time to switch to other practices?

Front Page Forums Meditation time to switch to other practices?

This topic contains 33 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Julian S 3 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #2327

    ST1000
    Member

    Hi all,

    I have been practicing with TMI since January of 2017 and other practices before that. Currently stage 5 but haven’t done too much body scanning yet with the TMI method. Generally have been practicing 60-70 minutes a day – more recently 45 minutes daily. I have been through a lot of kriyas, purifications, and energy movement since beginning TMI. A few months ago I felt better than I can remember feeling – relaxed, heart more open, sleeping well, etc. However for the past few months I noticed that the practice does not make me feel better – I think it has been increasing anxiety and agitation and causing difficulty with sleeping.

    A few weeks ago I had some significant life stressors (moving, stating a demanding new job) so I went back to mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) practices guided by Jon Kabat-Zinn – body scan, sitting practice. I felt much better during the few weeks I returned to these MBSR practices. For the past two days I went back to strict breath awareness and quickly noted some mild movements, chills, impatience, and afterwords I feel not great again throughout the day.

    I have tried to practice with relaxation but suppose I could do this more. I also have tried some of the spinal breathing that Blake has recommended to other to smooth out energy but again could probably do this more. I notice in addition to the MBSR practices, self compassion practices are very relaxing and feel healing for me and really seem to facilitate me dropping into the present moment.

    I really would like to continue with TMI, but it is difficult to do so when I feel it is currently increasing my suffering and decreasing my sense of well being. The MBSR style practices feel much better right now, make me feel better during the day, and allow my work day to go better and with less stress.

    My guess is that the TMI practice is causing energy mobilization as well as “rough piti” that I have heard people mention. Perhaps there are more purifications to go as well.

    I think I will try to do some TMI based body scan in the coming weeks but have found the Jon Kabat-Zinn guided body scan practice while lying down to be very relaxing and healing recently. Except for recently I don’t often listen to guided meditations .

    I am curious if there are any suggestions besides doing more stage 5 body scan practice as I feel as though I have hit a road block of sorts for months and am considering changing my method of practice for these reasons.

    Thank you all so much.

    #2331

    Good morning!

    It sounds to me like you are approaching this in a beautiful way- taking into account your overall situation and following intuitive guidance towards relaxation and clarity.

    I don’t see how that isn’t continuing along the map laid out in TMI. Remembering not to identify with impatience- sub-minds with conflicting intentions arising in the boardroom of consciousness, that come and go on their own (pg. 92, and 5th interlude). I’m reminded of a poem by Hafiz-

    “Sometimes a mule does not know what is best for itself. When the mind is confused like that it secretly desires a master with a skilled whip. To guide it to those playgrounds on the earth’s table where the sweet one’s light has made life more tasty. Hafiz always carries such a whip, but I rarely need to use it. I prefer just turning myself into the pretties mule in town, and making my tail sing, knowing your heart will then follow.”

    Some suggestions: simple, long hold restorative yoga asana combined with the “5 elements meditation” presented in stage 5 (pg 175).

    Spending time gently contemplating the mind-model presented in the 5th interlude.

    Continuing to follow your intuition and engaging in loving-kindness meditation.

    yours,

    meshe

    #2344

    Blake Barton
    Keymaster

    I think it is a good idea to follow your own instincts. Different practices work for different people, and at different times along the path.

    It sounds like you are getting energy overloads when following the TMI approach. If you want to continue working with this practice you could try less meditation each day (like 15-20 minutes) and slowly work your way up. When you get to the point where you are getting issues in your daily life then you can back off a bit.

    Some of us are very sensitive to meditation, and it does not take that much to cause an overload. The following article is from Yogani who teaches a style of yogic meditation that produces a considerable amount of energy. I learned the spinal breathing from his web site. Not everything in the article will apply to you, but you can substitute piti for the word kundalini. Culadasa feels that they are the same thing.

    https://www.aypsite.org/69.html

    Another thing to consider is why the MBSR techniques are working better for you. Are you more relaxed and spacious when you are doing them? Do you have a different attitude and less striving?

    Blake – Dharma Treasure Teacher

    #2347

    JavaJeff
    Member

    Blake, thank you for the link to the AYP site. I had run across it before, but had dismissed it because it was asking for $$$. Now I see there is an enormous amount of information there that is free.

    Not to hijack the thread, but question: did you study this material as a separate discipline, or just pick a few techniques to integrate into your existing meditation practice? I have been interested in kundalini yoga for a while now, but I have been hesitatnt to adopt a whole new framework of philosophy and terminology on top of what I already have for my Theravadan Buddhism practice. The spinal breathing technique (https://www.aypsite.org/41.html) in particular seems interesting and is quite similar to what Reggie Rae teaches in his ‘central channel’ meditations…I wondered if it might make a good supplement to my existing TMI practice.

    #2348

    ST1000
    Member

    Thank you all for the help.

