Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

A physical problem through meditation

QuandariusQuandarius Explorer
edited August 21 in Meditation

Hello there. I am hoping that someone will be able to comment helpfully on something that has plagued me for very many years. When I was a young man, I started practising meditation, as directed by a very competent and experienced teacher. It was not long before, while I was in a state of deep sleep, a kind of mental earthquake occurred. In the small hours of the morning, there was a kind of muffled explosion in my brain, and I “saw” what can only be described as a “grain of dust”. Physically, the next day, it felt as if someone had delivered a mighty PUNCH to my abdomen. This seemed to have upset my stomach, as, from that time on, there were pockets of “wind” — flatulence — in the stomach, which, before this, had never given any trouble. My teacher said that I had experienced the “Clear Light” and that he understood that it would come as a tremendous shock to me. Certainly, I was ill-prepared (mentally and, as I see, spiritually or morally) for what happened. As far as my understanding went at that time, the goal of Buddhism was a kind of annihilation — a disappearance, at the end of earthly life — if one had proved to be worthy enough — into the “Void”), and, because of what had happened, and because of how I understood the teaching, this prospect caused a great deal of fear and dread. I knew that I was very, very far from being a saint. Yet, something “supernatural” had happened, and it could not be ignored. I was under the impression that, despite my personal failings, I had, by some fluke, been “brought forward in the queue (i.e. in the line of candidates) for Nirvana” and was at the end of the long cycle of re-births. Some may see my understanding, at the time, as being hilarious. However, to me, my situation felt unbearable and terrifying because this was what I understood. (My teacher taught by his presence, and not via words or intellectual understanding, so, mostly, one was left to “learn” by reading.) The very expression, “the Void” terrified me, as I imagined it to be something like empty space, where, after they died, arahats etc. stayed forever and ever. This was because, in years gone by, I had read that Buddhism was a world and-life-denying religion — a kind of nihilism. I had gone into Buddhism because I could no longer bear the unhappiness that the loss of my old religion (Christian belief) had caused. After this “mental earthquake” (which, I now believe, was a kind of “Kensho” experience), a kind of mental breakdown occurred (together with anomalous phenomena, which went with a kind of awakening), and, even when this passed, I suffered from bouts of anxiety. It is a long story, but I will not elaborate. Eventually, things seemed to settle down, and there were many, many occasions of awaking of a kind, supernormal knowledge, and quite miraculous happenings and insights into things (which, if related, would not be believed by most readers). Since then, it has been realised that these insights and “miraculous” perceptions and events were not a result of any spiritual maturity on my part (very far from it), but were what one might see as “emanations” from my teacher, simply on the basis of my association with him and others like him. These “gifts” were not given deliberately by the teacher — they just happened. Though I did not know it at that time, this was a most privileged period in my life. Time passed, circumstances changed, and I lost touch with the teacher. For the most part (but not altogether), the “happenings” ceased also, and life became a humdrum, rather depressing round of work etc. — just as it had been before I met the teacher. There have been rare occasions when, despite my undeserving qualities, things have happened that were (from an ordinary point of view) quite miraculous. When these things have happened, I have wondered whether I was being visited, invisibly, by a more advanced being (my old teacher, perhaps), and being blessed. After all, he had made it quite plain that he was able to do just that (i.e. make invisible visits — I kid you not). I suppose he was referring to a kind of Astral Travelling.

One thing that has stayed with me though, for all the years after that “Satori”-kind of experience, is a burning spot in the middle spine and in the stomach (sometimes, it seems to be in the first-mentioned place, and sometimes in the second. Though it affects the stomach, it radiates from a spot in the spinal nerves, located at about the middle distance down the spine). More than anything else, it is very much like heartburn, and can be quite severe at times. I still practice meditation (watching the rise and fall of the abdomen) and sometimes, when I don’t sleep well, I practice this while lying in bed. Sometimes, the practice, while lying down, can carry on for hours.

Recently, I retired to bed with what seemed to be an insoluble personal problem on my mind. I lay for hours, wrestling with this problem, which was linked with other parties. To lie there, unable to see a way out, was rather like being in hell. I started to watch the rise and fall of the abdomen, and kept this up, despite wandering thoughts, coming back to it when I realised that attention had wandered. Hours passed and, eventually, daylight started to creep into the bedroom. Still, I had not slept.

