Skillful response for senses shuddering/blinking/resetting?

Jeyan "Jey" Burns-Oorjitham, modified 3 Years ago at 7/28/20 7:51 PM
Created 3 Years ago at 7/19/20 8:38 PM

Skillful response for senses shuddering/blinking/resetting?

Posts: 64 Join Date: 5/5/18 Recent Posts
Hello, friends/co-adventurers!

Basic Question
For the past month or so, I seem to have been having recurring experiences where the senses seem to shudder, blink, or reset. These experiences recur fairly regularly in my practice. I request advice on how to skillfully understand and handle these experiences.

Background Information
These sorts of experiences seem to manifest both in fire kasina practice and while following the breath.
I seem physically and emotionally healthy.
I do not seem to experience undue distress from these experiences.

General Experience Outline
About 20 - 30 minutes into a meditation sit, light shuddering or flickering starts to arise in body sensations and the meditation object.
The shuddering strengthens up to a peak, then subsides fairly quickly.
For a small time slice around the peak of the experience, it seems difficult to observe any sensations. (There seems to be a "gap" of
sensation around the peak of the experience.)
Immediately following the peak, verbal or visual thoughts seem less frequent.
A general sense of equanimity also follows the experience.

In some sits, (especially those lasting longer than 45 minutes), I may have an experience like this multiple times.
When this happens, one of the peaks usually seems more intense than the others.

Responses so Far

Here are some of the responses I've been working with up to this point.
  • Pay close attention to the physical sensations in the build up and aftermath of the experience
  • Notice how verbal and visual mental content arise and pass with different frequency before and after the experience
  • Notice how the three characteristics are present throughout the experience
  • If the experiences seem too intense or jittery and are recurring more three times per hour, keep practicing, but back off the intensity of
    "shredding every sensation" and bask in the equanimity for a few minutes.
I welcome feedback and constructive criticism on how I might handle these experiences more skillfully.

Specific Examples

Example 1: Fire Kasina Practice

Was doing fire kasina practice with a candle video on my phone facing a dark closet
During the practice, was aiming to notice the three characteristics (was aiming for Insight)

Visuals had become a roughly rectangular shape.The center of the rectangle was a light green color with some fluxing blotches of black.
The entire rectangle was flickering (rough frequency guesstimate was somewhere between 3 and 8 cycles per second?)

I felt a "shudder" or shiver building in intensity in the body
As the shudder peaked and then dissipated into the body, the green rectangle disappeared for a fraction of a second

Immediately afterward, the rectangle reappeared. However, the appearance of the rectangle was different.
The rectangle was smaller. It was rotated differently.
The black blotches or spots were smaller as well.

My mental state also seemed different. Background thoughts still arose, but seemed to do so more slowly.

Example 2: Following the breath (anapanasati)

Was following the breath at the nostrils from the start of the sit
After about 30 minutes, noticed transient shuddering beginning to move through the back and abdominal area
Shuddering continued, and then intensified
Shuddering seemed to overtake the whole body
Around the peak of the shuddering, the sensations of breath and shuddering both subsided
As the breath sensations resurfaced, they seemed spread out throughout the entire upper face instead of just concentrating at the nostrils
Calm and equanimity with a positive flavor or aura exuded after the experience
After ending the sit and continuing through daily life, thoughts seemed less "sticky" or emotionally charged.

Feel free to ask for additional detail or clarification if needed.

Thank you for reading!
Martin, modified 3 Years ago at 7/28/20 8:59 PM
Created 3 Years ago at 7/28/20 8:59 PM

RE: Skillful response for senses shuddering/blinking/resetting?

Posts: 873 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I get that with the breath quite often. As you say, it intensifies, peaks and is followed by calm, spaciousness, stillness. I don't do anything with it. I just think of it as one of the many weird things that happen when I sit. But I have no real idea what I am doing on the cushion. All I can tell you is that it doesn't seem to cause any problems.
Jeyan "Jey" Burns-Oorjitham, modified 3 Years ago at 7/30/20 8:16 PM
Created 3 Years ago at 7/30/20 8:16 PM

RE: Skillful response for senses shuddering/blinking/resetting?

Posts: 64 Join Date: 5/5/18 Recent Posts
Thank you for the feedback!