    I think striving has definitely been a problem for me and I do think my attitude is different with other practices- there is more of an attitude of self compassion and an attitude “let’s see what is here and let it be – allowing myself to be as I am” when I do other practices. I try to relax and not try as hard with TMI practice but I still end up getting the energy overload. Maybe I need to relax and allow even more with TMI as well as emphasize peripheral awareness more.

    I think I am going to do body scans and compassion practices for a few months and try and relax. I think body scans may still be contributing to the energy though too but it seems not as much. It seems like it might takes a while for the energy to subside. Yoga used to feel good to me but at times it makes me feel worse because of the energy overload. Maybe i will ultimately have to cut back on meditation – I would rather not if possible though.

    Is this something that retreat can help subside or can it make it worse? Months ago retreat helped to subside kriyas I was having after a bunch of purifications – but a recent self retreat didn’t seem to have any affect on the energy even after some very intense purifications.

    That you all again so much.

    #2349

    Blake Barton
    Keymaster

    Hi JavaJeff,

    I have dealt with energy issues throughout my practice. I have spent periods of time where AYP was my main practice. The spinal breath has helped smooth out the energy flow, but I have not gotten to the point where it has become totally smooth (no spontaneous movements). Early on I tried too hard to get everything “just right” in the spinal breathing practice, and it was frustrating. More recently I learned to just have the intention to do the practice and accept whatever result happened, and it made this practice more effective.

    Years ago I had Culadasa read Yogani’s book “Advanced Yoga Practices – Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living”, and he felt like it was the real deal, and he immediately recognized that Piti and Kundalini are the same thing.

    I have done spinal breathing prior to doing TMI based breath meditation, and they seem to work OK together. However, I think there is something unique about doing spinal breathing followed by Yogani’s mantra meditation. I urge caution with the mantra meditation, because it also moves energy around, and over 20 minutes can easily lead to energy overloads. People who are sensitive have to use less than 20 minutes.

    I have applied the TMI techniques to mantra meditation. TMI is centered around breath meditation, but it can be applied to most meditation objects. Yogani recommends observing the mantra with a more spacious awareness, and that is also compatible with TMI. I think Yogani has more detail about working with kundalini/piti than any other author that I have read. This is why I sometimes refer students to his writings. The thing that I see missing is the mindfulness component.

    It just so happens that I am reading Reginald Rae’s book, and I am just about to start the chapter on “central channel” meditations.

    Hope this helps,

    Blake – DT Teacher

    #2350

    Blake Barton
    Keymaster

    Hi ST1000,

    You are welcome. I know when I keep a more spacious awareness (peripheral awareness) while doing TMI practice it calms the energy and spontaneous movements, and is more pleasant. You might also notice any resistance or aversion to the energy which can keep it entrenched. If you have a more spacious awareness you are more likely to notice mental resistance.

    Yoga can also increase the energy, particularly if you are doing longer sessions. In shorter doses it can also calm energy, so you may just need to experiment. I know you probably don’t want to cut back on your practices, but sometimes you have to take one step backwards before you can take two forward.

    Retreats can go either way. They can significantly increase energy, but at the same time you can work through some obstructions, and things will settle down. Jack Kornfield tells a story of being on a long retreat and his arms started to flap like a bird for days at a time. His teacher asked him if he had aversion to these flapping sensations. He realized that he did, and after he let go of all resistance the flapping stopped, and he had a deep release.

    Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

    Good Luck,
    Blake – DT Teacher

    #2354

    ST1000
    Member

    That is very helpful Blake thank you so much.

    I ended up doing shorter practices and switching to compassion practice and noticed a large shift in my capacity to be present, my mood, and spaciousness of awareness. It felt like that it was the missing ingredient and just a touch of it made a huge difference.

    Thank you again.

    #2356

    Blake Barton
    Keymaster

    You’re welcome. Thanks for taking the time to give us feedback. It is really helpful for us to know whether our advice works or not. Please let us know if we can service in the future.

    Best of Luck,
    Blake

    #2357

    JavaJeff
    Member

    OK, well if that’s how you guys feel, then I too want to say thank you to Blake and Meshe — I’m continuing my yoga practice alongside TMI based in part on your replies. 🙂

    #2358

    Blake Barton
    Keymaster

    You’re welcome. Please keep us informed about your “yoga practice alongside TMI”. I think we can all learn a lot from each other.

    Blake

    #2361

    ST1000
    Member

    hi all,

    I am sorry to ask another question but I think this community may be my best shot at getting a question that I have had for a while answered.

    After an 8 day retreat with Upasaka Culadasa at Cochise Stronghold where there were emotional purifications, I started doing compassion practice in addition to TMI and also started Neuroptimal neurobiofeedback. After about 15 sessions in 20 days (with the compassion practice and TMI) I felt a level of well being that I don’t think I ever felt. I was relaxed, in a great mood, awareness was spacious, mind was clear, and heart was opening. This level of well being lasted 2-3 months – I did about 50 Neuroptimal sessions in 2-3 months.

    After these 2-3 months I stopped compassion practices and stepped up TMI to 70 minutes from 60 minutes. More purifications came – there was a week when hours of daily meditation was accompanied by energy and intense openings in my spine (?heart chakra and other chakras) and on a self retreat later deep (but familiar) psychological content arose including very strong self criticism/judgement.

