don't cling to them, they pass. It's not an earth-shaking process or realization at this point, but it's freeing and something I feel moved to work at every moment I can.


both 'boredom with the breath' and the "intention to 'do' something else" are opportunities to get a good look at dukkha/suffering/dissatisfying characteristic.

what else would you do if you don't buckle down with mindful investigation of the 3 characteristics? to return to my first question.. what (else) have you been doing thus far?
tarin


Good point. 3 Characteristics feels right and it's giving results to a degree.

I do wonder about that dream - and I know the point is not to get caught up in the content - but I wonder if it would be good at some point to work on concentration jhana to "lubricate" some of the destabilizing nature of insight practices.

At this point I want to move with the momentum of insight, but maybe that's a possibility later down the path.
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Jackson Wilshire, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: More Concisely: Bliss in meditation, now stronger sensations - now

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
C K:
I've always had lights going on in my head, even what I'd call a persistent "third eye" (there's always an amorphous purple sphere floating around when I close my eyes), but during one particular sit this week, I reached a point where the mind was incredibly bright and the usual 3 spheres of light ("third eye" plus two others hanging around) coalesced and then "approached" and consumed my field of vision (note that I'm not doing one-pointed here but the "sutta approach" of keeping the mind open and fixed/undistracted but not narrowly focused).

I thus had decent concentration but wanted to do something more (felt "bored"), so I briefly narrowed my attention to one point - suddenly these two incredibly blissful spheres encompassed my vision, they were of a yellow orangey color and it was an incredibly sweet sort of bliss (but not completely encompassing my physical experience, however it seemed like a partial "wet"/concentration jhana since I was doing one-pointed). I had a similar experience earlier in the summer, but not as intense and somewhat different, as I'd describe it as a pleasant "milk-and-honey" spreading all over the mind.

Anyway, sadly I had to end my meditation right after that point to go to a meeting of all things, but I was "blissed out" for at least 30-40 minutes.


The lights you're seeing, which coalesced and grew stronger, and eventually consumed your vision (sucked you in, yeah?) sounds to me like 'nimitta' or 'sign'. When the spheres encompassed your vision, and bliss came, you were in first jhana territory. And yes, this is a looser, more 'sutta' style of jhana, which I think is a better way of going about it anyway. Don't worry too much about trying to fix yourself into 'hard' jhana.

If you want to explore higher jhanas from there, just allow the blissful sensations to overwhelm your experience. Enjoy yourself. At some point, you'll get tired of the gross form of bliss, and you'll get tired of sustaining the state. The effort will drop, and later the grosser form of bliss/happiness. When the subtle happiness fades, and there's only equanimity and alertness, you've made your way to fourth jhana territory.

~Jackson

P.S. I forgot to say that the 30-40 minute bliss-out is common after accessing jhana. Traditionally, attaining jhana supresses the 'Five Hindrances,' which feels very, very nice. It's not uncommon for someone to access jhana, experience the major bliss-out afterward, and then think that they're enlightened because of how good they feel.
Jackson Wilshire:

The lights you're seeing, which coalesced and grew stronger, and eventually consumed your vision (sucked you in, yeah?) sounds to me like 'nimitta' or 'sign'. When the spheres encompassed your vision, and bliss came, you were in first jhana territory. And yes, this is a looser, more 'sutta' style of jhana, which I think is a better way of going about it anyway. Don't worry too much about trying to fix yourself into 'hard' jhana.

If you want to explore higher jhanas from there, just allow the blissful sensations to overwhelm your experience. Enjoy yourself. At some point, you'll get tired of the gross form of bliss, and you'll get tired of sustaining the state. The effort will drop, and later the grosser form of bliss/happiness. When the subtle happiness fades, and there's only equanimity and alertness, you've made your way to fourth jhana territory.

~Jackson

P.S. I forgot to say that the 30-40 minute bliss-out is common after accessing jhana. Traditionally, attaining jhana supresses the 'Five Hindrances,' which feels very, very nice. It's not uncommon for someone to access jhana, experience the major bliss-out afterward, and then think that they're enlightened because of how good they feel.


Thanks for the thoughts and tips.

Haven't reached that state since then, but then again I've been working with the 3 characteristics in vipassana meditation. In my last sit, I did begin to do the same thing that brought about the bliss (one-pointed) because I had just come from a walk and needed to settle the blood in my head and so forth. I couldn't sit for long (~40 min), but for whatever reason I was focusing on the third eye area (anyone else do this?) and the pressure naturally got much strong and the lights brighter...perhaps I should investigate that more? I'll report back if anything interesting happens to that end.

Thanks once more!
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: More Concisely: Bliss in meditation, now stronger sensations - now

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
This all sounds like A&P to late/mature A&P territory to me with more emphasis on the jhanic aspects than I would recommend for someone who just wants stream entry. On the other hand, if bliss is your thing, then you got it.

Glad you liked the book.

Buzzing, lights, excited about practice, sitting more, bliss, all of that sounds like A&P to me.

The A&P can present again and again.

The Standard Pattern in people who are here is this: they crossed the A&P somehow, usually spontaneously, some on retreat, some without knowing they did it at some point in their past, whatever. They then enter the Dark Night, search around, make a mess of some things, may go on retreats or join some group or whatever, they usually don't get all the way to equanimity in some clear way but may drop back down from the full-on Dark Night and then sometime later they cross the A&P again. This can happen many times (see this link for my own little story with this territory: http://www.interactivebuddha.com/theAandP.shtml

Anyway, so you crossed it before, you are in it again. The more times we go through it the better we know it, the more we master it, etc, but the whole point is just to get stream entry and then more, and so enjoy this territory if you like it, why not, but consider moving to a more pure-insight way of practicing or think about retreats, etc.

