What is this Numbness?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Yana
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What is this Numbness?

Postby Yana » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:19 am

Hi everyone,

When practicing Anapanasati ,i wonder is it normal .. after i get up and go about to my daily routine,i feel like there is cloudy,sort of numbness to my perceptions/thoughts/feelings etc.

You see i always had the impression that meditation makes your senses sharper.Like you just know things or have xray eyes..But i seem to be experiencing the exact opposite.

Like my head feels a bit drowsy/numb/tranquilized.
I don't know if this is a good or bad thing ..i almost feel like my senses are shutting down or not functioning as sharp as it used too. To be honest i feel like i'm half sleeping or semi conscious.Not as bad as sleep walking though.but still..

Like i can sense my breathing clearly,my body,my movements, but everything else is sort of blurred out or zoomed out.

Just to give an example:

When i had an argument with my husband instead of going like..seriously psycho..i was still upset but for some reason i felt like i was too drugged up/tranqulized to get mad and even though i was upset my attention automatically directed itself to my body temperature rising, my breathing,my heart beat, and then i felt detached so there was a lack of reasons to get angry.

Normally if my senses were sharp like they used to be,and that happened i would take it to heart and think of all the bad things that has happened to me and retaliate like quick reflex,but this numbness seems to be slowing things down for me.I feel like a turtle.A blind and deaf turtle.
And sometimes i have to poke myself harder to feel..i used to be very sensitive to touch..now it's just :|

This numbness is like a cloud over my head keeping me from taking anything to heart.I have trouble focusing on my own senses let alone let any thing get to me...don't know if it's right,i could be wrong, but according to my observation, meditation doesn't make you sensitive it makes you Not Sensitive...???

My question is what is this numbness...???
Is it a good or bad thing...??
Have you experienced this...??
Does meditation make you less sensitive??

your thoughts... :candle:
Life is preparing for Death

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Cittasanto
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:56 pm

Could it be indifference?


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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daverupa
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby daverupa » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:48 pm

I found a similar result when I practiced anapanasati with an understanding that the third and fourth steps involved a deep breath-focus. Now, I read those anapanasati lines as referring to the calming of intention with respect to bodies, rather than intentionally calming the breath-body in and of itself.

This means that, rather than dissociation - which I would experience using the breath-body version and which sounds similar to the description here (I think of it as 'cotton brain') - I instead experience a certain detachment, which is of an altogether different tenor and which makes metta and karuna easier and more... dynamically fluid in the moment, which also helps to round out the bhavana.

:heart:

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mikenz66
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:03 pm

Hi Yana,

Sounds a lot like classic "sloth and topor" hindrance to me. It's the sort of thing I've experienced when my mindfulness has not been sharp enough and consequently energy and concentration get out of balance (i.e. too much concentration, too little energy).

We have discussed some suttas on these subjects recently:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14716
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14382

but it's probably more useful to consult a good teacher or mediation manual. Actually, what Dave recommends above is probably the sort of tuning that is required.

:anjali:
Mike

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DAWN
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby DAWN » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:42 pm

Hight concentration effect.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...

Reductor
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby Reductor » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:56 pm

You seem to be describing two things: indifference on one hand and muddled alertness on the other.

I don't think your indifference to the argument is all that bad, in itself. A muddled alertness is not good, however. Consider more carefully on how much the lack of alertness and your lack of volitility are connected. Whether or not your lack of volatility is due to muddled alertness or not, you can improve your alertness by thinking more in meditation.

WHAT! Did someone just say you should think more? Yes, yes I did.

Thinking a bit about your body and its state, as well as the state of your attention to that body, is an important anitidote to sloth and torpor (which you seem to be suffering, as Mike said). So long thinking is confined to the internal dynamics of your meditation/meditation-object then there isn't a problem with it. Once you've settled inwardly and your thoughts are consistently on topic, then they can be calmed a bit.

FYI: when I finish meditating my senses very sharp indeed, and I feel inwardly clarified in a way I don't during pre-meditation times.

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mikenz66
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:16 pm


Yana
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby Yana » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:36 pm

Life is preparing for Death

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:59 pm

Yes, I've had a similar problem before. I felt stupid because when I read something my mind wasn't fluid enough to be agile in comprehension. It's as if it was stuck. I'd be interested to hear more answers to Yana's question as well as an opinion if my problem has the same causes and "cures" as Yana's.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Cittasanto
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:07 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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daverupa
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby daverupa » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:22 am


Yana
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby Yana » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:35 am

Life is preparing for Death

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:54 am

Thank you for your insight Yana! :smile:
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

Reductor
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby Reductor » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:07 am


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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:35 am

I think these replies have probably answered everything but I'd like to just add that you might be stuck, so to speak, on the first two steps of Anapanasati (contemplating long, contemplating short) when you're actually too concentrated for them. Try going for steps three and four (experiencing the body, calming the body) and you might be able to balance that concentration with the newly generated mindfulness. And then if piti and sukha arise, you can move on to those!

Good luck!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


Reductor
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby Reductor » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:55 am

Hey Yana,

I'm glad if anything I've written is helpful in any way.

I, too, focused on the breath in away that created mental tension (and tension in my eyes and head). The belief was that calming came from focusing, and that focusing was akin to the narrowing of sunlight with a magnifying-glass. But the mind doesn't work like that and all I did was make tension. Then, when I had exhausted myself from maintaining this tense alertness, I would then become a little hazy and slip a bit in my attention. This changed state developed into a dullness similar to the dull experience of near-sleep; a dullness that is calm, and relaxing, but lacking alertness to it.

In the past I considered concentration to be analogise to the concentrating of sunlight with a magnifying-glass, as I already mentioned. That is, the mind would become narrow, intense and hot. But intense and hot doesn't seem compatible with blissful, does it? Not to mention that such a narrow beam of light requires much effort to maintain (your hand might get tired of holding the glass, or the sun moves and you must follow it).

Now I offer the analogy of concentrated orange juice, if you will indulge me.

At first you begin with mild tasting juice, to which you then apply some heat. The heat evaporates the water, thereby leaving behind the essentials of orange along with a much stronger taste.

The heat is this initial thought concerned with the body and (or) breath. The thoughts and intentions related to the outside world compose the water. As the initial thoughts are applied, the water dissipates but the essentials of the mind are left behind along with a strong taste of knowing -- the inherent taste of the mind, so to speak. EDIT: Last, last, thought! I swear -- once the essentials of mind are left, we may remove the heat. In this way those essentials, like the syrup left after concentrating the juice, cease to roil and boil and instead become calm and cool.

In this sense we concentrate not by making things more narrow and intense, but by removing those things that have less value while preserving those things that have greater value.

EDIT: Last thought -- concentrated orange juice, I am sure we can all agree, is in a much more stable state than the narrow point of light we might make with the glass. And it tastes very good, too (mmmm... ever eat that frozen concentrate straight from a can -- delicious!)

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daverupa
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby daverupa » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:52 am


Yana
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby Yana » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:26 am

Thank you everyone for your helpful insights , my cotton mind is lessening :clap: :anjali:
Life is preparing for Death

pegembara
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Re: What is this Numbness?

Postby pegembara » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:40 am

If you follow Bhante Vimalaramsi's anapanasati instructions

Don't control the breath. The most important part is to notice where the tension in the body is.
When noticing any tightness or tension, the 1st place that needs to be
observed is in the head. Every thought, every movement of mind begins with
a subtle tightness or tension arising in the head. Meditators need to be aware
of this and relax on the in breath and relax on the out breath. The meditator
uses the breath as a reminder to relax.

http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/Books/ ... et-1pg.pdf
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.


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