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Author Topic: Strange sensations while meditating...was that supposed to happen?  (Read 16701 times)
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« Reply #15: December 24, 2008, 06:43:26 pm »

It seems your question has been pretty well answered but I just wanted to add a couple of things from my own experience which could be useful.

When I meditate (and though I tried doing it regularly for a while I gradually stopped, so I'm definitely still a novice) I got/get these weird sensations. My head feels very heavy but pulled up, and I feel like the upper half of my body is a little up and to one side of the rest of my body and I get a strong pulsing and swaying sensation. Sometimes these feelings were so strong they became downright uncomfortable and a bit worrying. However I read a good book on meditating (from the library - don't remember the title - Doh!) which said that when new to meditating it is quite common to get bizarre sensations and that these would pass with practice. I think in your case you need to be very careful about the asthmatic sensations - best to be safe. But the other stuff, the floating etc, might just go away with practice.

It might go away? I liked the floating! I do want the part that feels like an asthma attack to go away, though. That was a bit scary to me.
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« Reply #16: December 24, 2008, 11:10:18 pm »

It might go away? I liked the floating! I do want the part that feels like an asthma attack to go away, though. That was a bit scary to me.

it will go away if you are doing a form of meditation that discourages it, like Zen Bhuddist meditation, or certain forms of Hindu meditation. If you want to fly around in astral, you can relax and follow the floaty feelings where it leads you.
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« Reply #17: December 25, 2008, 12:21:00 pm »

Wow thanks! That was a lot of info, and I am sure a lot of that is stuff I can try. I am a classically trained singer, so I was already aware of some of the breathng exercises and the singing related stuff. I was used to breathing deeply before I got sick 10 months ago, so maybe I just have to get used to it again (tbh, I still don't know exactly what's wrong with me, but my doctor says he's going to treat it like mild asthma unless something else happens.)

Bodies are weird - even if you're familiar with deep breathing from other stuff (I was too!), if your body gets panicky about it for a bit, trying diaphragmatic breathing again can feel very strange. (I'm a trained musician too - one thing I found was that while the techniques were very familiar, that didn't always mean I was doing it enough. I've gotten in the habit of walking around and checking my breathing regularly during the day, because when I start having lung issues, it's very easy to slip into shallow breathing without being aware of it.)

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I have an air purifier in my bedroom, but I usually do my rituals outside because there is more space and I don't have to worry about my parents walking in on me. (I am still in the closet and I live at home atm.) I also feel more connected with the natural world when I'm outside. The time I was referring to was the first time I'd tried it in a building. And I usually sit cross-legged on the ground when I meditate, since I think I'd fall asleep if I were to lie down.

For the initial testing things out - I'd honestly do it at home. (Meditation doesn't involve noise or anything, so it's easy to do when your parents think you've gone to bed.) The reason I say this is that there's a chance you're reacting allergically to something outside - pollen, whatever. (I've got mild grass allergies - I love lounging on the grass in the summer, but if I tried to do meditation and deep breathing there, I'd face some allergy issues.) Better to try it out in a more controlled environment. Limit the variables, in other words, while you're trying to figure out exactly what's happening - that's just good scientific theory.

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I do have a question for you: what exactly do you mean by an herbalist? Is that someone trained in herbal medicine, or do they have magical training as well? There are plenty of people here who sell herbs and natural products, and they seem to know the products in their stores quite well, but I am not sure how much medical knowledge they actually have...What should I look for when I try to find an herbalist? What kind of training should they have had?

In this case, I do mean someone who's trained in herbal medicine. (Though in my case, my herbalist is also a Gardnerian priestess and witch, which is sometimes very handy, as it makes it easy to talk about some particular ritual and energy management issues when they're relevant.)

What that training means is a little tricky - there's no single certifying board for herbal practice, but it does hopefully mean more than someone who owns a store or sells someone else's products. There are several different organisations in the US that herbalists might belong. (My herbalist is a member of the American Botanical Council but there are other groups. Like many areas of life, people will prefer one over others for various reasons). A number of stores that stock substantial amounts of loose herbs either have an herbalist on staff, or can suggest ways to connect with someone.

