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Disturbed sleep after meditation anyone?

ToshTosh Veteran
edited March 2010 in Meditation
I've been meditating for about 6 or 7 months now, and although I know I shouldn't judge my meditation, it's difficult not to.

Anyway, last night I meditated just prior to going to bed; the meditation felt (it's tough to describe) deeper, less chatter going on in my head, almost touching blissful and everything was great.

However, once in bed I couldn't sleep, I eventually got up to read, then much later went back to bed and slept and had a crazy dream which I still remember, and I either don't usually dream, or I don't remember if I do; and I never usually have any problems with sleep.

Now it wouldn't bother me if it did, but I'm just wondering if meditation can affect your sleep?

Comments

  • DeshyDeshy Veteran
    edited January 2010
    I have never reached blissful levels in meditation to give you a personal experience on this but it's there in my meditation handbook that the monk could not sleep for weeks after he came out of jhana experiences. They are such peak levels of mindfulness that when you get out of them you are so energized, refreshed and awake. It seems that the body doesn't need sleep
  • jinzangjinzang Veteran
    edited January 2010
    The sense of excitement over having achieved something certainly can.
  • edited January 2010
    Tosh,

    Very often just before an insight (or even a breakthrough) of some kind, there would be an energy build up, and it would disturb my sleep along with giving me erratic dreaming.

    I don’t know if this was a tension build up, coming out of wanting/longing to know so badly, or wanting to progress. But, it happened a number of times to me over the years.

    Also, sometimes it takes a while to realize what has happened, the change. It may appear within your life as an altered attitude towards things in general, or in the way you don’t fall into emotional thinking quite so easily. It may reveal itself very slowly to you, like a whisper.

    This is a subtle adventure. ; ^ )

    Peace,
    S9
  • ToshTosh Veteran
    edited January 2010
    Hi guys, thanks for your replies. But on reflection maybe I was exaggerating a little when I said it was nearly blissful, but then again maybe it was? Its hard to tell. Meditating since hasn't been the same, but maybe that's because I've been trying to hard to repeat the experience; which I know isn't good.

    And thanks S9, yes I do think my attitude has altered somewhat; I'm immersed in Buddhist books, mp3 lessons, and I've recently visited a Sangha (a tough looking Tibetan Monk shouted at me "Remove your shoes! That's your first lesson", which I thought was funny. I'm definitely calmer, and kinder towards my family (being kind to 'strangers' is easy; my family is the test), and suffer with less anxiousness.

    I'm enjoying the subtle journey, though I'm not yet a subtle person!
  • edited January 2010
    Hi again Tosh,

    T: I'm enjoying the subtle journey, though I'm not yet a subtle person!

    S9: You know actually, we as a species (AKA spiritual beings) are far more subtle than the stumbling/bumbling person we usually identify our selves as being. ; ^ )

    I read somewhere that we pick things up in our environment, which are so seemingly subliminal. That if (lets say) a person were to hold his smile a fraction of a second to short; we would notice this and not completely trust his smile. We might not even realize why we didn’t trust his smile, consciously, but nevertheless what we felt would be based upon factual evidence.

    In this same way, we are seeing in a more ‘Spiritual way’ (some call it intuition) all of the time, and changing perhaps in equally small increments because of this. Yet over time, it adds up. So that a ‘breakthrough’ may actually come down to that 'last straw' being thrown on a pile of evidence, and finally causing it to collapse into greater wisdom seen consciously as a sudden event. But was it?

    T: But on reflection maybe I was exaggerating a little when I said it was nearly blissful.

    S9: "Bliss" is something little understood by many. I believe this is because we have such expectations about what it must be.

    We think that bliss will be over the top, almost a sexual type ecstasy, and yet we are told that it is beyond the mind. So would mental descriptions be adequate to describe bliss? I think not.

    Again this is bliss is subtle, like complete satisfaction without any reasons to back it up…(AKA "Suchness"), and yet definitely Present.

    So of course on looking back, your mind might very well not trust what you felt. Mind has trouble trusting what it can't understand, and can't easily understand what it can't define. You don’t necessarily have to believe mind’s take on it.

    My advice would be to put the idea of bliss on the back burner, and simply trust that in time you will grow into it. You will. : ^ )


    T: Meditating since hasn't been the same, but maybe that's because I've been trying to hard to repeat the experience; which I know isn't good.

    S9: "Trying to get it back to bliss" is a perfectly natural reaction. Trying not to try, to get it back, would simply tie you up in knots. Forgive the big kid in you that wants this, and simply see what is good about this wanting it, as it will inspire you to try harder like a carrot.

    T: I'm definitely calmer, and kinder towards my family (being kind to 'strangers' is easy; my family is the test), and suffer with less anxiousness.