The next thing that I knew, I was waking from a short, deep sleep. In that sleep, my consciousness had “plunged down” (this is the only way that it can be described) from being concentrated “in my head” (because of worried thoughts) to the same nerve centre, down in the spine. (This had happened years before, on more than one occasion.) On waking, it felt as if “I” was surfacing, after diving into deep, deep water, which water was black. Instantly, and without any thinking, I realised that the problem that I had been wrestling with had totally dissolved. There was no problem left, for an insight, given from that “dark centre”, had dissolved it totally! (With intellect alone, I should never have seen that solution in a hundred years!) Further, from the nerve-centre radiated feelings of healing. Very soon after this, I fell asleep again, and, in a vivid dream, I was trying to find someone that I knew could help me in a certain matter. I asked different people where this person could be found, but they refused to tell me. Finally, someone told me that, in this locality (it was a village strange to me), people believed that, if something needed to be known, one would be led to it “by telepathy”. Surely, this must have been a reference to the insight that had arrived out of the blackness?

I could go on. Many times, rather wonderful events have occurred. Then, when they faded away and became mere memories, things seem to return to the humdrum course of events that I call my life.

However, there is one constant factor, and this is that the “nerve centre”, down in the spine, does not always radiate peace or healing. Mostly, it radiates burning pain. Yet, there are occasional days when this does not happen, and my body feels normal.

I recall reading (somewhere in the Buddhist sutras, but I forget where) that Buddha said that a meditator would need to put up with "pricking pains, ?? pains", before he found the way through. That's all that I remember. My experience seems to show that he was telling the truth. However, no matter what I do or how I practice, this almost-permanent pain remains.

Does anyone have any knowledge of how this discomfort can be alleviated, or what could be done to "get through" it? Many years ago, I mentioned this problem to a fellow-meditator, describing it as severe heartburn. He must have known something about it, because he replied, “Joe (not my real name), it isn’t heartburn.” Yet, I did not have wit to ask him what he meant! Perhaps he could have shed light on the matter, and helped me in some way. However, this opportunity was missed.

I am hoping that someone in this forum will be able to do that. If private correspondence were necessary, I should be very willing to engage in that.

With thanks in hopeful anticipation,
Q.

Comments

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    In such a case, I would start with a visit to a Buddhist temple of the same denomination as your old teacher. If you describe your symptoms to them, they may be able to help. Failing that, I would try visits to a variety of alternative health practitioners. Everything from Tibetan doctors to Chi healers may be able to lend a hand.

    Perhaps someone else will have pertinent and less obvious advice B)

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing great lakes Veteran

    Physical bodies can maintain and hold onto pent up trauma. As a Buddhist, one may consider that these traumas are psychic and not only physical in nature, and therefore could be from a continuum that predates this body and existence.

    Which means that in order to release some pent up traumas, you may need to activate different muscle groups for their energy to be released.

    I highly recommend you get a book called Yoga Anatomy, or at least borrow it from the local library.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=RrmNbkTgOkcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=yoga+anatomy&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjenaDI6P7cAhWnxYMKHX6kC6sQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=yoga anatomy&f=false

    The muscle group I was thinking of while reading your post is called the psoas. They are used in almost every motion, but to give them a good stretch there are only a handful of postures that can evoke the pull.

    Try locating some areas of your body that feel tight or tense no matter what you do, and we can start exploring options.

    Also, voidness is not something scary. Voidness is knowing the bars of the cage to be illusory, on a backdrop of perfectness. Voidness is freedom from dualism, because the body and scene-at-hand (Longchempa likes to say "projects-at-hand" for every.day situations) are scenarios that appear within complete awareness that has no identity, no color, no shape, no form, but is never separate from these properties.

    Imagine there is a cord extending from your belly button to Saturn.

    How long is that cord?

    Can you intuitively "feel" the spatiality? The space we're noting is similar to nature of mind in that it pervades everything, accommodates all, and impedes naught.

