Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and Jhana

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
J0rrit
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Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and Jhana

Postby J0rrit » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:18 pm

Hello there,

Since a few days my meditation made extreme progress. I have the feeling I have reached the 1st Jhana (sutta Jhana, not hard Jhana) but it could be I'm confusing acces concentration with Jhana. But on my way to or during first Jhana, my body shakes extreme and my head and limbs make intense movements. Expecially my jaw trembels big time (that can be due of my drug use that it's more sensitive to trembeling). These things are an expression of Piti. But I think it's rather extreme. It happens when I completely let go, so it's not that I'm doing anything that causes it, if I really let go my body can move EXTREME. I have heard of movements but nothing this extreme yet.

When I am at acces concentration/first Jhana, my jaw trembels constantly, not stopping a moment, and it feels very good, same as it does feel good when you are on drugs and your jaw trembels like that.

Could anyone tell me more about this?

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martinfrank
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Re: Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and J

Postby martinfrank » Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:29 pm

J0rrit wrote:Hello there,

Since a few days my meditation made extreme progress. I have the feeling I have reached the 1st Jhana (sutta Jhana, not hard Jhana) but it could be I'm confusing acces concentration with Jhana. But on my way to or during first Jhana, my body shakes extreme and my head and limbs make intense movements. Expecially my jaw trembels big time (that can be due of my drug use that it's more sensitive to trembeling). These things are an expression of Piti. But I think it's rather extreme. It happens when I completely let go, so it's not that I'm doing anything that causes it, if I really let go my body can move EXTREME. I have heard of movements but nothing this extreme yet.

When I am at acces concentration/first Jhana, my jaw trembels constantly, not stopping a moment, and it feels very good, same as it does feel good when you are on drugs and your jaw trembels like that.

Could anyone tell me more about this?


Are you still taking drugs... or do you mean drugs you took long time ago? Did you suddenly stop drinking alcohol a few days ago? Does the trembling happen only while you meditate? Did you ever experience epileptic fits? Are you taking any medications? Did you stop any medication a few days ago?

Please tell in detail how you meditate. 1st jhana should come as a slight relaxation with a general feeling of happiness. If you feel suddenly shot through with joy, that is piti.
The Noble Eightfold Path: Proposed to all, imposed on none.

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Sati1
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Re: Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and J

Postby Sati1 » Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:33 pm

Absorption can definitely affect the tension in your muscles. I have experienced bending of the upper body both to the left and to the right, as well as wide opening of the mouth. But in every case the motion is very slow and not accompanied by shaking.
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and J

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:53 pm

Bodom provided the quote with a useful answer in a previous thread:

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=21733#p310083
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)

J0rrit
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Re: Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and J

Postby J0rrit » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:58 pm

martinfrank wrote:
J0rrit wrote:Hello there,

Since a few days my meditation made extreme progress. I have the feeling I have reached the 1st Jhana (sutta Jhana, not hard Jhana) but it could be I'm confusing acces concentration with Jhana. But on my way to or during first Jhana, my body shakes extreme and my head and limbs make intense movements. Expecially my jaw trembels big time (that can be due of my drug use that it's more sensitive to trembeling). These things are an expression of Piti. But I think it's rather extreme. It happens when I completely let go, so it's not that I'm doing anything that causes it, if I really let go my body can move EXTREME. I have heard of movements but nothing this extreme yet.

When I am at acces concentration/first Jhana, my jaw trembels constantly, not stopping a moment, and it feels very good, same as it does feel good when you are on drugs and your jaw trembels like that.

Could anyone tell me more about this?


Are you still taking drugs... or do you mean drugs you took long time ago? Did you suddenly stop drinking alcohol a few days ago? Does the trembling happen only while you meditate? Did you ever experience epileptic fits? Are you taking any medications? Did you stop any medication a few days ago?

Please tell in detail how you meditate. 1st jhana should come as a slight relaxation with a general feeling of happiness. If you feel suddenly shot through with joy, that is piti.


No, drugs that I took a while ago. I did stop with drinking 3 days ago, but I have no tremor or shaking whatsoever, only when I meditate. Further I have had this always when I get absorbed more in the breath, but now it's far more extreme because I go deeper and deeper. I have never experienced epileptic fits. I'm taking medication, an SSRI, but I didn't stop any medications...

