Message Boards Message Boards

Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

Heart beating like crazy during meditation

Toggle
Heart beating like crazy during meditation
heart rate racing heart heartbeat
Answer
8/27/17 2:11 PM
Hi everyone, 

My issue is that my heart starts beating very fast during my meditation sessions when my level of concentration starts to be high. 

I have been meditation for about 1 year and 6 months now. I did a lot of progress during the first year and I am convinced that I've passed the 'Arising and Passing Away' state and even think that I've reached some equanimity states.
However, during the last 6 months, I felt like haven't done much progress in the insight map. I only progressed in the concentration map which is still very encouraging. 
My racing heart issue first appeared when I feel like I am reaching a breaking point during a meditation session. Now it is very frequent and happens almost every day. I got used to it, but I am still concerned.

I also feel like it is preventing me from going further. It used to happen only during the choiceless awareness meditation and noting exercises that I do after breathing meditation.

A couple of months ago, I started to do metta bhavana practices every day instead of the breathing exercise in my daily morning practice. My racing heart issue is now starting during the metta practice before the noting exercise even starts. It kicks off earlier and earlier and more and more frequently.
I haven't found much information on that kind of issue on the web. I found a vague suggestion of explanation on a forum. It could be caused by an emotional blockage.What do you think about that?
I found a related post on Dharma Overground (see link), but Emma's issue is very different than mine.
I would be very grateful if you could help me on this one. 

Thanks!
Maël

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
8/27/17 2:54 PM as a reply to Maël.
Hello Maël, welcome.

* When you say your heart races, what do you mean by that exactly? Could you measure your pulse?

* Remember that you cannot cause yourself a heart attack or something like that.

* Since you are familiar with the insight maps, and you say you have crossed the A&P, why have you ruled out the Fear nana? Does the equanimity that you mention come before or after the heart racing? If the increased heartbeat comes before, it could be fear. If it comes after equanimity, couldn't it be anticipation?

* What do you do when you notice that your heart is racing? Remember that you have two main ways to deal with unpleasant sensations:

1) Look away. Ignore them.

2) Make them your object of meditation. Break them down in their micro-components until they are just a flurry blurry bundle of bubbles of somethingness / nothingness / emptiness.

* Perhaps most importantly: Try not to tell yourself stories about your heart racing. And if you do, note them as "thinking, thinking".

(The "emotional blockage" thing smells like potential new agey bs to me.)

n

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
8/28/17 12:46 AM as a reply to Maël.
Maël:
Hi everyone, 

My issue is that my heart starts beating very fast during my meditation sessions when my level of concentration starts to be high. 

Thanks!
Maël


I think you should consider if you might be more than subtly willing/wishing for a breakthrough to a new state/stage. If you are progressing to the 4th jhana, equanimity should be developed, simply by being able to 'sit through all sittings' without craving/aversion, if that makes any sense to you?

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
8/28/17 2:01 PM as a reply to neko.
Many thanks for your response Neko!
I haven't tried to measure my pulse, but I have been thinking to get a fitbit or something similar to get an idea. I feel like it is much faster than after running for 30 mins or an hour, but it might not mean that it is actually faster. It might just feel like it because I am sitting in a quiet place so it sounds much louder. The movements of my heart inside my body are also very impressive. I've never felt it moving like that in my entire life. 

I thought for a while that it could have been the Fear nana but it definitely came after equanimity, or at least the lower equanimity state. It might be an equanimity mini-dark night that is taking more time than it should. Could that be possible?
What is anticipation? I am not familiar with this step. If it is one.

When my heart starts racing then I just try to ignore it. I have tried to make it the object of meditation when it appeared during the first month but it didn't help. 
Your last advice is very judicious. I am taken away from the meditation as soon as I start imagining stories about my heart. 