    Voidness is very different from having a body in an environment. The environment is your body. (not as an absolute truth, but as a stepping stone)

    The best way to overcome pain is to:

    contemplate all the people who have similar pains
    Maybe in their gut or in their spine
    even in the soles of their feet that pain them like fire when they walk.

    And generate the fervent wish that their pain be dissolved.

    By mentally dissolving the pains of others we can work with our own minds, and our own reality as well as that of those around us will improve.

    I'm open to private correspondence, as what you state very highly mirrors events I've learned about in relation to Dream Yoga. In fact, Holochek has an amazing book on Dream Yoga.

    Anyway, inner fire or Tummo is a byproduct of realization, if it's painful I recommend training in spreading it around your body via awareness/prana once it's strong in your abdomen area.

    The Dream Yoga book can probably explain a lot for you, there is the "white drop" in the head and the "red drop" in the small of the back (ish) and when they meet (at the heart center) the various body energies and channels harmonize (& experience heartfulness)

    Looking forward to your responses

    Jeffrey
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited August 21

    I have experienced confusion trying to sort out what is my mental illness symptoms and what is something to do with 'awakening' or 'enlightenment'.

    One thing I learned is that the mind is by nature creative but that I can choose what I pay attention to. Similar to when Buddha saw through the Maras of fear and sensuality.

    But yes there is a great difficulty sorting out what is mental illness from one perspective for me and what is dharma. And I have had some strange experiences which I won't elaborate on and I've probably forgotten over half of them. It was very interesting for me to read about the experiences you have had.

    Also not to discount the spiritual aspect of your body and consciousness experiences, you can get a pylori blood test to tell if (on top of the spiritual things) you also have an ulcer caused by pylori bacteria in your stomach. And you can get a stools/poop test to look for blood.

  • @Kerome said:
    In such a case, I would start with a visit to a Buddhist temple of the same denomination as your old teacher. If you describe your symptoms to them, they may be able to help. Failing that, I would try visits to a variety of alternative health practitioners. Everything from Tibetan doctors to Chi healers may be able to lend a hand.

    Kerome, I did visit a monastery many years ago (it was a very long way from where I live, and the traval cost was more than I could afford at the time). However, the people (monks) that I spoke to about this did not help, at all. Also, I have visited healers of various kinds, who were useless, and totally ignorant of meditation as Buddhists practice it. In the end, I gave up looking for help. My writing to this forum was spurred on because the pain had become particularly severe. Thanks for your comments.
    Q.

  • @Jeffrey said:

    Also not to discount the spiritual aspect of your body and consciousness experiences, you can get a pylori blood test to tell if (on top of the spiritual things) you also have an ulcer caused by pylori bacteria in your stomach. And you can get a stools/poop test to look for blood.

    Jeffrey: If it were an ulcer, there would not (I think) be days when the pain is remarkably absent. At times, I have wondered about that, but I am convinced that there is not an ulcer. Besides, other experiences (such as the dream I recounted in my OP) show that it cannot be an ulcer, because sometimes it seems to be radiating healing (temporarily). Also, though the "nerve centre" is certainly where the "spiritual" or psychic aspects of my being manifests into the physical structure, there have occasionally been these "plunging down" into the nerve centre (as it seems) in sleep. Therefore, it must be a psychic or spiritual thing, as well as impinging on the body in some way. Many years ago, I read something about the "nadis", which word means radiations from the spine, on a less physical level.

    I wonder, sometimes, whether the pain in the spine/solar plexus/stomach is a result of a conflict between my strongly intellectual nature, and levels of the "unconscious" that, because of some fluke or other in the past, have been tapped. I remember reading, in a sutra, that, in a meditation, Buddha "broke, and spun down {sic]". This may have been describing an occasion when the Buddha also went down into that centre (in a physical sense, one down in his body. I remember an occasion, years ago, when, in a dream, I was wrestling with someone. He grabbed my head and pulled it towards himself (he was facing me, of course) and downwards. My neck broke, and my consciousness went spinning down, into a dark, peaceful void within my being. Afterwards, I awoke from a beautiful sleep. I am absolutely sure that this experience was the same as that described in the sutra. However, unlike the Buddha, I am not an adept, and my constitution is such that my intellectual activity may be in a kind of conflict with the deep centre of my being (this is just speculation, of course). This could possibly be the cause of what may be viewed as psychosomatic problems.
    Q

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Quandarius said:

    @Kerome said:
    In such a case, I would start with a visit to a Buddhist temple of the same denomination as your old teacher. If you describe your symptoms to them, they may be able to help. Failing that, I would try visits to a variety of alternative health practitioners. Everything from Tibetan doctors to Chi healers may be able to lend a hand.