I meditate like this:

1. Cultivating calmness
To begin, the posture should be comfortable, upright, and open, so that the body can relax and the mind can be alert and calm.

Now cultivate an expansive awareness of the world around you, becoming aware of the surrounding space, sounds, and light. See if you can feel your awareness fill the space around you in all directions at once. Being attentive in this way creates a kind of “attentional stretch,” where the mind's bandwidth is so full of sensory data that there is little room for thinking. When intrusive thoughts do appear, you can regard them as “mindfulness bells,” calling you back to full attentiveness of your experience. This sense of spacious awareness can help bring into being a state of calm and open receptivity.

We now bring that open, calm, receptive attention into the body, noticing now how the breathing has been slowing and deepening, and taking that as a cue to become more aware of the body, noticing the sensations of the breathing (not just “the breath”) wherever they arise: front, back, sides; skin, muscles, joints, deep inside the body cavities; noticing the sensations of the breathing all over the body, even in the hands and feet.

In this way we keep our mental bandwidth full occupied, and slow the stream of thinking so that there are increasingly longer gaps between thoughts.

2. Cultivating piti
You can smile as you continue to notice the body, giving it warm, loving, reassuring signals. Appreciate any piti (pleasure, tingling, energy) that may already be present. If it’s there, give it your gentle attention. Don’t try to make anything happen, simply relax, and observe whatever happens.

As you notice the breathing all over the body, imagine that you are inhaling energy and light from the earth. Imagine this energy and light flowing upward, filling the whole body. On the out-breath, imagine this same energy flowing downward through your body as your muscles relax. Let this downward-moving energy sweep tensions down and out of the body, into the earth. If there are areas of tension or pain, let the breath flow through and around them.

From time to time notice how the energy changes the sensations in specific parts of the body, but keep coming back to a whole body awareness. If a sense of body-wide piti is becoming established, let go of any visualization and simply experience the energy and pleasure that is arising in the body.

3. Cultivating joy
Appreciate anything positive in your experience, whether it’s calmness, or a sense of relief arising from the absence of your usual mental chatter, or a heightened awareness of the body, or the presence of piti in any form. Smile! Say “thank you” in acknowledgement of any positive developments in your practice. But do this in a non-grasping way. Simply notice and appreciate the positive, without striving to make anything happen.

Imbue your experience with a sense of lovingkindness, through invoking a “loving gaze.” Notice the area of the body around the heart in particular, and let there be a sense of softness. Let yourself feel a sense of playfulness.

4. Finding a Focal Point for Your Experience
Start to notice some vivid sensation connected with the breathing — actually this time connected with the breath itself. You may notice a clear sensation in the throat, or nostrils, or (ideally) at the rims of the nostrils.

This vivid focus helps to pull the whole experience of jhana together. When we lack this, the mind tends to remain a little dull and purposeless, and our attention is inclined to wander.

5. Balancing
I suggested in email 16 that you could notice whether any of the three factors of calmness, piti, or joy were lacking. This is something that we can now assess with more precision, and with a greater understanding of what we can do to redress any imbalance. You might want to notice the balance of these factors wordlessly, or you may wish, as I suggested before, to rank each of them on a scale of one to ten (not taking that too seriously, of course). When you notice that one or more factors is underdeveloped then return to the cultivation of that factor.

I can’t guarantee, of course, that you’ll reach first jhana every time you follow these steps, and certainly can’t guarantee that it’ll happen the first time. But with repeated practice, you will almost certainly find yourself moving closer to a state of easeful concentration.

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Cittasanto
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Re: Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and J

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Sep 27, 2014 10:13 am

J0rrit wrote:Hello there,

Since a few days my meditation made extreme progress. I have the feeling I have reached the 1st Jhana (sutta Jhana, not hard Jhana) but it could be I'm confusing acces concentration with Jhana. But on my way to or during first Jhana, my body shakes extreme and my head and limbs make intense movements. Expecially my jaw trembels big time (that can be due of my drug use that it's more sensitive to trembeling). These things are an expression of Piti. But I think it's rather extreme. It happens when I completely let go, so it's not that I'm doing anything that causes it, if I really let go my body can move EXTREME. I have heard of movements but nothing this extreme yet.

