new and strange experience

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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new and strange experience

Post by robb82 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:27 am

hello everyone, i'm robb. i've been practicing now for almost a year, but where i live has no buddhist community (at least not one that i know of) so i haven't been able to find people around here to talk to about things that come up in my practice, much less a qualified teacher, so i'm hoping some of you will be able to help me. now to the point, a few days ago, i was seated in meditation, and the session was going quite well as far as my focus and concentration is concerned. i was very relaxed and mindful of my breath, and about ten to fifteen minutes after i sat down, i experienced an odd sensation, one i had never experienced before. it was a feeling that my body was bending and twistng, like it was folding up on itself. I was absently observing the sensation, there was no pain, and it was not a joyous sensation, just a neutral feeling. i felt disconnected from my body and the sensation. i found it all very strange, and i'm still having alot of difficulty finding words to describe it exactly. just that it felt like i was twisted up, my body was like a string being tied up in a series of knots and loops. i stayed with it for a few minutes, maybe 3 or 4. i had a "feeling", again i don't have the right word, that if i stayed with this sensation, and " pushed thru it" that there was something important, maybe even wonderful, just on the other side of the sensation. but i was so excited by what was happening that i began to lose my focus and found it almost impossible to remain mindful. so.... i'm hoping maybe someone could give me some insight as to exactly what it was i experienced. and also, i would greatly appreciate anyone who could direct me to someone who could act as a teacher that i could correspond with via email. i'm from the southern u.s. and buddhist seem to be few and far between in this area so finding a teacher and community here has been a bit disheartening

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Re: new and strange experience

Post by Ben » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:41 am

Hi Robb

I've experienced something very similar to this numerous times, as have many of my co-practitioners. What you are experiencing is a tactile hallucination. I experience it because my main meditation technique is vedananupassana: a form of vipassana which is the observation of sensation. From time to time it plays havoc with one's own internal visual and tactile map of where we store memories of where our bodies and their parts in relation to sensations that we perceive. I'm not sure whether you are practicing a form of vipassana or samatha, but for my friends who are doing vipassana, I usually advise to just maintain awareness and equanimity. It is, just phenomena rising and falling, something else to observe and not be attached to.
kind regards

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: new and strange experience

Post by Shonin » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:47 am

Hi Robb,

Ben is right. It's a kind of illusion - a kind of distortion of the body image - and I've experienced this kind of thing too. I would suggest not getting distracted or fascinated by the experience, but keeping your focus. It is of no consequence and it will pass.

Good luck finding a teacher.

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Re: new and strange experience

Post by PeterB » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:54 am

My own variation on the theme Robb , and it has not occurred for some time, was a feeling of physically rising and then dropping repeatedly. It passed in time.
I dont think that we need to ascribe to the idea of a literal Mara to realise that we each of us are likely to carry a degree of resistance to the arising of insight.
At some level its quite threatening and our physical organism sometimes reacts to that threat by distracting us. I am sure that there are other explanations too. Keep at it.

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Re: new and strange experience

Post by robb82 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:21 pm

thank you for your replies, i've found them quite helpful. i don't think there was anything more to it, it just felt like there was at the time it was happening. i just had no idea what had happened, that is the only time i've ever experienced such a thing. so again, thank you, and best wishes

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