    My writing to this forum was spurred on because the pain had become particularly severe. Thanks for your comments.

    How difficult. It sounds as though over time you feel that you have ruled out both physical causes and the help of alternative practitioners. I certainly don’t feel qualified to comment on the validity of that, since I’m not either a doctor or a psychic healer :)

    But I do have to say I have met one or two people (now sadly passed away) with extraordinary gifts in curing pain in others, just by hovering their hands over the affected place. It is very much a question of finding the right person, and often they don’t loudly advertise their gifts.

    I’m sure a doctor could prescribe pain relief such as codeine, but that is not very satisfactory for a long term problem.

  • @sova said:
    Physical bodies can maintain and hold onto pent up trauma. As a Buddhist, one may consider that these traumas are psychic and not only physical in nature, and therefore could be from a continuum that predates this body and existence.

    Which means that in order to release some pent up traumas, you may need to activate different muscle groups for their energy to be released.

    I highly recommend you get a book called Yoga Anatomy, or at least borrow it from the local library.

    The muscle group I was thinking of while reading your post is called the psoas. They are used in almost every motion, but to give them a good stretch there are only a handful of postures that can evoke the pull.

    Try locating some areas of your body that feel tight or tense no matter what you do, and we can start exploring options.
    THESE CAPS ARE THE ONLY WAY I KNOW HOW TO MAKE MY REPLIES, TO YOUR VARIOUS COMMENTS, STAND OUT, SO PLEASE EXCUSE THEM.THANKS, I SHALL TRY TO FIND THE BOOK THAT YOU MENTION. I'M NOT VERY MOBILE, SO THIS MAY TAKE TIME.

    Also, voidness is not something scary. Voidness is knowing the bars of the cage to be illusory, on a backdrop of perfectness. Voidness is freedom from dualism, because the body and scene-at-hand (Longchempa likes to say "projects-at-hand" for every.day situations) are scenarios that appear within complete awareness that has no identity, no color, no shape, no form, but is never separate from these properties.
    IT SEEMS TO ME THAT, AT MY AGE (85), I AM PAST BEING SCARED OF THE UNKNOWN. WHEN I WAS YOUNG, I WAS TERRIFIED OF GETTING "OUT OF MY DEPTH", FOR TWO REASONS: 1) I WAS SCARED, IN A GENERAL WAY, OF ANYTHING I DID NOT UNDERSTAND (I.E. ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE "SUPERNATURAL") AND 2) I WAS SCARED OF BECOMING EITHER PHYSICALLY OR MENTALLY ILL THROUGH DABBLING WITH "SPIRITUAL" MATTERS (I HAD READ OF PEOPLE ENDING UP IN MADHOUSES, THROUGH ACTIVATING THE "CENTRES" IN THE BODY). THE REASON FOR THIS SPECIFIC FEAR WAS THAT I NEEDED TO KEEP EARNING, AND SUPPORTING MY WIFE AND YOUNG FAMILY, AND PAYING THE MORTGAGE. AT ONE POINT, THIS ABILITY NEARLY LEFT ME, SUCH WAS THE TRAUMA OF MY INITIAL AWAKENING, AS DESCRIBED IN MY OP.

    The best way to overcome pain is to:

    contemplate all the people who have similar pains
    Maybe in their gut or in their spine
    even in the soles of their feet that pain them like fire when they walk.

    And generate the fervent wish that their pain be dissolved.

