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Something odd happened in meditation this morning ...

I've been meditating for a few months now, just 15 minutes in the morning trying to focus on the breath. I find it really hard to do this, so I'm persevering and keeping it simple. I tend to suffer from anxiety, and for the last few days I've been feeling tired and a bit edgy. This morning as I was meditating I felt a strong sense of unease. Then my mind began to throw up frightening images of plane crashes and other disasters. Suddenly I had a vision (in my mind's eye, I wasn't hallucinating!) of a white lighthouse looking out onto a grey, chaotic ocean, constantly generating half-seen images that bubbled up, almost taking shape, and then sank back into the roiling mass. If I paid attention to them they strengthened; if I didn't, they melted back into the sea. This seemed a reassuring message in a way, but also a bit unnerving, and the image has haunted me all morning like a dream. Does this kind of thing happen often?

Earthninja

Comments

  • It happens. I've had occasional times in meditation where meditation seems to dredge up crap from some dusty corner of my mind. The trick is not to dwell on it or give it more importance than it actually has. It will pass.

    how
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    I've had strange "memories" bubble up from seemingly nowhere during meditations. I try my best to just note them as thoughts, back to breath. Because that's what they are, :)
    I think it's probably a good sign these thoughts are arising, your meditation is obviously bringing up subconscious "stuff"
    Don't let them upset you or cause any further thoughts. :). Remain equanimous and aware is What I was taught !

    how
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    Wherever these figments pop up from, I tend to look upon them as one more trick of the monkey mind to get us sidetracked from our meditation.
    I don't heed them, but gently acknowledge them and then drop them.
    Don't get entangled in the storyline, @Susanna.

    lobsterhowEarthninja
  • 111111 Explorer

    i think it proper to view your vision in similarity to the buddhas experience with mara just before enlightenment. a sea of samsara, filled with an infinite variety of chaos. given attention they solidify, given nothing they fall back to where they came. it is unnerving, the truth of the power samsara has/the potential hold it can take over you. but the liberation comes from simply that - paying it no mind. instead, pay mind to generating healthy mind - through generosity, love, and mindfulness. this was probably a big step to liberation for you, even if it seems trivial. :)

    Earthninja
  • howhow Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Susanna

    Given enough time, just about everything imaginably will eventually pass by the viewing platform of formal meditation.

    Our meditative job is to just allow all such phenomena, an unmolested arrival, life & departure across life's stage, where we would have formally responded more habitually by grasping after, rejecting or ignoring them.

    lobstersilverHamsakasova
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @how said:

    Given enough time, just about everything imaginably will eventually pass by the viewing platform of formal meditation.

    Excellent news. B)

    I am looking forward to the 72 dakini houris when I enter Jhana

    The things we 'Mara movers' find to dance with, you could not make it up ...
    ... well I should imagine you could ...

    ... and we gets a lighthouse ... I am going to call mine 'White Light' House of Lobster. I am also hoping to get behind the 'lotus tree' into one of the Purelands

    .... and now back into the Ocean ... <3

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 2015

    Rigdzin Shikpo talks about the qualities of mind that are ideally in harmony in his book 'Never Turn Away' which is about the four noble truths from (I suppose) a Dzogchen perspective.

    Two of the qualities of mind are virya (energy) and samadhi (concentration). These balance each other and together they are the clarity (or luminosity) nature of mind. When virya kind of surges you can have experiences where the mind is sort of playing creatively and you can get images. This is a very common experience for people going to bed sometimes you see pictures. But in his book he says that the experiences can get quite out of control and you can get sort of lost in a make-believe world. When samadhi is unbalanced you can get those experiences where you are just a living statue in your meditation. But the book isn't really about 'remedies' or tricks it is more about facing whatever experience you are in.

    lobstersova
  • @how said:> Our meditative job is to just allow all such phenomena, an unmolested arrival, life & departure across life's stage, where we would have formally responded more habitually by grasping after, rejecting or ignoring them.

    I call it "bare attention", which is the basis of mindfulness.

    lobster
  • howhow Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I call it "bare attention", which is the basis of mindfulness

    So that's what makes my favorite activity at the beach, so meditative.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Curious that you had the image of a lighthouse, @Susanna ... I'm wondering whether you ever caught sight of this analogy, and it has subliminally entered your subconscious... of course, I could be spouting nonsense....

  • @Susanna said:I tend to suffer from anxiety, and for the last few days I've been feeling tired and a bit edgy.

    Sometimes meditation puts us closer in touch with these underlying tendencies. Remember to approach the practice with a feeling of warmth and self-acceptance.

  • SusannaSusanna Explorer

    Thanks so much for all your comments! Federica, I hadn't seen that analogy before, how spooky (in a good way). 111, yes, it did feel significant. Taking a sneaky look at the book my partner is reading about string theory (yes, really), I was struck by a description of particles coming into existence out of a "violent quantum foam". I thought at the time that had a Buddhist sound. Anyway, back to normal this morning.

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    When I'd been meditating for several weeks, I 'saw' a dark spot coalesce from the background and I burst into tears. Yep, that's it. Then the bowl bell timer on my phone went off. It still makes me smile to think of it :D There's all kinds of stuff in there. When I focus on doing vipassana, I'll have very vivid dreams either that night or the net night, of going back to an old house I used to live in, but it has grown a huge new wing that went seemingly miles (one time it was deep underground). The endless rooms seemed SO very important (in the dream) and were crammed with 'someone's' old hoarded stuff, and I was either touring it or cleaning and organizing it. To me it was just toooo obvious :D. These weird little things happened a lot more in those first few months of meditating but don't so much lately.

  • I often dream of places I've never been to, odd really.

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