Tipping backwards and Nimatta

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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Tipping backwards and Nimatta

Post by budo » Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:42 pm


I have a few questions regarding what's happening with my meditation, I wanted to know if this happens to others, and if any advice can be given.

When I meditate, and my body starts to calm down, and I "let go" of control, my head starts tipping backwards, and then my body starts tipping backwards. If I am on my bed, and do not control my body then I will tip over backwards onto my back. This happens in full lotus and half lotus. So now I can only meditate on the floor, however sometimes when I meditate on the floor, my head will still tilt all the way back and if I open my eyes I will be looking at the ceiling. Should I control my head or not? This does not happen all the time.

As for my second experience, lately I think I have been getting the nimatta. When I am in the beautiful breath stage, when my breath is very smooth, subtle and calm, it feels very easy to handle, I start to get the glow effect, or warming effect. When the glow becomes stronger and stronger, my body starts to feel energy and gets excited, because it gets excited it's hard to stay calm, the breath starts to get heavier again and not so subtle and calm, which makes the nimatta go away. Will my body eventually stop getting excited if I see the nimatta more and more?

The third thing that happens, when the nimatta is strong, I start to get strong energy in my crotch area, like as if I am about to have a boner, I don't know why this happens, maybe it's part of the excitement.

My fourth question is, in the book "Anapanasati Secrets" by Buddhadassa he says to create images and then change the images in your mind to get to the nimatta. Should you "Create" the nimatta? Isn't that effort? or should the nimatta come by itself? I can only get calm if I put in no effort, if I start putting in effort then its harder to be calm.

Thanks for your help.

Energy flows where attention goes

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Re: Tipping backwards and Nimatta

Post by bodom » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:06 pm

While I don't have any personal experience concerning the tipping over of the body during sitting meditation, I did just read a passage from Mahaboowa concerning this problem:

Those who practise bhāvanā should keep their attention and interest entirely
on their parikamma word while sitting in the practice of parikamma
bhāvanā. They should not be concerned about the way they are sitting after
they have initially set their sitting posture correctly. For while they are doing
their meditation practice, defining and paying close attention to whatever
practice they are doing, the body may lean forward or backwards, to the right
or to the left to some extent, because at that time they have lost all interest in
the body and their interest is entirely focused on the practice. So even if the
body does lean a bit this way or that, the citta should not lean away from the
support (ārammaṇa) of the bhāvanā — this is the way to succeed well. Because
the goal which they are truly aiming for is to be found in the bhāvanā. But if
the citta is anxious about the body all the time, afraid that it is leaning this
way or that, the attention of the citta will be diverted from the parikamma
bhāvanā word. Then it is not likely to become as subtle as it should, in accordance
with the ability of each individual’s citta. They will then not be able
to get the citta to do its duty up to the maximum of which each individual is
capable at that time.

Therefore they should not be concerned with the body externally. But
they should instead be attending closely to the bhāvanā word alone, until the
citta becomes calm and is able to know all the causes and results concerning
oneself which are relevant to the main purpose of what one is doing.
Furthermore, when the citta becomes calm, concentrates together and
goes down into “bhavaṅga” (where one reaches a state of complete rest without
any sense of anything external such as the body), and then withdraws and
rises out of it, and one sees that the body has leaned over this way or that in
various positions, one should not feel any doubt or concern about the body
not being straight and upright as one has set it up before starting. For concern
about the body and about the heart will not only create disturbance for the
citta which does not yet know what its duty should be, but the results which
one should get at that time will not appear and all that one will be left with
is trouble between the body and heart when one does bhāvanā, without being
aware of it. Therefore one should keep this in mind from the time when one
starts to do bhāvanā.
http://www.forestdhammabooks.com/book/2/Patipada/13.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Hope this helps.

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo

With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5

"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

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Re: Tipping backwards and Nimatta

Post by budo » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:11 pm

Thank you bodom
Energy flows where attention goes

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Re: Tipping backwards and Nimatta

Post by rowyourboat » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:13 pm

Hi Budo

I have had my head tipping back wards (but not my body). I suppose leaning against something might be a way forward. The head tipping in itself is not a proble (sore neck? :tongue: ), but you samadhi seems good so dont stop now!

Dont get excited by the nimitta- in fact it might be helpful to intentionally 'chill out' and calm the 'background' of your mind- perhaps by saying something to the effect of 'relax'. Just note that all phenomena including nimittas are impermanent- nothing to get excited about.

It is possible that you might not progress beyond this point if you continue to become exicted by what is happening. Regardless of whatever happens often it is best to stay with the breath and not go sight-seeing. :smile:

with metta

With Metta

& Upekkha

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Re: Tipping backwards and Nimatta

Post by andre9999 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:15 pm

Shouldn't your head be tipped slightly forward during sitting meditation?

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Re: Tipping backwards and Nimatta

Post by Reductor » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:55 pm

I experience similar things on a regular basis. Usually, when I complete my meditation, I will be all contorted: head looking left, shoulders turned to the right, and the whole contraption of my body leaning backward and to the right. It must be a funny sight.

But I learned that so long as the body is in the right position for me to gather concentration, then it didn't matter what happened later. Just stay on the breath. If you experience a body nimitta like heat in the crotch, then maybe you should move your attention back to the breath, or a part of your body not connected with the crotch.

Remember, as has been said, that all of this is conditioned and so it will change. If you experience it enough, then you'll eventually see it for what it is: unreliable. If you consider these experiences as mere signs of what the mind is doing, they serve a purpose, like a mirror. If you get concerned with their presence or absence, then you'll suffer.

As for Buddhadasa's advice all I can say is that if it interests you, then follow with that advice and see if it yields the benefits he attributes to such practices. That's the only way that you will know anything about them.

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