When I am at acces concentration/first Jhana, my jaw trembels constantly, not stopping a moment, and it feels very good, same as it does feel good when you are on drugs and your jaw trembels like that.

Could anyone tell me more about this?

Hi J0rrit,
Something similar has happened to me, but it isn't Jhana I'm afraid.
Treat it as the Wind (movement) Element being dominant, don't attach some attainment to it, just observe it. Please see the Satipatthana Sutta section on elements.

Kind Regards
Cittasanto.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

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.
John Stuart Mill

J0rrit
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Re: Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and J

Postby J0rrit » Sat Sep 27, 2014 1:58 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
J0rrit wrote:Hello there,

Since a few days my meditation made extreme progress. I have the feeling I have reached the 1st Jhana (sutta Jhana, not hard Jhana) but it could be I'm confusing acces concentration with Jhana. But on my way to or during first Jhana, my body shakes extreme and my head and limbs make intense movements. Expecially my jaw trembels big time (that can be due of my drug use that it's more sensitive to trembeling). These things are an expression of Piti. But I think it's rather extreme. It happens when I completely let go, so it's not that I'm doing anything that causes it, if I really let go my body can move EXTREME. I have heard of movements but nothing this extreme yet.

When I am at acces concentration/first Jhana, my jaw trembels constantly, not stopping a moment, and it feels very good, same as it does feel good when you are on drugs and your jaw trembels like that.

Could anyone tell me more about this?

Hi J0rrit,
Something similar has happened to me, but it isn't Jhana I'm afraid.
Treat it as the Wind (movement) Element being dominant, don't attach some attainment to it, just observe it. Please see the Satipatthana Sutta section on elements.

Kind Regards
Cittasanto.


You say it like that, but this happens when I get really concentrated and let really eveything completely go. Than I enter a state where there is joy, happiness, directed and sustained thought and effortless concentration on the breathing.

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and J

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Sep 27, 2014 2:25 pm

What I gathered is that, although this is like energy/emotional blocks releasing, you only shake like that if you're still attached or still have aversion. There are many layers of leting go. It may seem that you have completely let go, but you may actualy not be aware of deeper layers.

I think giving importance to these movements is probably a mistake. Because if you do, you fall under the illusion that the movements are purifying you. But it's not the movements that purify you. It's the understanding of reality that does it. And understanding comes from the mind's insight, not the movements. Again, Ajahn Sucitto's advice (linked above) is useful.
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: Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and J

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:32 pm

J0rrit wrote:You say it like that, but this happens when I get really concentrated and let really eveything completely go. Than I enter a state where there is joy, happiness, directed and sustained thought and effortless concentration on the breathing.

As commentaries have pointed out also, the type of rapture that forms physical movement such as this is not the same as that which is meant by the jhana definition. There is still too much agitation there.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

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.
John Stuart Mill

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daverupa
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Re: Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and J

Postby daverupa » Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:34 pm

I am not a medical professional; but, this sounds like either stimulus-sensitive myoclonus or preliminary sleep myoclonus.

The meditation, as described, is either presenting the proper stimuli for this event, or the relaxation is heading into sleep and rendering it in that way. There's a myoclonus associated with the jaw as well.

This isn't piti, as far as I understand it.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Extreme shaking and movement of the head and limbs and J

Postby Passaddhi » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:40 pm

J0rrit wrote:
martinfrank wrote:
J0rrit wrote:Hello there,

Since a few days my meditation made extreme progress. I have the feeling I have reached the 1st Jhana (sutta Jhana, not hard Jhana) but it could be I'm confusing acces concentration with Jhana. But on my way to or during first Jhana, my body shakes extreme and my head and limbs make intense movements. Expecially my jaw trembels big time (that can be due of my drug use that it's more sensitive to trembeling). These things are an expression of Piti. But I think it's rather extreme. It happens when I completely let go, so it's not that I'm doing anything that causes it, if I really let go my body can move EXTREME. I have heard of movements but nothing this extreme yet.

When I am at acces concentration/first Jhana, my jaw trembels constantly, not stopping a moment, and it feels very good, same as it does feel good when you are on drugs and your jaw trembels like that.

Could anyone tell me more about this?


