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A new development in meditation practice

QuandariusQuandarius Explorer Explorer

Hello! I am hoping that someone is experienced enough to comment usefully on something that has been happening for several weeks in my daily meditation practice (such as it is).

In this forum, in a much earlier post, I was asking if anyone could help me with physical pains in the body (mostly, in the centre of the torso, and which seemed to be centred in a plexus of nerves in the spine, but which also affected the abdomen). To go back many, many years (I am quite an old man, now), this happened when there was a sudden kind of kensho experience. This was far too complex to describe to others (there was a kind of an awakening experience), but the essential thing, as far as I was concerned, was that, afterwards, it seemed as if someone had given me a almighty PUNCH in the abdomen/solar plexus. After this, I suffered from pockets of "wind" in the abdomen, from a feeling of indigestion and heartburn, and it made my life a misery. One of my teachers said that "there had been too sudden a connection" (whatever that meant). He also said that he thought I had seen the Clear Light.

After some time had passed, I stopped attending (for reasons that must remain private) at the centre that my teacher ran, and life settled into a boring, commonplace pattern. I still was interested in finding a spiritual path, but felt that I had totally lost the chance of making any spiritual progress (whatever that phrase may mean). I mean, I know myself far to well to think that I would ever be a saint! And the prospect of going into states of deep meditation, without the support of a teacher, frightened me to death (I remembered, very vividly, some of the things that had occurred all those years ago, and feared "getting out of my depth"). However, the practice that I followed (and still follow) now seemed to be a waste of time. Nothing ever happened. (The practice was simply to observe the rise and fall of my abdomen, in breathing.) This went on for years and years.

However, a few months ago, I noticed that, during the practice session, a sensation started occasionally to make itself felt. It was as if a nerve-passage down my back became "activated". To use a crude analogy, it was the sort of feeling that one might have if someone had put their finger on an exquisite itch, and had started to scratch it. One might well say, "Oh, go on, go on!" Or one might describe it as being rather like an erotic sensation, even though it had no sexual connotation. (Words are very poor tools.)

This carried on over several weeks. However, about two weeks ago, it was as if the "current" had gone so far down the spine (or down my back, anyway) that it had finally reached the nerve-plexus at about the height of my abdomen/solar plexus, and in my spine, where all my pain seemed to stem from. One day, it was as if the "floor" of my torso had collapsed into my abdomen (i.e. that a kind of barrier had been broken through). There was great peace and relaxation, my breathing became deep and regular, and there seemed to be currents of healing from the spinal nerve plexus, into my torso (which, normally has felt a great deal of discomfort over the years). I expected this to be repeated the next session, but it did not happen. However, a couple of days later, something very similar happened again, and my abdomen started to writhe, just like an animal in pain — quite spontaneously. However, there was no pain whatever. All I did was to sit and observe what was happening. There was no pain, no emotion was felt, but it did feel good! This has happened perhaps ten times since then, and I feel that there has been a very big change in my practice. Sometimes, there is this "descent" into the centre of my being even when I am watching the news on the television. It is now as if, without my doing anything except attend to my breathing, this "opening" occurs spontaneously. And it is as if a "hole" "appears" somewhere near the navel, and that there can be an "entry" in some way, into the lower part of my body (below the rib-cage).

Later, when lying down, there came about a dozen deep, "dry" sobs. There was no emotion in this - there was just this release from deep down. And then I slept.

What I should like to ask is: how ought one to proceed? There does not seem to be anything "spiritual" in what happens! It has not changed me in any way. And I feel that, with further, more prolonged attention to the breathing, it would go even deeper into my being.

I remember my teacher saying to me, many years ago, that it took her ten years "to reach the centre" of her being. With me (if the above is what she meant), it has taken 50 years!

I should be very grateful for some comment and advice about all this, from someone that knows what has happened.
With metta, Q.

Comments

  • 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

    Sounds to me like your Kundalini is trying to rise.

    But I could be wrong.

    The body-mind connection is a marvellous mystery. I sometimes think we should just observe, acknowledge, experience and let go.

    Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason, and nor should there be.
    We can't always put a name or rationale to it.

    "I don't know" is a marvellous phrase.

    I suspect most of us will be saying it here.... With kindness, and empathy.

    Shoshinadamcrossley
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    Can you ask that same teacher you mentioned about it?

    Quandarius
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran
    edited July 28

    A remarkable experience. I've never gone through anything similar myself, but it seems very much like some things I've read about in the field of energy healing where - as the theory goes - an energy blockage that was causing painful physical symptoms is cleared, restoring normal energy flow and causing symptoms to be alleviated, sometimes rather dramatically.

    If you wanted to look at it from this angle, I can recommend this book - Energy Healing: The Essentials of Self-Care, by Ann Marie Chiasson MD. It contains a lot of practical exercises, but also some very interesting background material.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    my breathing became deep and regular

    That is good, natural and healthy. It is a natural progression in the kind of meditation you describe.

    Any pleasurable or distracting sensations can arise from time to time. Physical sensations can be acknowledged. You can also change/improve postures. For example standing or walking meditations when distracted.

    For the kind of physical sensations described, I would do yoga asana in particular yoga nidra.

