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Externally originating meditative sensations ? Comments ?

Discussion in 'START HERE: Registration & Introductions' started by Awarenessexperiment, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. Awarenessexperiment

    Awarenessexperiment Member

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    A year ago I had the great pleasure to attend a 10 day ‘Goenka’ Vipassana meditation course. I am an engineer in my fifties that previously had a strong atheistic agnostic opinion about organized religion and anything ‘non-proveable’. The course shifted this opinion to a more softer agnosticism but most importantly the course fundamentally altered my previous ‘misunderstanding’ of the nature of consciousness and the levels of my awareness and thinking. It was more exciting than rafting down the White Nile in Uganda or diving in an unexplored cave in Philippines. After day three I started feeling the sensations of my own sub-consciousness. They were so strong and they ‘shook’ me so thoroughly that I almost quit the course after the fifth day. I luckily stayed the full ten days and I have continued meditating two hours daily and I have attended one 3 -day follow up course.
    Three months after the course, I started realizing that not all of my sensations were ‘internally’ originating. Since then I have tried to conduct ‘empirical’ tests and noted down my experiences. This kind of approach is totally against what the Goenka’s Vipassana-teachers advice, but I prefer to do as Buddha did – experiment – and not only blindly follow any systematic teaching, regardless how wise, experienced and insightful it might be. The path is always our own. When I sit and meditate I though mostly follow the Vipassana body-scan method. It greatly improves my internal ‘balance’. According to my discussions with a 10-years experienced Vipassana-meditator, my meditative sensations are unusually strong and easily obtained . They mostly emiditly after I start to meditate and they include the whole body. I will not here go into them more since their nature seem to be in line with what others experience.
    My ‘externally originting’ sensations are predominantly occurring in the head. I will here only mention such external sources that I have followed and noticed for a longer period than three months and which systematically occur in the majority cases when I am in the mentioned situation. My definition also includes that I have to have noticed these for more than 20 separate days and times and still occurring – never stopping for a longer timespan. These sensations arise without meditation. I notice them during normal workdays and daily conscious life so that I ‘suddenly’ stop when I feel these strong sensations in my head. For instance I then look out and notice that it is raining. These sensations are strong enough to ‘invade’ my normal awakened consciousness state during work, driving, reading a newspaper or for instance looking at TV.
    My main sources of external influences for strong head-sensations are:
    1) rain, fog, snow and thunderstorm.
    2) horisontal movement at speeds above walking speed. The nature of the sensation change as speed increases (car, train, airplane).
    3) Movement vertically up and down at slightly quicker speed than normal walk. For instance elevator, escalator or airplane up to max a thousand meters. I cannot notice differences at higher altitude (I fly abt 3-6 times per month).
    4) Trees. As I have an oak in my garden, I this summer – not considering meditation - sat leaning against it at the same time as I was resting the back of my head to its surface. This position rather quickly caused a soft wave-like sensations to arise inside my head (not similar to the other external or internal sensations). I thought it was an anomaly but during last six months I have daily tested this effect in the woods by my house (I have a dog with which I take a morning walk). The sensations are systematical.
    In addition to these, there seems to be other circumstances causing sensations but I do not have sufficient ‘data’ on them yet.
    I would be interesting to hear comments from other people that maybe have similar experiences.
    Metta greetings.
    Awareness and sensation experimenter
     
  2. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    Hi AwarenessExperiment and welcome to the Project Meditation community,

    Me too.

    For me, it started with doing some Tai Chi lessons at my local gym to try and help with the stress of a sh!tty job. I experienced 'energy' that I couldn't explain, which led me to Reiki, meditation, EFT and other energy and mind based therapies.

    Here here! Completely agree. Ever since I was young, I always investigated how things worked to the point, when computers first came into the home, not only did I play the games on them, but I also picked up the manual and experimented with the programming languages. I taught myself how to program, and not just BASIC, but in machine code, taking low level control of the computer. I just needed to know how it was working and how I could control it. Even now, my day job is a computer programmer, but my interest in complementary therapies, mind therapies, psychology, and philosophy is also complemented by a study of modern sciences such as quantum electrodynamics, quantum physics, chaos theory etc.

    So, like yourself, I used to look at these therapies and 'spiritual' matters as a load of rubbish, but then upon inspection, I found that there is a basis for a lot of it (there's still a lot that is just belief and some that is clearly misguided rubbish), and often it's just a case that people from different understandings are using different terminology to talk about what is essentially the same thing.

    I'm not experienced with Vipassana mediation so can't comment on that, but that's ok, as I'm fine with the meditation techniques I use.