People get training from a number of different sources - generally what you do is ask about their training and what was involved (sort of the same way you'd ask about someone's training if you were interested in studying Wicca or some other religious or magical practice with them.) It's particularly important to ask how long they've been practicing, and what kind of practical training they had before they began to see clients on their own. (For example, it's common for folks to serve as an apprentice to another herbalist for a period of time, so that they have support and advice in dealing with different kinds of diagnosis with a wide range of clients. There are a number of distance training programs that can do a good job teaching the basics, but applying them to real people is something quite different.)

Different herbalists will also have different styles/approaches/methods of diagnosis that they focus on. For example, my herbalist also has some training in Traditional Chinese Medicine practice, and uses pulse diagnosis among other techniques for diagnosis. She has a strong preference for teas in medicinal doses as her primary  Other herbalists in my area have a stronger preferences for tinctures, or for use of much smaller (approaching homeopathic) doses.

All of that said - when I started seeing her, I knew the basics, but not all those details. I did know that she's seen as highly competent, and I knew that I liked her, and felt I could talk openly with her. (I'd known her casually through the local Pagan community for a few years, and knew a number of other people who'd seen her.) I was also careful to evaluate what she told me through other sources - looking up information on the herbs she suggested when I got home, seeing how they worked for me, etc.

http://www.henriettesherbal.com/faqs/medi-5-6-referral.html has some additional information on finding herbalists (including a bunch of international resources.)
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« Reply #18: December 26, 2008, 12:10:40 pm »



I took an allergy test and I'm not allergic to pollen or grass or anything. Just dust and mold, and, unfortunately, my beloved cat. I'm going to get that fixed as soon as I can afford to. My room is the size of a closet, so I feel a lot more comfortable out of doors.

I think what happened in the time I mentioned in the original post was that I had been on a hike earlier that day and I pushed myself way too hard because I wanted to prove I was still strong, which I admit was not the wisest move on my part. I've felt slightly short of breath trying to meditate before, but nothing like that time.

And thanks for the info on herbalists. Another question: are they similar to homeopathic doctors? We have those here.
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« Reply #19: December 26, 2008, 02:21:39 pm »

I took an allergy test and I'm not allergic to pollen or grass or anything. Just dust and mold, and, unfortunately, my beloved cat. I'm going to get that fixed as soon as I can afford to. My room is the size of a closet, so I feel a lot more comfortable out of doors.

Dust and mold are definitely tricky! On the cat, though - I, and a number of other people, find that I can cope well with a cat I'm desensitised to (i.e. the cat I'm around all the time), especially if I take other useful steps (like having an air filter by my bed, washing my hands before bed, washing sheets in hot water regularly, etc.) I still have to be careful around other people's cats, but I haven't had to give my furball up. (Last time I talked to an allergist, they threw up their hands about this, mind you, but in my case, it's a manageable thing - I know it isn't for everyone. Plus, since I live alone, I think the physical contact benefits of having something to cuddle with and pet are substantial.)

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I think what happened in the time I mentioned in the original post was that I had been on a hike earlier that day and I pushed myself way too hard because I wanted to prove I was still strong, which I admit was not the wisest move on my part. I've felt slightly short of breath trying to meditate before, but nothing like that time.

Definitely done that myself - and yes, you're right, it might have had an effect. Trying again when that's not true would give you a better baseline.

Quote
And thanks for the info on herbalists. Another question: are they similar to homeopathic doctors? We have those here.

Different mechanism, but with some similar philosophy.

Herbalist work with herbs that have various medicinal properties, in similar chemical doses that can be similar to various mainstream medications. (As well as having some other effects, like a tonic that helps support lung or liver or kidney function or whatever.) The thing with herbs - and some people see this as a good thing, and some people see this as a problematic thing - is that the herbs also have other supporting chemicals and effects. The people who think herbalism is worthwhile think that's a good thing, because it often buffers the effect of the main chemicals in a way that seems easier for the body to tolerate (fewer unwanted side effects.) There are a number of scientific studies - a number of them come out of Germany, because they've got a long history of studying the use of herbs for different conditions.

