Piti arising earlier in practice?

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Kim L Kim L 6 days, 11 hours ago.

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    Profile photo of Kim L
    Kim L

    I have been praticing at stage 4 for quite a while now and seem to be experiencing what is described as meditative joy.

    My body starts swinging side to side, first gently but can quickly become pretty violent. Sometimes it twists violently and my arms want to flail around.
    I get a stupid grin on my face, my head pulls backwards often and stretches my throat. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I cough, sometimes I laugh, sometimes my body goes into a ‘breath of fire’ kind of hyperventilation but it feels very controlled, my belly pulls in rhythmically with the breath and it can become very fast sometimes. Then it suddenly stops, I breath in deeply en there is often a ‘moment of peace’ after where my body can just sit still and the inner turbulence has ceased for a bit.
    Sometimes there are feelings or emotions that are identifiable, but often it just seems to be energy.

    I also get it when doing walking meditation but I think because of the movement it doesn’t cause the bodily reactions. I’m walking in nature and I get this perpetual grin on my face and joy is coursing through me, sometimes I have to cry because of it. Because of the feeling of being so joyful just walking by myself, alone, in nature and feeling so connected.

    It get particularly “voilent” when I’m doing metta meditation, I can feel pretty intense feelings of joy and love doing that practice and my body gets a little violent because of it to the point that I can’t really focus anymore sometimes.

    I must say that I have been through some traumatic experiences not too long ago, I don’t know if this is related.

    This has been going on for months now.
    My practice is now 1 hour of sitting meditation in the morning, 20-40 minutes of metta in the evening and often 30-60 minutes of walking meditation.
    I have added mindful hatha yoga to my practice though I have not yet seen any impact of it on the bodily reactions in my meditation.

    I am just wondering if there is an explanation for this arising at this point in my practice and what it means. I also wonder if I should stick to the stage 4 instructions or do something else? I notice that when I start doing an active bodyscan, often the physical reactions die down a lot.

    • This topic was modified 6 days, 23 hours ago by Profile photo of Kim L Kim L.
    • This topic was modified 6 days, 23 hours ago by Profile photo of Kim L Kim L.
    Profile photo of Blake Barton
    Blake Barton

    Hi Kim,

    I have had a similar experiences with the premature arising of piti, in stage 3 or 4. Culadasa explained this as a partial unification of mind. Different minds and bodies respond differently to the practice. Even though some of the sensations can be unpleasant, try to let go of the aversion as best you are able.

    One practice that has helped me is when these sensations start to arise let go of attention to the meditation object, and have the intention to notice any body sensations that occur prior to the movements. The effect may be similar to what you are noticing with the body scanning practice.

    I have also benefited from a spinal breathing pranayama exercise prior to meditation to smooth out the energy flow.


    I also recommend reviewing stages 7 and 8 in The Mind Illuminated for more information.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Blake – Dharma Treasure Teacher

    Profile photo of Kim L
    Kim L

    Thank you Blake,

    I have read your link and will try the breathing before my next meditation session.
    The sensations begin in my lower belly and side body, going to them with my attention does not change the way my body reacts to it.
    Today doing a body scan also did nothing to lessen the bodily reactions so perhaps that was just incidental.

    I try to be equanimous towards the experience and most of the time its not really unpleasant. I was just wondering if it required another type of approach since piti usually arises in later stages of practice.

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