Are you still taking drugs... or do you mean drugs you took long time ago? Did you suddenly stop drinking alcohol a few days ago? Does the trembling happen only while you meditate? Did you ever experience epileptic fits? Are you taking any medications? Did you stop any medication a few days ago?

Please tell in detail how you meditate. 1st jhana should come as a slight relaxation with a general feeling of happiness. If you feel suddenly shot through with joy, that is piti.


No, drugs that I took a while ago. I did stop with drinking 3 days ago, but I have no tremor or shaking whatsoever, only when I meditate. Further I have had this always when I get absorbed more in the breath, but now it's far more extreme because I go deeper and deeper. I have never experienced epileptic fits. I'm taking medication, an SSRI, but I didn't stop any medications...

I meditate like this:

1. Cultivating calmness
To begin, the posture should be comfortable, upright, and open, so that the body can relax and the mind can be alert and calm.

Now cultivate an expansive awareness of the world around you, becoming aware of the surrounding space, sounds, and light. See if you can feel your awareness fill the space around you in all directions at once. Being attentive in this way creates a kind of “attentional stretch,” where the mind's bandwidth is so full of sensory data that there is little room for thinking. When intrusive thoughts do appear, you can regard them as “mindfulness bells,” calling you back to full attentiveness of your experience. This sense of spacious awareness can help bring into being a state of calm and open receptivity.

We now bring that open, calm, receptive attention into the body, noticing now how the breathing has been slowing and deepening, and taking that as a cue to become more aware of the body, noticing the sensations of the breathing (not just “the breath”) wherever they arise: front, back, sides; skin, muscles, joints, deep inside the body cavities; noticing the sensations of the breathing all over the body, even in the hands and feet.

In this way we keep our mental bandwidth full occupied, and slow the stream of thinking so that there are increasingly longer gaps between thoughts.

2. Cultivating piti
You can smile as you continue to notice the body, giving it warm, loving, reassuring signals. Appreciate any piti (pleasure, tingling, energy) that may already be present. If it’s there, give it your gentle attention. Don’t try to make anything happen, simply relax, and observe whatever happens.

As you notice the breathing all over the body, imagine that you are inhaling energy and light from the earth. Imagine this energy and light flowing upward, filling the whole body. On the out-breath, imagine this same energy flowing downward through your body as your muscles relax. Let this downward-moving energy sweep tensions down and out of the body, into the earth. If there are areas of tension or pain, let the breath flow through and around them.

From time to time notice how the energy changes the sensations in specific parts of the body, but keep coming back to a whole body awareness. If a sense of body-wide piti is becoming established, let go of any visualization and simply experience the energy and pleasure that is arising in the body.

3. Cultivating joy
Appreciate anything positive in your experience, whether it’s calmness, or a sense of relief arising from the absence of your usual mental chatter, or a heightened awareness of the body, or the presence of piti in any form. Smile! Say “thank you” in acknowledgement of any positive developments in your practice. But do this in a non-grasping way. Simply notice and appreciate the positive, without striving to make anything happen.

Imbue your experience with a sense of lovingkindness, through invoking a “loving gaze.” Notice the area of the body around the heart in particular, and let there be a sense of softness. Let yourself feel a sense of playfulness.

4. Finding a Focal Point for Your Experience
Start to notice some vivid sensation connected with the breathing — actually this time connected with the breath itself. You may notice a clear sensation in the throat, or nostrils, or (ideally) at the rims of the nostrils.

This vivid focus helps to pull the whole experience of jhana together. When we lack this, the mind tends to remain a little dull and purposeless, and our attention is inclined to wander.

5. Balancing
I suggested in email 16 that you could notice whether any of the three factors of calmness, piti, or joy were lacking. This is something that we can now assess with more precision, and with a greater understanding of what we can do to redress any imbalance. You might want to notice the balance of these factors wordlessly, or you may wish, as I suggested before, to rank each of them on a scale of one to ten (not taking that too seriously, of course). When you notice that one or more factors is underdeveloped then return to the cultivation of that factor.

I can’t guarantee, of course, that you’ll reach first jhana every time you follow these steps, and certainly can’t guarantee that it’ll happen the first time. But with repeated practice, you will almost certainly find yourself moving closer to a state of easeful concentration.


Hi j0rrit and others. Did you take these instructions from some book? If so which book is this?

Thank you! Metta for all beings.


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