(There are also things herbs don't work well for: they tend to work best *before* something becomes an acute problem, or to support the body, rather than fixing something in a crisis. A good herbalist will be very clear that there are times someone needs to see a mainstream doctor - pneumonia, cancer, acute heart failure, broken bones, etc. What the herbalist can do is provide support for those conditions, or in the case of chemotherapy, for example, can come up with herbs that will help reduce the negative side effects of chemo.)

Homeopathy works on a philosophical theory that a tiny amount of a particular substance can help with a condition - and by tiny, I mean things like 1 part per thousand in a tincture or pill, vastly smaller than even the tiniest medicinal dose. It's considered to be working with the energies and tendencies of the plants in question, and there's quite a bit less scientific backing for it. That said, my older sister did a bunch of serious work with it for a while, and several homeopathic remedies she suggested helped out my father (who had serious psoriasis, a skin condition, and longterm liver issues triggered by major childhood illnesses) and helped the rest of us with things like colds.
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« Reply #20: December 26, 2008, 05:40:56 pm »

Dust and mold are definitely tricky! On the cat, though - I, and a number of other people, find that I can cope well with a cat I'm desensitised to (i.e. the cat I'm around all the time), especially if I take other useful steps (like having an air filter by my bed, washing my hands before bed, washing sheets in hot water regularly, etc.) I still have to be careful around other people's cats, but I haven't had to give my furball up. (Last time I talked to an allergist, they threw up their hands about this, mind you, but in my case, it's a manageable thing - I know it isn't for everyone. Plus, since I live alone, I think the physical contact benefits of having something to cuddle with and pet are substantial.)
I usually avoid mentioning my cat allergy, since the only reason I'm even aware of it is because of the test (I don't really feel anything weird around cats). I would be very lonely without my cat. I meant more that I was going to have desensitization therapy to get rid of the allergies. No way am I getting rid of my cat. I waited 20 years to get him!

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Definitely done that myself - and yes, you're right, it might have had an effect. Trying again when that's not true would give you a better baseline.

Different mechanism, but with some similar philosophy.

I tend to agree there. I definitely prefer to do anything related to my spirituality outside, because that's just what feels right for me. I don't really want to take the outdoor part of my meditation away.

But you and some others mentioned using a meditation tape to learn different types of meditation. Would anyone mind mentioning some of their favorites?  I am interested in all kinds. I know a bit about mindful meditation, since I had someone teach me a few years ago. But I am particularly interested in meditation that involves an astral experience.

Quote
Herbalist work with herbs that have various medicinal properties, in similar chemical doses that can be similar to various mainstream medications. (As well as having some other effects, like a tonic that helps support lung or liver or kidney function or whatever.) The thing with herbs - and some people see this as a good thing, and some people see this as a problematic thing - is that the herbs also have other supporting chemicals and effects. The people who think herbalism is worthwhile think that's a good thing, because it often buffers the effect of the main chemicals in a way that seems easier for the body to tolerate (fewer unwanted side effects.) There are a number of scientific studies - a number of them come out of Germany, because they've got a long history of studying the use of herbs for different conditions.

I guess I can see why someone would find that scary if there are side effects, but then commercial medications have added ingredients and you don't always know what those will do. As someone who believes the earth has everything we need to survive and be healthy, I would rather have my remedies as un-tampered with as possible. But that being said, I wouldn't just start taking something without someone who knew what they were doing telling me how to use it and what to expect. Just because it is "natural" does not mean it is "right for every situation and person."



