Relaxation and Dissociation

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    Jorge
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    Hi all,

    I’ve been practicing for about 5 year now and have done about 9 retreats (~100 days) with the longest being 3 weeks. The styles/places includes Goenka, Shinzen, Spirit Rock, U Tejaniya, Mahasi, and Leigh Brasington.

    What I’ve been running into the past and even currently is tight and pressure in the upper part of my body. I become dissociated where it’s difficult to feel my body. For example, I have had 2 major injuries in the past and I tend to have chronic pain and discomfort. When I become dissociated I can’t feel those injuries. I also notice that alertness is also very prevalent. It wasn’t until this last retreat in the summer that I realized that what may be occurring is that I am having a trauma response which is due to chronic stress while growing up.

    Now, up until 3 weeks ago I was sitting around 10-25 minutes and they haven’t been fun and have been leaving me stressed. So I decided to try something different. I decided to do the TMI instructions as best as I could with out skipping steps or trying to jump ahead. My sits starting being longer from 30 minutes once a day to around 50 minutes without much problem ONLY if I focus on relaxing and letting things do what they need to do. MEaning letting monkey mind be there and mind wandering occur…

    So this is how I relax: I intentionally start taking deep breaths without forcing them. I do this so often during the sit to help me gauge if I’m relaxed or not. One thing that I use as a gauge is if my chest pops when doing a deep inhale. Has anyone noticed this? I also don’t force myself to sit super erect but not to slack either. I also noticed that if my breath becomes VERY shallow that this is usually a sign that I am forcing

    What I do notice is when I start a sit is that monkey mind is very noticeable. It’s all over the place with the micro movements. So I let that be there and I also let myself wander off. When awareness arises I either open my eyes or go back to noticing sensory experiences.

    It almost seems that I am learning to not shake the “snow globe” so things settle down on their own. At the end of todays sit I noticed a significant diminishment in this. The was much more stability and I was relaxed as well. I didn’t feel so tight in my mind or body. One thing that I tell myself is when I come out of a story is “wait, now it’s time to wait to get lost again or get distracted”.

    I would like some feedback because I think I’m approaching this properly.
    1) Relax and keep tabs on tension in the mind and body
    2) Let things do what they need to do, let monkey mind be there, let myself wander off and start again when I come back
    3) I think basically what I’m seeing is that it’s letting the mind stabilize on it’s own with some guidance.

    I would like peoples feed back and I do know this is a bit of a long post…

    thanks!

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