    After 6 months from starting Neuroptimal after the retreat, I am so much more sensitive to the neurofeedback than I was months ago. Its even occasional use can precipitate physical manifestations such as energy currents/movements. I no longer feel anywhere near as good as I felt in those months I described above and have felt out of balance for months without a good sense of well being. .

    I have not used Neuroptimal in weeks and only have used it occasionally for months. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have decreased my meditation to 20 minutes daily and am doing primarily compassion practices for a few weeks to try and rebalance. Blake had noted that sometimes a decrease in meditation may be needed as there can be energy overloads if we are sensitive to meditation. I believe there is still some degree of energy increase in my body with this decreased level of meditation, but I am able to sleep pretty well (as opposed to when the energy increases significantly) so I will keep doing this plan for a while. I did notice even gentle yoga for 2 out of 3 days for a half hour totally increased the energy level in my body and led to agitation/anxiety and feeling imbalanced.

    It has been a difficult time as I am trying to figure out what my mind and body needs now – it seems to have all changed. Through it all I am trying to cultivate mindfulness and compassion for self and others in daily life – I think it is one of the only and best things I can do at this point.

    Of note I mentioned Neuroptimal to a very experienced meditator and teacher in the Tibetan tradition who also does energy healing. After just one session he felt very strong energy currents in his body and and experienced very strong physical purifications. He noted that because of his energy healing combined with meditation he may be much more sensitive to it than others.

    I am very curious if anyone had experience with Neuroptimal and these kinds of issues – I believe they are not typical in the general Neuroptimal community but wanted to see if these issues arose for anyone else when combined with TMI practice. I am hoping I will be able to use it again in the future as an adjunct to meditation.

    Thank you all so much and happy holidays to you all.

    #2363

    David
    Member

    Thank you for reaching out again and please don’t worry about asking too many questions. Your queries are thoughtful and detailed. I have also done a fair bit of Neuroptimal and have experienced some flows of euphoria. From discussions with the consulting psychologist that monitors the sessions, strong energy flows are not the norm, and I wouldn’t advise others reading this thread to jump into Neuroptimal with the intent of experiencing energy flows or any other entertaining mental states.

    Let me state my own thoughts on what are termed purifications, energy flows etc. I think there is a real dividing line between purifications and energy flows that signal that our nervous-physical energy system is tending toward an out of balance state. The problem is that it is not always obvious until later that we’ve transitioned from one state to the other. In my own case, I have also had periods of strong kundalini movements and a recent period of dis-ease that I can only describe as what felt like falling into an emotional hole – which was accompanied by a strong spike in anxiety.

    If I am interpreting your earlier postings correctly, you really chased TMI / Neuroptimal and other practices. Also, a previous sense of ease and success has been replaced with a sense of dis-ease and concern. You now are backing off with the hope of removing the dis-ease and finding balance.

    My advice for your consideration is to not chase getting back to “normal” with the same intensity it appears you invested in the initial TMI / Neuroptimal practice. Be kind to yourself – you’ve done a lot. Give yourself a pat on the back and maybe consider you may have done a bit too much too quickly. That’s just how life goes sometimes. Consider not doing any Neuroptimal until you feel quite ready = maybe walking away for an extended period. It obviously produces a strong reaction in you. I would keep your practice gentle, as you are doing, or even back off some more. Importantly, I would look at positive psychology practices such as culitavting gratitude in addition to loving kindess. I recommend being around loved ones and good friends. Talk to the loved ones about your feelings, don’t bottle them up. I found culitvating gratitude, loving kindness, skillfully stepping back, talking to loved ones and reaching out to others whose advice I trusted all helped. I hope this is useful for you. Good luck and remember – questions are good!

    #2364

    Chris Gagne
    Member

    I too have done a *lot* of Neuroptimal (probably north of 200 sessions) over the last couple of years. I’ve never felt any euphoria or energy currents as a result of using it, but it did bring my mood back to baseline when I was in a funk.

    I agree with David that taking some time to be kind to yourself may well be the work you need to do right now, as it may be the perfect antidote to self criticism/judgement. The way I have come to think of my own purifications is that meditation allows me to “make contact” with these walled-off parts of my mind system. I get the sense that once this contact is made there’s much we can do to work with it, even when we are not doing samatha/vipassana practices.

    #2365

    ST1000
    Member

    Thank you all so much for the thoughtful and helpful advice. I am going to continue to do a reduced sitting schedule, to not do Neuroptimal for some time, and continue to focus on compassion/lovingkindness and incorporate formal gratitude practice as well.

    I ended up making gratitude the focus of my brief morning sit (I loosely utilized the HEAL method as described by Rick Hanson – without the L) , and I ended up feeling much more in balance for the day than I have in the past few weeks. The heart based practices and gratitude seem to have the potential to really affect the quality of my mind and body for the better – it feels as these practices have the potential to change the polarity of the components of my mind/body from negative to positive.

    Thank you to everybody so much for the help.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.