    By mentally dissolving the pains of others we can work with our own minds, and our own reality as well as that of those around us will improve.
    IN DAILY LIFE, I WISH OTHERS WELL, WHOEVER THEY ARE, AND TRY TO CULTIVATE A SYMPATHETIC NATURE. I SHALL BEAR IN MIND WHAT YOU RECOMMEND.

    Anyway, inner fire or Tummo is a byproduct of realization, if it's painful I recommend training in spreading it around your body via awareness/prana once it's strong in your abdomen area.

    HEY, THAT'S AN APPROPRIATE NAME FOR THE INNER FIRE, ISN'T IT? (TUMMO — HA, HA!)

    THANKS, I SHALL TRY SPREADING IT AROUND THE BODY. I'M NOT VERY GOOD AT VISUALISATION, BUT I SHALL TRY.
    The Dream Yoga book can probably explain a lot for you, there is the "white drop" in the head and the "red drop" in the small of the back (ish) and when they meet (at the heart center) the various body energies and channels harmonize (& experience heartfulness)

    Looking forward to your responses

    THANKS FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS IN GENERAL.
    Q.

  • CarameltailCarameltail UK Explorer
    edited August 23

    I dunno exactly what your view is now, as you write in past tense for some of it (and i found it a little hard to read on my mobile device at least). But to answer what you said, the goal .. is not annihilation (even at death)
    Yes you transcend things in a sort of way. But you are never truly dissolving what you need. The fear of the void, sounds like a sort of archetypal emotionally held fear that needs to be cleared. Also with these issues, they often start small but get bigger as the story builds up and you get more anxious. It is harmful to engage in the details and in belief.

    For pain is it actually a feeling inside the body or just a pain around the area? For example a feeling of anxiety or other issues causes that. But also an emotional attack of some kind... can cause such a problem. That happens particularly in the solar plexus often but can happen anywhere really. Those sorts of pains tend to go away when you rub them so i'm not sure if it is that though. But it is likely something related..

    But like honestly it sounds all very fishy to me, astral travelling and all is harmful stuff, nothing to do with enlightenment, self actualization or anything=> which is really something more simple. -shrugs-
    Astral travelling is based on 'illusions' (and not just your simple 'run of the mill' illusion) and some very harmful indeed. That's why its best not to engage with that sort of thing or related. It all pulls you away from reality and leaves you ungrounded. Even certain sorts of meditation can do that to an extent so isn't good in large amounts especially if you aren't a grounded person.

    Take time to walk to regain balance. Make sure to observe whats around you, it helps if you spend time in nature especially but even if you don't a good walk of any kind is helpful.

    All and all sounds like something a little harmful has been going on even if potentially mixed with good things.. I could elaborate but this is quite a long topic.. (plus i probably will offend people or something 0-o) There are several practices that help with this sort of thing, the goal is to dissolve issues.

    Feel free to pm me if any questions.

    Jeffrey
  • CarameltailCarameltail UK Explorer
    edited August 23

    Also here is an additional thing, I had, that could be relevant (but could also be a thread on it's own.
    => reality itself is annihilation and change

    "There are two kind of annihilation, an empirical one called destruction and a transcendental one called evanescence or impermanence. The first is the annihilation said of a jar, which when drop, broke into pieces. The second refer to imperceptible gradual, constant deterioration over time of a jar, which is the very essence of reality of all things. As Santiraksita has pointed out, reality itself is called annihilation as what is ultimately real has only the duration of a moment of existence. Its essence is impermanent, it is dynamic and indivisible. It cannot be divided such that non-existence should follow upon existence as its impermanent arises simultaneously with its production."

    I guess in this sense this is talking about how everything is death from a certain view.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Does anyone have any knowledge of how this discomfort can be alleviated, or what could be done to "get through" it?

    Advice here
    http://kundalini-gateway.org/ksigns.html

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited August 24

    OP, go on amazon.com, and buy the book, "Living With Kundalini", by Gopi Krishna. You've had an awakening of the Kundalini energy. You're describing a fairly classic case of it. You'll understand it much better after reading the book. You say, pain in the abdomen? Would that be in the general area of the solar plexus, the upper abdomen?