    You can discuss your physical sensations on the forum here. They are not interested in saints either ...
    https://www.treeleaf.org/

    Hope that is helpful 💗😌🙏🏽

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited July 28

    This part of what you wrote...

    @Quandarius wrote:
    One day, it was as if the "floor" of my torso had collapsed into my abdomen (i.e. that a kind of barrier had been broken through). There was great peace and relaxation, my breathing became deep and regular, and there seemed to be currents of healing from the spinal nerve plexus, into my torso (which, normally has felt a great deal of discomfort over the years). I expected this to be repeated the next session, but it did not happen. However, a couple of days later, something very similar happened again, and my abdomen started to writhe, just like an animal in pain — quite spontaneously. However, there was no pain whatever. All I did was to sit and observe what was happening. There was no pain, no emotion was felt, but it did feel good! This has happened perhaps ten times since then, and I feel that there has been a very big change in my practice.

    Reminds me somewhat of my own experiences with the deeper self of the body. Like you, I sometimes get experiences in the body, as if I am touching something warm and pulsing. It is on my back, and I can feel it at various heights when I concentrate, although it seems most comfortable around the height of my solar plexus. It is often accompanied by a wonderful feeling of peace and relaxation.

    The thing that has been the most help to me is non-resistance. Whenever I have desired anything from it it has just gone away. I just sit or sometimes lie down with it in awareness, and let it do what it does. I also had an interesting experience around not being the body.

    I have found it helpful to read Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now, which goes into quite a lot of detail about non-resistance, presence and present-moment awareness. It’s not exactly buddhist, but I have found the teaching useful and inspiring.

  • QuandariusQuandarius Explorer Explorer
    edited July 28

    @Jeffrey said:
    Can you ask that same teacher you mentioned about it?

    Unfortunately, Jeffrey, that's not possible. The two teachers that I mention died, quite a while ago.
    Q.

  • QuandariusQuandarius Explorer Explorer

    @lobster said:

    my breathing became deep and regular

    That is good, natural and healthy. It is a natural progression in the kind of meditation you describe.

    Any pleasurable or distracting sensations can arise from time to time. Physical sensations can be acknowledged. You can also change/improve postures. For example standing or walking meditations when distracted.

    For the kind of physical sensations described, I would do yoga asana in particular yoga nidra.

    You can discuss your physical sensations on the forum here. They are not interested in saints either ...
    https://www.treeleaf.org/

    Hope that is helpful 💗😌🙏🏽

    Lobster, what happened with my breathing was a one-off, unfortunately. It has not happened since — just the abdominal writhing, which continues. The muscular spasms are quite powerful. Also, many recurrences of the "erotic" sensation, which just happen spontaneously, even before practice starts. It's important to note that this is not really an erotic sensation. This is the only way that I would describe it to anyone. (Equally, I might say that it's like the flavour of black "spanish", but it's not a taste, either.) I can't describe it adequately. However, it seems to manifest (is this the correct word?) in the very centre of my being, like a thin, thin core or wire that runs down through my being. Now, it's not felt in my back, but in the region of the solar plexus and down into the abdomen. It seems to draw me in to it.

    I do do yoga asanas (just a few). I shall look up the one that your recommend (yoga nidra). Thanks!

    With regard to sainthood, I'm afraid that this is another instance of words being misleading. OF COURSE I should never set out to be a "saint" - I just try to live in the best way (from a Buddhist point of view) possible. In my view, I'm a thoroughly ordinary bloke. However, I am so ordinary, and so riddled with faults (among them, a predisposition to impatience and annoyance) that, sometimes, I fear that I may run into trouble (in some unspecified way) in my meditation, because I am not "pure" enough or "kind" enough. Perhaps you cannot imagine how an early sectarian "religious" upbringing can influence your attitudes and outlook, for all the rest of your life.
    Best,
    Q.

  • QuandariusQuandarius Explorer Explorer

    @Kerome said:
    This part of what you wrote...

    @Quandarius wrote:
    One day, it was as if the "floor" of my torso had collapsed into my abdomen (i.e. that a kind of barrier had been broken through). There was great peace and relaxation, my breathing became deep and regular, and there seemed to be currents of healing from the spinal nerve plexus, into my torso (which, normally has felt a great deal of discomfort over the years). I expected this to be repeated the next session, but it did not happen. However, a couple of days later, something very similar happened again, and my abdomen started to writhe, just like an animal in pain — quite spontaneously. However, there was no pain whatever. All I did was to sit and observe what was happening. There was no pain, no emotion was felt, but it did feel good! This has happened perhaps ten times since then, and I feel that there has been a very big change in my practice.

    Reminds me somewhat of my own experiences with the deeper self of the body. Like you, I sometimes get experiences in the body, as if I am touching something warm and pulsing. It is on my back, and I can feel it at various heights when I concentrate, although it seems most comfortable around the height of my solar plexus. It is often accompanied by a wonderful feeling of peace and relaxation.

    The thing that has been the most help to me is non-resistance. Whenever I have desired anything from it it has just gone away. I just sit or sometimes lie down with it in awareness, and let it do what it does. I also had an interesting experience around not being the body.

