Does non-'enlightenment' cause or contribute to headaches?

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Dada Kind, modified 3 Years ago.

Does non-'enlightenment' cause or contribute to headaches?

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
I'm not fourth path. In my practice I've worked with going directly after sensations in/around the head/neck which seem to be 'self'. I can see intellectually and (to some degree) experientially how there seems to be extra, unnecessary processing going on to create those sensations.

In my practice lately I've been getting headaches. It seems like they're strongly associated with a sense of striving, like a furrowed brow. But also, they seem associated with that extra step where it seems that sensations 'bounce' onto the sense of a center point. I get the feeling that if I were fourth path this lack of extra processing would diminish or never-cause the headache.

Has anyone else made a similar association?
Change A., modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Does non-'enlightenment' cause or contribute to headaches?

Posts: 793 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
Dada Kind:
I get the feeling that if I were fourth path this lack of extra processing would diminish or never-cause the headache.

Has anyone else made a similar association?
I'm not really a fan of models of enlightenment so I won't say that if you were fourth path, this would happen but I would say this: If you keep progressing, you will reach a place where you won't get headaches. In the beginning, you may not be able to do much about them, but as you get more handle on it, you will know what to do to make them go away and eventually not have them happen in the first place. Not only this, if someone else were to have a headache, with a small touch, you may be able to make their headache "move". 
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Dada Kind, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Does non-'enlightenment' cause or contribute to headaches?

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
This is somewhat reassuring. Thanks.

Can you provide any more info? How you know? When it might happen? How it relates to your idea of 'enlightenment'?
Change A., modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Does non-'enlightenment' cause or contribute to headaches?

Posts: 793 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
Dada Kind:
This is somewhat reassuring. Thanks.

Can you provide any more info? How you know? When it might happen? How it relates to your idea of 'enlightenment'?
You're welcome.

I used to have headaches myself. So I know this from my personal experience. It happens as you progress along the path. I think 'Enlightenment' isn't a particular point but just a progression along the path. It includes physical relaxation so when the body relaxes, headaches go away. Physical tension is caused by mental tension which is due to the taboos surrounding our animal instincts and how a human is supposed to behave in a civil society. The animal within doesn't like that. For the animal within, there are no parents, siblings or anyone else. It's all tooth and claw. We learn to control it without really getting to know it. So getting to know it is the first step and then we can learn to release the energy without acting outwardly. 
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Dada Kind, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Does non-'enlightenment' cause or contribute to headaches?

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
Thanks.
Physical tension is caused by mental tension which is due to the taboos surrounding our animal instincts and how a human is supposed to behave in a civil society. The animal within doesn't like that. For the animal within, there are no parents, siblings or anyone else. It's all tooth and claw. We learn to control it without really getting to know it. So getting to know it is the first step and then we can learn to release the energy without acting outwardly.

Agreed on this. But, of course, there can be other physical causes (caffeine headache, eye strain from staring at screens, etc). Still not totally sure.

I actually searched the DhO for threads on headaches and found some support for my idea,
Suddenly/gradually you become aware of a painful headache that gets more
painful as you notice it. It feels like it's right in the center of
your being, and unlike every other physical sensation by this point, it does feel as self. Meditation gets progressively more uncomfortable/painful/scary due to this one headache.
It sounds just like the annoying tension in the head I experienced, complete with it feeling like 'self'.
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3794276#_19_message_3786440
Change A., modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Does non-'enlightenment' cause or contribute to headaches?

Posts: 793 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
Dada Kind:


Agreed on this. But, of course, there can be other physical causes (caffeine headache, eye strain from staring at screens, etc). Still not totally sure.

I actually searched the DhO for threads on headaches and found some support for my idea,
Suddenly/gradually you become aware of a painful headache that gets more
painful as you notice it. It feels like it's right in the center of
your being, and unlike every other physical sensation by this point, it does feel as self. Meditation gets progressively more uncomfortable/painful/scary due to this one headache.
It sounds just like the annoying tension in the head I experienced, complete with it feeling like 'self'.
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3794276#_19_message_3786440
Yes there could be other causes too. Did you have too much caffeine? Did you stare too long at a screen? 
JP Lewicke, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Does non-'enlightenment' cause or contribute to headaches?

Posts: 175 Join Date: 3/31/17 Recent Posts
I've run into this myself, and it seems to be a fairly common meditation-related occurrence.  Nikolai Halay's journal talks a lot about third eye headaches and an "iron skullcap" feeling.

My take on it is pretty similar -- the pre-meditation default state is that muscle tension throughout the center of the head is misread as "me", controlling my actions and thoughts from the center of the head.  After some progress in insight, the normal low levels of muscle tension are seen through.  But when there's an abrupt event that triggers an enhanced awareness of impermanence or no-self, then the mind habitually looks to the normal muscle tension to reassure itself that this is OK and that "I" am still controlling stuff from the center of my own head.  Since that's been seen through, it then responds by increasing the muscle tension so that it has something stronger and more vivid to hang onto.  But since we're used to "normal" tension and not excessive tension, that cycle can continue of rapidly increasing tension until it becomes obvious that the muscle tension isn't actually doing anything or controlling other sensations.  If you get enough of that clamping going on, you're likely to end up with a headache.

I've found that the level of clamping does seem to correlate loosely with my subjective judgment of which nana I'm in at the moment, and seems to fade away higher in Equanimity.  

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