Tightness in solar plexus and grip in the throat

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  tjansen 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Maria L

    Dear all,

    This is my first question in the forum. Gald and grateful that something like this exists!

    I started following the TMI method ca. 1 year ago. I made -I believe- relatively good progress, which I can summarise as follows:
    – I have a daily practice of 45 min, always in the morning
    – Unless particular conditions at play, I don’t forget the breath, I don’t feel any physical pain (on the contrary, I normally feel pleasure, which is one of the reasons why look forward to sit and meditate), and I don’t feel dullness (at least strong dullness, although occasionally I do feeel slightly spaced-out)
    – With distractions is much more variable: sometimes they really disappear altogether (a wonderful, peaceful feeling) , others there are a lot!

    I tried the light jhanas. I have also tried -before and in between- other meditation practices, mostly mindfulness of breathing & open awareness. I guess I’ve jumped to and fro a bit too much, so I’m lately back to basics: just resting on the breath, watching out for distractions & making sure I’m really engaging with the breath.

    Now, since a month or so, I’m feeling this tightness in the solar plexus, which make belly breathing almost impossible. If I observe this sensation, I feel that it either intensifies or it moves upwards through the chest & remains stuck in the throat. The grip in the throat can become very intense, in which case I feel traces of it during the rest of the day. Interestingly enough, as I’m writing, it sort of comes back.

    Any idea why this could be happening? Any recommendations or suggestions?

    Many thanks & kindest regards,




    I won’t be able to help you, but I am very curious what Stage you are on and where you are headed. I am always measuring my progress by the requirements for mastery of the Stage I am on, and looking to move to the next Stage to learn new skills required to continue on the path toward Stage Ten.
    Thanks, Tom


    Alex K

    Hi Maria,

    Im not able to help you with any practical advice but I wish you well in your practice.

    Kind regards,


    Maria L

    Hi, Tom,

    That’s a good question :))

    I went all the way through up to ca. stage 7, following the instructions quite precisely. I could clearly identify specific signs of progress (e.g. not forgetting, overcoming dullness, at one point it started to happen that distractions would altogether disappear for a good part of the meditation and I sort of was left there observing my mind pretty much empty of thoughts, I could also observe the acquired appearance of the breath, then I tried the whole-body jhana, I did undergo some very unusual bodily experiences, and so on). But then I also started exploring other types of meditation, and I believe I got a bit lost.

    I’m aware that I have not assimilated / internalised all of it. I can see how I’m too dependant on following instructions and, also, that the conditions of the moment are too determinant of the results. That’s why I’ve recently decided to focus exclusively on TMI and go back to basics, i.e. start all over again.

    In this second round I’m somewhere between stage 4 and 6. I do have a problem with distractions occasionally. I have to overcome the temptation of following mundane insights. My target now is to ensure that I can overcome distractions independently of the present moment conditions.



    Maria L

    Thanks, Alex, you are very kind.

    Wishing you well too.



    Blake Barton

    Hi Maria,

    I think you could be experiencing something similar to Alex. Please see my response, to him, from today.


    Best Wishes,
    Blake – DT Teacher


    Maria L

    Hi Blake,

    There are noticeable signs of pacification of the senses going on (mainly on the proprioception & visual side), so it can well be that the process of unification of mind is getting stuck. Even if I cannot think about any issue in particular, I’m sure I can do with some purification of mind; so I’ll do some loving-kindness & take up the Mindful Review.

    Many thanks,



    Hi Maria

    I know those feelings so well, I’ll tell you what I think it is for me, maybe it can help you in some way.

    In my life I’ve been alternating between the practice and running away from it when the practice make me aware of something too painful. For example I can practice for 6 months, then very bad emotions come up, or some really scary nightmare, and it’s too much, I can’t take it, I go back to all my old patterns of running away and stop practicing all at once for months.

    This feeling you are talking about is always coming back when I quit running away to go back to the practice. Actually I’m pretty sure it’s always there and the practise only makes me sensitive enough to feel it.

    For me, the plexus blocked is I think a lot of aversion for myself. From self judgment up to self hatred (about what I told you, I know I have things to take care of, I should have practiced, but the only thing I could do was run, and I think also some more old and deep emotional stuff buried inside). It translate also as judging others, feeling of superiority, aversion towards unknown/random people with no apparent reason.
    In one word, I’m sad. I have absolutely no joy, no love.
    The grip in the throat is, I’m pretty sure of it(for me at least), the tons of tears that have to get out to unburry the love that’s under. When I begin to meditate again, I start crying again. Just here talking about it caused a burst of tears. And I feel they come from that place in the throat.

    Among the things that help me liberate this is practicing metta (as instructed in TMI), talking to someone you really trust(meaning it’s OK to cry) about my life (friend or therapist), and globally trying to be gentle with myself the more I can, cause I realized I was so harsh.

    Maybe you won’t recognize yourself in what I say, but try to check it.
    I’ve been in a long retreat for a month now. And with the sensitivity augmenting, and talking to someone about myself, I realized I was clearly very hard on myself, not loving myself at all, and trying to hide it calling myself a ‘perfectionist’. And the next day I’m walking in the center, looking at people and I realized ‘OMG I’m hating everyone and I didn’t even know it…’ Like a sort of background feeling of aversion toward everyone and everything, always there, but not being sensitive enough you can miss it.

    I hope this can help you somehow. Anyway, I can only encourage you to keep on practicing, there is so much that we can’t see or understand yet but have to discover!

    [Edit] just after writing this message to you, I happened to read page 254-255 of TMI, which talk exactly about that. It’s kind of crazy how everything seems to fit in place, like solving a puzzle, while reading this book (I’m reading the book for the first time, it has been 3 or 4 days, and it has helped me so much, everyday a new understating that perfectly fits my experiences)


    Maria L

    Hi, Vinnie.

    Sorry I didn’t reply earlier, but I have been busy and no able to check up the site.

    I’m very stable with my practice; at this point I cannot conceive giving it up. But I do recognise some of the emotions & thoughts, in particular the judging. In fact, loving-kindness (recommended in TMI) has helped a lot. Have you tried this yourself?

    I thank you for your openness and interest.

    Take care.




    I am just getting ready to push my resistance and start doing loving-kindness meditation. I plan to use a Guided Meditation based on TMI. It was created by Chris Gagne (sp?). One place to find it is on the Insight Timer app. Computer or smart phone. Search for Guided Metta meditation TMI Chris Gagne. It is about 30 minutes long, and uses the wording from the TMI Appendix. For me, a relatively painless way to get into Metta meditation. Culadasa confirmed that listening to a guided meditation is a good way to do it.
    Tom Jansen

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by  tjansen.
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