    There's nothing you can do about it. All you can do, is wait for it to run its course, and hope that it does. For some people, they're left with something like a tingling in the spine for the rest of their lives. But it can give you tremendous intuition, there can be light or vision phenomena that accompany it (do you see anything unusual when you close your eyes?), and other symptoms.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Wherever there is something "else," there will be a problem.
    Wherever there is nothing else, there will be a problem.
    What's the problem?
    Exercise patience and courage and watch.
    Or, as a teacher once instructed me, "Forgetaboutit."

  • Thanks for that, Lobster. Tomorrow, I shall have a look (it's now time for sleep).
    Q.

  • @Dakini said:
    OP, go on amazon.com, and buy the book, "Living With Kundalini", by Gopi Krishna. You've had an awakening of the Kundalini energy. You're describing a fairly classic case of it. You'll understand it much better after reading the book. You say, pain in the abdomen? Would that be in the general area of the solar plexus, the upper abdomen?

    There's nothing you can do about it. All you can do, is wait for it to run its course, and hope that it does. For some people, they're left with something like a tingling in the spine for the rest of their lives. But it can give you tremendous intuition, there can be light or vision phenomena that accompany it (do you see anything unusual when you close your eyes?), and other symptoms.

    Dakini, I appreciate your comments and the information about the book. I shall certainly try to get hold of it. Something about what you say resonates with me as being very relevant. With regard to seeing things before the eyes, a week or two ago, I had kept up the attention on the rise and fall of the abdomen for about three hours (I think). This was while lying in bed. Now, I know that odd lights can appear sometimes, anyway (i.e. for no cause that one can tell). However, after that time had passed, suddenly, there was a group of three bright, white lights on "the screen", and fairly close together. They were about the size of large grapes. They lasted for about two or three seconds, before merging into a single, much larger patch of light, which was not as bright as the three, but which filled nearly (but not all) of the "screen". Then all lights faded, and there was just the dark screen of closed eyes. I'm telling you this only because you asked.

    With regard to the pain running its course — on the days when it does not manifest, I'm just appreciative of that fact. When it does manifest, I just watch it with a stoical attitude. After all, there's no alternative, in any case.
    Q.

  • @Carameltail said:

    Astral travelling is based on 'illusions' (and not just your simple 'run of the mill' illusion) and some very harmful indeed. That's why its best not to engage with that sort of thing or related.

    Hey, friend, I didn't say that I practiced, or tried to practice, astral travelling! What I said was that my teacher was able to do that. He certainly was not "fishy", either. He was the real McCoy! Nor did he make much of his ability to visit people invisibly. That just came out in conversation about a holiday I intended to take, with my family. He said that he would come and spend a day with us. Since he also held down a full-time job and was busy in his leisure time with teaching, he could not possibly have meant that literally (i.e. a physical visit). Nor did he visit, in a physical sense. My wife agreed that he could only have meant an invisible (astral-type) visit. His main concern was with awakening and teaching meditation and what to do with certain experiences. One of the best (if not THE best).
    Q

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 25

    One of the best (if not THE best).

    Who is your teacher? Do they have a web site? What solution are they providing?

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited August 25

    A physical problem through meditation

    ....and another phenomenon will soon take it's place, such is "change"....It's nothing special :)

    When it comes to meditation.....

    "Ours is not to reason why...Just to let the self(and all its junk) pass by "

    Hmm well something like that :)

  • @lobster said:

    One of the best (if not THE best).

    Who is your teacher? Do they have a web site? What solution are they providing?

    Lobster,
    Question 1: you have not read my original post carefully enough.
    Question 2) There is no website.
    Question 3) The answer to this question follows naturally.
    Kind regards,
    Q.

    P.S. I think that you and Dakini have provided helpful information (for which, I'm very grateful), so I shall chase this up (website and book), when I am able to. This has not been possible yet.

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing great lakes Veteran

    @Quandarius
    Tummo ! Like Tummy! haha i never noticed that, well done. Tummy heat.

    Drawing prana up/down is easy, it will follow your focus / awareness. I think the understanding that the "kundalini is a coiled snake" is another emphasis on going gradually region by region because we're uncoiling a snake, too quickly and she may bite.

Sign In or Register to comment.