Muscles in head

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Muscles in head

Post by nem » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:55 am

Hello all.

When beginning my meditation practice, I had much success in focusing on the sensation of the breath at the nostrils and was making progress with focus on the breath. Over time, I began to accidently gain what I would consider control over the muscles within the head and the sinuses, to the point where now when I meditate, I cannot feel the sensation of the breathe anywhere except the throat, and the nostrils seem totally numb to air. Because the position of the head muscles is distracting. It is as if, I need to align the muscles in the head before relaxing, and my ears will even pop. So, my meditation has lead nowhere for months since I lost the ability to focus at the nostrils because of tension in the muscles of the head and changes in the sinuses. I have no cold or sinus problem, and the muscles that I am feeling are perhaps behind the eyes and I'm not even sure if such a thing even exists or I'm imagining it. So I am not sure what to do. Now, no matter how hard I try, there remains this urge to align some mysterious muscles behind the nose or eyes, and to make my ears pop before I can move toward focus at the tips of the nostrils.

Does anyone have a similiar experience and/or solution?

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Re: Muscles in head

Post by Reductor » Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:17 am

I'm not sure about muscles, but I do know that the back of the throat is as good a place to rest your focus as any other place. If you really cannot feel the nostrils, but can comfortably focus at the throat, then focus there instead. Leave this muscle business behind.

If in the future something changes again, and you can not feel at the throat but can instead feel somewhere else, then that will also be fine.

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Re: Muscles in head

Post by santa100 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:21 pm

Let the breaths flow in and out naturally. Simply follow the breath without forcing it..

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Re: Muscles in head

Post by daverupa » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:43 pm

Try not focusing on the sensation of air at the nostrils or mouth, nor at the sensation of movement at the abdomen. Instead, recognize that the breath is a body flex, which dovetails into the first tetrad of anapanasati. Here, the attempt to calm kaya-sankhara has a different overall sense than any form of minute focus on this or that percept, which does lead to tension (it is, itself, a form of tension, so that it should foment tension elsewhere is to be expected).

I recommend not even making an attempt to calm the breath - just notice the breath amongst the rest of the body, and calm intention with respect to that.

  • "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: Muscles in head

Post by marc108 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:09 pm

a lost all sensation in my nose a few years ago due to allergies... at the time i had been using the nose for meditation for quite a while, so it was a pretty traumatic event for my meditation at the time. i learned after some research, talk with my teacher, and experimentation that you dont need to use the nose... it really doesn't matter if you use a point of physical contact at all.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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