    This sounds familiar and perhaps is what I would put down to developing a greater awareness of your Self and becoming more present with what's around you rather than being stuck in the mind that is constantly thinking of things from the past and projecting them into the future. I haven't done systematic data recording of all my experiences (though it would have been good if I had), but at the end of the day I haven't got to prove anything to anyone so I'm happy that what I know to be true is what I have had practical experience of and thus tested for myself, and not just what I've been told.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  3. Awarenessexperiment

    Awarenessexperiment Member

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    Hi Giles,
    Thank You for Your replies. If You ever have time, I warmly recommend a vipassana-course. I dont't know Tai Chi but according to my understanding they could complement eachother. My awareness is definitely on a 'different planet' now, so Yes offourse the awareness of sensations are being constantly sharpened and changing. As they are so strong, I here am asking about others' experiences, in part to 'calm' and 'understand' the mind. I also study quantum physics (the small part that I am capable to understand) in order to see what that could give. In paralell though I read books about meditation in Buddhism, Sufism and currently Meister Eckhart's wise contemplations. I work towards balance in my mind, my way. By the way - I got myself a EPOC EEG for christmas, anyone liking technology I think can appreciate to follow ones own thought-waves both in clear awakedness and during meditation (its easy to record the screen on a mobile phone even though eyes are closed).
    Good meditations,
    Awarenessexperimentor
     
  4. bondzai

    bondzai Member

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    I also do Vipassana

    I took the Goenka ten day course down in southern Georgia and it was definitely an experience. At the end of the ten days I was breathing with my whole body it seemed. During one of the meditation breaks when we did the walking, I walked on the trail in the woods and these Jet Fighters, musta been national guard or something strafed the trees ... it was so weird but cool.

    I don't quite get what you mean by internal vs external. I have always been soothed by external sounds such as white noise etc.

    I have been doing Les Fehmi's open focus for years on and off but recently took it up again and it produced a huge shift for me. Its a lot like vipassana in that in a sense you are body scanning but more so in that you contemplate space in the body and outside the body. I find doing the sensing of space in the body to greatly complement using the Lifeflow as the sounds from the lifeflow and the space in the body produces in me a virtual paradise.

    My main practice when not sitting meditation is returning to contemplating space or sensing my arms and legs and head and inside my body.
     
  5. Awarenessexperiment

    Awarenessexperiment Member

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    Hi Bondzai,
    Nice to hear that You also liked Vipassana.
    The 'external' sensations I try to describe arise from 'sensitivity' from something else than Vipassana in-body scanned meditation. They arise in normal awaken state so strongly that I am aware of their systematical recurrance in the mentioned situations. They resemble in a way how I am aware of getting angry or aggravated - adrenalin gives very clear sensations that makes me aware when a discussion and situation makes me distressed. I can avoid such situations through feeling the sensations.
    The ones I describe 'arise' by themself in the described situation, so strong that they 'infer' on normal awaken consciousness.
    That's why ask if anyone else has similar strong reactions.
    According to my discussions with an Alan Wallace student, my sensitivity seems to be going 'too strong'. I am trying to meditate it down but not managing to do it.
    Best regards,
    Awarenessexperimenter.
     
  6. Awarenessexperiment

    Awarenessexperiment Member

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    Update

    Hi All,
    I just want to update in case someone is interested. I have continued to have the same systematic sensations and I meditate at least an hour per day. During this spring the sensations became even stronger, so I decided to take a full MRI brain scan. To my surprise they found that that I have a Arachnoid Cyst (abnormal enlargement of Cerebrospinal fluid) around all of my left Cerebellum and I also have a enlarged Cisterna Magna. These are not dangerous in themselves unless one gets serious symptoms due to fluid pressure etc. About 0,25% of 'normal' adults have it, most without knowing it. This cyst has probably existed for all of my life since it has influenced the bone structure and decreased the size of my left cerebellum. My doctor has concluded that it is not dangerous and no action will be taken. My view is, that part of the left cerebellum's activity is now done by the right side and this is maybe a factor attributing to my heightened sensations. My neurobiologist had no explanation for my heightened sensitivity but admitted that the cerebellum is the least known part of our brain and in comparison to its 'capacity', little is known what all it actually does. It seems that it is the part of the brain 'concentrating' on all matters which are not involving memory or making probability-calculations for 'future' scenarios. Therefore it is the part in the brain acting only in the 'now' moment, not taking into account time. This is in line with my physical experiences and sensations.
    Another separate 'finding' is that there now is a name for 'spontaneous' sensations in the head - ASMR, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. There are discussion groups about this, for instance http://www.asmr-research.org/.
    Let me know if anyone else has same experiences or cysts in connection with the cerebellum - maybe for instance causing increased sensitivity.
    Metta,
    Awarenessexperimentor
     
  7. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    Thanks for the update. Interesting.

    Hugs

    Giles
     

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