Just my two cents worth,

Daniel
Daniel M. Ingram:
This all sounds like A&P to late/mature A&P territory to me with more emphasis on the jhanic aspects than I would recommend for someone who just wants stream entry. On the other hand, if bliss is your thing, then you got it.

Glad you liked the book.

Buzzing, lights, excited about practice, sitting more, bliss, all of that sounds like A&P to me.

The A&P can present again and again.

The Standard Pattern in people who are here is this: they crossed the A&P somehow, usually spontaneously, some on retreat, some without knowing they did it at some point in their past, whatever. They then enter the Dark Night, search around, make a mess of some things, may go on retreats or join some group or whatever, they usually don't get all the way to equanimity in some clear way but may drop back down from the full-on Dark Night and then sometime later they cross the A&P again. This can happen many times (see this link for my own little story with this territory: http://www.interactivebuddha.com/theAandP.shtml

Anyway, so you crossed it before, you are in it again. The more times we go through it the better we know it, the more we master it, etc, but the whole point is just to get stream entry and then more, and so enjoy this territory if you like it, why not, but consider moving to a more pure-insight way of practicing or think about retreats, etc.

Just my two cents worth,

Daniel


Thanks for your input, Daniel. I actually emailed you about 1.5 weeks ago about this with a more detailed description and you came to the same conclusion, which, despite my alternative though tentative A&P-fueled guesses at the time, is right on (sorry, perhaps I should have marked this thread as "answered" or something? Still figuring out the features of this board software).

Ah, how they seem like such glory days in this murky, post-A&P world.

But anyway, stream-entry is absolutely my goal. I'm done with Dark Night (or at least unknowingly wallowing in it without a practice as I'd done for many years) and I'm not going to bother with much jhana unless I need to give my mind a break from intense insight or something.

If you or anyone else is interested in reading (and commenting?) on how things have progressed, I've made another post about it here, in the Dark Night category. I'd appreciate any further advice!

Thanks everyone.

-Chris (temporarily on hiatus from the "C K" account, as I've accidentally locked myself out of it...emoticon...I emailed you about it Daniel, but if it's easier I can just stick with this one - just let me know via email if you get the chance).
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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: More Concisely: Bliss in meditation, now stronger sensations - now

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
C K:
-I've come to feel how the persistent pressure around my third eye area is intimately connected to my states of concentration (the pressure will get stronger during good concentration). I always feel this pressure, as well as energy coursing under my cheekbones around my nose, and if I relax even if not in formal meditation it feels like a subtle, pseudo-concentration state, akin to what I'm now experiencing in meditation. On that note...


Just wanted to say - I feel this pressure constantly as well. It just started one day, and it hasn't stopped since. In the morning it won't arise for a few minutes, but as soon as I even think about it, it's back. For me i can cause it to happen pretty easily behind my nose - it feels like the center of my head. it's often under and around my nose, too. right now it is definitely in the 3rd eye area. for me, though, the most intense pressure is right at my temples. it's OK now, but when I meditate, it feels like my head is being squeezed in a vice, although it doesn't hurt, interestingly.

Also you mention a purple mind space. I've been recently getting that too, though only when pretty concentrated into meditation, not as a constant waking moment thing.

I do wonder what it is! I thought Chi energy, then I thought sinus problems, but sinus problems don't seem to match up... Let me know if you ever figure out what it was!
Hey Beoman,

So I've come to discover that the pressure thing is pretty common for meditators from what I've read, especially pre-path and around 2nd path which is supposedly very energy-body focused (though that also varies from yogi to yogi). Supposedly it diminishes over time, but it may not disappear until 4th path...but maybe not even then? I've yet to even reach 1st path, but I've found that over the past few months it shifts in quality, location, and intensity, even day to day and sit to sit. So fear not, some sits it won't be there and presumably you'll be less bothered by the possible unpleasantness post-path anyway, so either way it'll resolve itself!

Best advice I've heard is not to resist it or obsess over it and if need be focus on a different part of the body for a while if you're doing one-pointed concentration or following the breath. Otherwise investigating the 3 characteristics of the pressure, if it's taking center stage of your attention, is always a solid approach. I've also found that relaxing "around" the pressure helps, if that makes sense (you may notice that sometimes, when focusing on the pressure, subtle parts of your face and scalp and even body tense up - relax those and it becomes more bearable).

Anyway, hope that helps some -- perhaps more advanced yogis could comment on their experience with head pressure and how it changed for them as they moved along the paths.

Best of luck!

-Chris

Edit: I should add that overall it seems to be an energy-related phenomena. Some meditators have conceived of it as energy trying to "move through" the body and that path is all about the energy body getting into further alignment and flowing better and so forth. There are also parallels in yogic conceptions of developmental enlightenment, which third eye/head pressure is a symptom of kundalini awakening (which seems to run parallel to path-attainments, though it doesn't sound like a 1:1 correlation, but there seems to be some crossover). Overall, my sense is that the energy body, as a system, is purifying itself and seeking homeostasis, but encounters numerous blockages - one of them being in the third eye region where you're feeling pressure.

But the above is a partial bastardized conglomeration of what other people have said here and elsewhere, so perhaps someone with better expertise can chime in, because this is just my own clearly incomplete, pre-path folk understanding of things emoticon

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