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
8/28/17 2:26 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Thanks Yilun Ong. I think you are right. I must be wishing too much to reach the next stage. I should develop equanimity first. I think I am rushing everything. Do you know if a racing heart a common issue at this stage? Have you come across people with the same issue? 

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
8/28/17 2:35 PM as a reply to Maël.
[quote=Maël
 I feel like it is much faster than after running for 30 mins or an hour]
That's pretty fast. Measure it to see what it actually is, and measure it after running.  You don't need a fitbit, just a clock.  Does this happen any other times when not exercising, other than meditation?

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
8/28/17 2:40 PM as a reply to C P M.
Thanks for the tip. I will try with a clock. It just happens while I meditate. 

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
8/28/17 2:52 PM as a reply to Maël.
I've been running into a similar issue recently in some of my sits where I get into High Eq with all the senses in panoramic focus and impermanence predominating, stuff gets dreamy and falling asleep-ish, I notice that this is excitingly close to a fruition, and then my heart rate increases significantly.  To me it feels more like a flush of piti, sort of like entering first jhana.  I have low confidence in where I am on the Progress of Insight, so I'm not sure that I'm in the "real" version of High Eq rather than overlaying my prior experience onto wherever I am naturally at this point. 

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
8/29/17 4:16 AM as a reply to Maël.
Maël:
Thanks Yilun Ong. I think you are right. I must be wishing too much to reach the next stage. I should develop equanimity first. I think I am rushing everything. Do you know if a racing heart a common issue at this stage? Have you come across people with the same issue? 


I think it is common when the practitioner fails to balance excitability (one of which is the 'upcoming' attainment of the next stage) with dull-mindedness. Try your next few sittings resolving prior to entering them, to be a level-headed dispassionate observer, whatever pops up. Let us know how that works out for you. emoticon

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
8/29/17 8:22 PM as a reply to Maël.
I don't know if it's happening to you for the same reasons, but this exact thing happened to me a while back. In my case I'm pretty certain it was not really related to any of the nanas, as it happened every sit and every day for a while and then it never happened again. Instead I'd chalk it up to a kundalini/energy phenomenon - a kind of temporary energy release.

During that period I dropped my sits to once a day, sometimes skipping a day if things got too intense, sitting for shorter periods, and made sure to get plenty of exercise. Eventually (maybe a month or a bit more) it was suddenly not happening anymore. After that I upped my sitting frequency and duration.

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
8/30/17 1:32 PM as a reply to Rob K.
Thanks for your post Rob. I think this is happening for the same reason. 
Some kundalini phenomena occurred during my A&P stage and after. 
But for me, it's taking longer to disappear. It started around 6 months ago. At first, it was just occasionally and now it is almost for all the mediation sessions, however not with the same intensity. 
What kind of exercises do you recommend? Do you know if kundalini yoga or any type of yoga would help me to release the energy?

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
9/2/17 4:10 AM as a reply to Maël.
Maël:
Thanks for your post Rob. I think this is happening for the same reason. 
Some kundalini phenomena occurred during my A&P stage and after. 
But for me, it's taking longer to disappear. It started around 6 months ago. At first, it was just occasionally and now it is almost for all the mediation sessions, however not with the same intensity. 
What kind of exercises do you recommend? Do you know if kundalini yoga or any type of yoga would help me to release the energy?

If this is the same thing I've been having lately, then it's not your heart but the result of chest muscle vibrations which can be very strong.  This is why someone asked you to check your pulse.  Check it at the wrist and I'll bet you it's normal 70 bpm.  To be safe, get your heart tests done also.

You won't need a fitbit - it's very simple. See here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7pcbWgXWWE

If you feedback to me it would be helpful, thanks.

RE: Heart beating like crazy during meditation
Answer
9/9/17 4:48 PM as a reply to LoveQuest.
Thanks for your recommendations LoveQuest and sorry for the late response. I did quite a lot of progress during the last 2 weeks and the issue progressively disappeared. It was definitely something to do with the Kundalini energy.