    I have found it helpful to read Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now, which goes into quite a lot of detail about non-resistance, presence and present-moment awareness. It’s not exactly buddhist, but I have found the teaching useful and inspiring.

    Kerome, thanks for your interesting input. I do occasionally dip into Tolle's books, including The Power of Now. They have a very reassuring effect. I suspect that the region you refer to ("level with the solar plexus") and the region that I also refer to ("a nerve plexus in the spine") are actually chakras, not just clusters of nerves. However, this is just guesswork.
    Best,
    Q.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Quandarius said:
    Kerome, thanks for your interesting input. I do occasionally dip into Tolle's books, including The Power of Now. They have a very reassuring effect. I suspect that the region you refer to ("level with the solar plexus") and the region that I also refer to ("a nerve plexus in the spine") are actually chakras, not just clusters of nerves. However, this is just guesswork.
    Best,
    Q.

    Yes I have wondered about whether there is a connection with chakra’s, and have done some research into them. In the end though I haven’t been able to find a correspondence with the chakra centres as located on most of the charts you can find of them.

    I also recognise some of what you said about feeling very ordinary and being worried about not being “pure” enough or “kind” enough. I have this too sometimes, I’m under no illusions that I’m a saint in any way. My behaviour is fine, seen objectively, but I rarely go out of my way to be pure or kind. So I don’t think that’s an obstacle to these kind of sensations.

    I’ve also wondered whether this is some kind of connection to the spiritual realm through the sensation of feeling the body, some kind of a portal to enlightenment. I’ve not been able to find an answer to that... some say it is makyo, illusion.

  • QuandariusQuandarius Explorer Explorer

    @Kerome said:

    I’ve also wondered whether this is some kind of connection to the spiritual realm through the sensation of feeling the body, some kind of a portal to enlightenment. I’ve not been able to find an answer to that... some say it is makyo, illusion.

    >
    Q replies:
    From what I understand, there is no portal to enlightenment except through through being aware of the body. The Buddha said (didn't he): In this fathom-long body is the arising of the world and the ceasing of it.

    One of my teachers, many years ago, used to say that, if one was sitting in a chair and had nothing particular to do, it was very good practice to keep on being aware of one's bottom on the chair. There did not seem to be anything "spiritual" about that, but she used to repeat it often. And she was a very skilled Buddhist, take it from me! And, of course, there is the Buddhist walking practice (feeling every sensation in the feet, when walking). I suppose it is all meant to take one out of thought — out of the head, where we are for too much of the time.

    About not being "kind" (or loving) enough. I know that this is a Buddhist forum, but, in the classical Christian teaching on the way to God, one is told that what matters is, not feelings of love or kindness, but the will to be "kind", considerate etc, expressed in concrete action. There have been Christian, realised "souls" (Meister Eckhart, John of the Cross etc., so I take this as valid teaching.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Quandarius said:
    From what I understand, there is no portal to enlightenment except through being aware of the body. The Buddha said (didn't he): In this fathom-long body is the arising of the world and the ceasing of it.

    Ah, but didn’t Bodhidharma say “if you can understand the mind, all else is included.”

    I do agree with you though, presence in the body is a key process. Eckhart Tolle says so as well, in The Power of Now. Whether it is enough, without working on the mind as well, that I doubt. I think there is a role for becoming aware of mental structures such as the ego.

  • QuandariusQuandarius Explorer Explorer

    @Fosdick said:
    A remarkable experience. I've never gone through anything similar myself, but it seems very much like some things I've read about in the field of energy healing where - as the theory goes - an energy blockage that was causing painful physical symptoms is cleared, restoring normal energy flow and causing symptoms to be alleviated, sometimes rather dramatically.

    If you wanted to look at it from this angle, I can recommend this book - Energy Healing: The Essentials of Self-Care, by Ann Marie Chiasson MD. It contains a lot of practical exercises, but also some very interesting background material.

    Thanks for your comments, Fosdick. I don't know how it happened that I did not see your posting earlier. When it's convenient, I shall look at the book you mention.
    Best,
    Q.

  • QuandariusQuandarius Explorer Explorer

    @Kerome said:

    @Quandarius said:
    From what I understand, there is no portal to enlightenment except through being aware of the body. The Buddha said (didn't he): In this fathom-long body is the arising of the world and the ceasing of it.

    Ah, but didn’t Bodhidharma say “if you can understand the mind, all else is included.”

    I do agree with you though, presence in the body is a key process. Eckhart Tolle says so as well, in The Power of Now. Whether it is enough, without working on the mind as well, that I doubt. I think there is a role for becoming aware of mental structures such as the ego.

    Yes of course, Kerome, one needs to do work on one's attitudes etc., and to be very observant about one's responses to situations as they arise.
    Q.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    just the abdominal writhing, which continues. The muscular spasms are quite powerful.

    If the mind continually has strong persistent arisings, we would return to the breath. The same goes for physical arisings, which can be best dissipated in a physical practice. Walking meditation, prostrations, Tibetan 5 rites, walking meditation or a secondary practice as already suggested.
    https://tinyurl.com/yyyh7kwb

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