    S9: Yes, I always say that intimacy is the PhD of relationships. Family can be like 2 pieces of sandpaper rubbing up against each other. It finds every little secret bump on us and rubs it off. HE/HE/HE

    Keep on/keeping on,
    S9
  • edited January 2010
    First of all, we all always have dreams when we sleep averagely about 3-4.
    And I have achieved bliss before and that alone could keep you awake.
    I have also noticed that I usually have more energy and a greater sense of awareness after meditation.
    More energy both physically and mentally.
    +The being more aware would also keep you awake.
    Being more conscious.
    Don't focus on any of the negative aspects, keep meditating.
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited January 2010
    Tosh wrote: »
    almost touching blissful and everything was great
    This seems to be the problem.
  • edited January 2010
    What is?
  • RichardHRichardH Veteran
    edited January 2010
    baldmonkey wrote: »
    What is?

    Having a great meditation experience that almost touches blissfull is disturbing. This description sounds like the grasping of conditions. I was trained that there is no such thing as a right or wrong condition in meditation. Period.

    "Its not about having an experience, but knowing whatever experience is present"

    ....whether its "bliss" or a sore knee.
    When beginning practice it can be up and down. There are "good" meditations and "bad" meditations. Both are disturbing. Once awareness truly settles into unconditioned receptivity, there are no bad and good meditations and there is no more disturbance.
  • edited January 2010
    Richard,

    Very well said. : ^ )

    Obviously good and bad are mind descriptions. But trying “not” to describe them may simply be a pseudo calm or purity.

    We cannot pretend to be accepting, and think that that is the same thing as actually being accepting...accepting is a kind of ‘clarity’ that grows out of understanding.

    Understanding grows out of suffering.

    Warm Regards,
    S9
  • edited February 2010
    hmm... this is really interesting. i had a similar experience where i thought meditation would help me sleep, but my mind was as wild as ever afterwards. i think i was looking for meditation to cure something in me, and maybe that is incorrect in a way. obviously i want a cure, but at the same time perhaps i wasn't being accommodating enough to know what exactly needed curing.

    i think, like S9 said, that we just have to take it easy with ourselves when things don't go as planned.
  • edited February 2010
    I recently attempted meditation immediately before going to bed on two different occasions, and on both nights I had numerous vivid (easily recalled) dreams, some of which were disturbing. I couldn't help but wonder if it was connected to the evening meditation. But now looking back over the few weeks since, I see that its apparently something else because the increased dream activity has continued. And I realize that I judge a night's sleep without remembered dreams as somehow being a better, more peaceful night's sleep...which physiologically may not be true for me at all!

    I have been having more disturbed sleep for a number of years, a midlife issue I suspect, something I'm trying to adjust to rather than judge or worry about...though some days it is easier said than done, especially when feeling tired. ;)

    I have been meditating routinely in the a.m. for quite a while, and do aspire to adding an evening meditation more often. Its hard because my partner often has TV on when I'm winding down, and there isn't as much sound insulation as I'd like. Will just keep at it as I can. More is always being revealed.
  • edited March 2010
    Hi All,

    For give me if I am repeating anything as I have not read all the posts.

    The response of having vivid dreams after getting into a regular meditation habit is a normal response.

    I think the case is that one always has these dreams; however one is not aware of them. Meditation, that is, placing the awareness on yourself for regular intervals develops mindfulness of mind-objects so now you see them.

    I would consider this a benefit as you have a opportunity to learn about yourself and resolve your problems.

    If you are having disturbing dreams then maybe there are some problems that need attention and resolving.

    With Metta,
    Nori
  • edited March 2010
    Very often just before an insight (or even a breakthrough) of some kind, there would be an energy build up, and it would disturb my sleep...I don’t know if this was a tension build up, coming out of wanting/longing to know so badly, or wanting to progress

    S9, thank you, I was about to post a thread asking about this. I am relatively new to Buddhism, but have been spending a lot of time reading and practicing in the past week. I have felt more 'real' than ever before. For the past few nights I've had an extreme amount of energy before falling asleep, more energy than I've ever felt, and I just feel like running for an hour. Although I like feeling more energetic, it seems to release just before I fall asleep.
  • edited March 2010
    Rbastien,

    I don't know how many times I have heard or read of meditators putting a real push on it, and staying up all night to meditate, in order to have a breakthrough of some kind.

    Thinking that meditating all night made the breakthrough, may be mistaking the symptom of a breakthrough coming our way with a process of simply not being able at that time to sleep anyway, given the energy build up that so often proceeds such a breakthrough.

    I have actually gone to bed, and dreamed restlessly all night, only to wake up with a breakthrough firmly in place. Go figure. : ^ )

    This is, however, not to take anything away from the intensive or retreat that can sometimes do its own kind of magic. Very often an intensive will even contribute to a build up of this very energy that we are speaking about, esp. if accompanied with a strong intension, which also arrives as a gift from our Buddha Nature, and is not something we can actually control or do.

    It is more like a flower blooming in its own good time. I would imagine a flower must feel the impending energy naturally building up, just before its petals burst open. : ^ )

    Warm Regards,
    S9
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