Samatha nausea?

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Blake Barton 9 years, 9 months ago.

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    So I am going into my third year of meditation. Still following Culadasa’s method. During the day I am trying to be mindful with the focus on distinguishing nama/rupa of body sensations.

    Does anyone else here ever experience nausea during the start of samatha? Within the first five minutes of about a third of my sits, I will be hit by very strong nausea. I just ride it out and the sit goes well after that. I was just wondering if anyone else has an issue with this?


    Ivan Ganza

    Hi Mitchell,

    It is possible for many different experiences to manifest as you practice and deepen your Samatha. In a way you are kicking over the anthill and who knows what you’ll find? The fact you are experiencing the nausea is (in my opinion) a good thing. It means your digging into something deeper inside yourself, and is a sign of progress.

    Humbly suggest you don’t think of it as an issue; let the nausea be there, give it permission to be there, accept it completely, but don’t reject it. if you give it the space to be there I’m certainly eventually it will play itself out and you’ll no longer experience it.

    Let us know how it goes!

    All the best.




    Thank you for the reply. I am not really worried about the nausea, as I have experienced many strange phenomena during my first two years. My practice has settled down for the most part. I was just wandering if it was anything common.

    My theory is that I am transitioning from normal awareness to deep concentration faster than my body is prepared for. I am going to try walking meditation before my sits and see if that helps. Try to ease into it instead of jumping right into the deep end of the pool.


    Blake Barton

    Hi Mitchell,

    Culadasa has mentioned that some students tend to feel nausea as their attention stabilizes and concentration improves. He has written the following on the topic that might be helpful.

    “You may also experience intensely unpleasant energy sensations and severe pain in your chest or neck, or constantly feel like you’re falling over. There may also be dizziness, sweating, and nausea.

    While a certain amount of this is normal, when it always happens and doesn’t improve, it’s a
    sign that something is obstructing the development of physical pliancy and meditative joy. As
    we explained in the Fifth Interlude, this may be caused by the hindrances of aversion and
    agitation due to worry and remorse.

    Obstacles to physical pliancy and the bliss of physical pliancy include ill-will, irritability, anger, hatred, fear, impatience, and judgmental attitudes – including self-judgment. So are more subtle negative attitudes like willfulness, dominance, manipulativeness, and stubbornness.

    Worry, remorse, guilt, fear, and anxiety are obstacles to meditative joy and the bliss of mental pliancy. Joy cannot coexist with worry and remorse, nor can pleasure and happiness coexist with aversion and ill-will. To the degree that any of these are present, even at a subconscious level,the maturation of piti is prevented. Instead, you will experience strong and often unpleasant sensations, involuntary body movements, and painful energy movements. Episodes of physical comfort and pleasure will be all too brief and rare.

    The antidote to worry and remorse is practicing virtue and rigorously observing Right
    Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood12 in every aspect of your life. When you practice
    virtue, you can change bad habits and stop acting in ways that create the causes for worry and remorse. As much as possible, make amends for things you’ve already done or failed to do. If you can’t make amends directly, do so through acts of kindness and service to those who suffer in the ways you’ve made others suffer. Seek others’ forgiveness, and most especially, forgive yourself. When you purify your mind of the causes for worry and remorse, meditative joy can arise.”



    Hi Blake,

    That is kind of scary in its accuracy. I am going to have to sweep my condo for Dharma Treasure bugs. I guess I should have expected as much from a tradition that is thousands of years old.

    I don’t want to air my dirty laundry in public. What I usually do is just spray on a little Febreze.

    I guess it’s time to do the wash.


    Blake Barton

    Hi Mitchell,

    I am glad you found that information useful. Good luck with your practice.


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