Quote
Homeopathy works on a philosophical theory that a tiny amount of a particular substance can help with a condition - and by tiny, I mean things like 1 part per thousand in a tincture or pill, vastly smaller than even the tiniest medicinal dose. It's considered to be working with the energies and tendencies of the plants in question, and there's quite a bit less scientific backing for it. That said, my older sister did a bunch of serious work with it for a while, and several homeopathic remedies she suggested helped out my father (who had serious psoriasis, a skin condition, and longterm liver issues triggered by major childhood illnesses) and helped the rest of us with things like colds.
The ones I tried didn't really help, but then I thought I had a sinus condition, not a lung condition. So maybe it helped my sinuses, but that was only a small part of what was wrong with me. What I didn't understand when I went to the homeopathic doctor was why he kept asking me questions about my psychological health, mainly how I feel in social situations. I realize mental and physical health are connected, but that wasn't really what I was there to talk about. Is that something that happens a lot in homeopathic practice, or does that sound more like something unique to this particular doctor?
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« Reply #21: December 26, 2008, 07:04:43 pm »

I usually avoid mentioning my cat allergy, since the only reason I'm even aware of it is because of the test (I don't really feel anything weird around cats). I would be very lonely without my cat. I meant more that I was going to have desensitization therapy to get rid of the allergies. No way am I getting rid of my cat. I waited 20 years to get him!

The thing is, with allergens, *anything* you're sensitive to - even if you're not obviously reacting to it - puts a strain on your body. I know for me, being around one or two allergens doesn't usually trigger symptoms, but being around 3 or 5 or more can. (Which is why I have lots of problems in the fall, because there are more allergens I can't avoid.)

I think having my cat is worth that strain. But I am also really aware that it's there - and that in order to balance that, I need to be extra careful about other allergens, because I'll be more likely to react to other things more strongly, because my body is always working to deal with certain allergens (the cat, plus seasonal allergens.)

I'm really aware that keeping my beloved cat puts a strain on my body. I think it's worth that strain because of the other benefits (leaving aside the fact I love her.) But I think it's important to not just say "Oh, I don't react to her at all." I may not do it obviously, but it's clear there's an effect on my body that I need to take into account.

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I tend to agree there. I definitely prefer to do anything related to my spirituality outside, because that's just what feels right for me. I don't really want to take the outdoor part of my meditation away.

Let me try to be a bit more clear. I'm not saying you need to give up outside work entirely.  Just that *while you're learning*, you might want to try it in some different (and more controlled) settings. That way, you can be sure you're not reacting to something in the larger environment, for example. Once you have a clearer idea of how your body responds to meditation by itself (not meditation *and* being outside *and* having walked outside to wherever you're meditating), it can be a lot easier to make adjustments as you branch out. Again, there's a logic to this - it's like science, or cooking. If you know all the variables that go into what you're doing, it's a lot easier to make changes to get the outcome you want.

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But you and some others mentioned using a meditation tape to learn different types of meditation. Would anyone mind mentioning some of their favorites?  I am interested in all kinds. I know a bit about mindful meditation, since I had someone teach me a few years ago. But I am particularly interested in meditation that involves an astral experience.

I do some work with moving meditation (dance and movement based work - Gabrielle Roth's book _Sweat your prayers_ is a classic, but there's lots of other material out there as well.) and my tradition does a fair bit of work with guided meditations (where there's a specifically set scene/experience, but also space within that story to explore for yourself.

For example, I wrote one for a moon some years ago that starts with you walking down a path to find an old deserted house and garden, and then exploring it and doing some work to start cleaning it up. In that meditation, there are some details that are spelled out specifically, and there are a lot of details that each person will fill in on their own. (For example, there's a mural on the side of the house, showing people doing all sorts of different things. Some of those things are described - people cooking, talking, making something - but there's also space for people to see other activities, and people often see quite different things there when we've done this meditation.)

There's a number of resources for this - not sure what's available where you are, but I'm particularly fond of Yasmine Galenorn's collections.
 
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But that being said, I wouldn't just start taking something without someone who knew what they were doing telling me how to use it and what to expect. Just because it is "natural" does not mean it is "right for every situation and person."

Exactly - and as I found out when I started talking to my herbalist, the herbs she's got me on are not the ones I'd have guessed, starting off - because she's looking at a whole big picture with multiple diagnostic tools from a more distant perspective, and I, being human, tend to notice the stuff that bugs me most.

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The ones I tried didn't really help, but then I thought I had a sinus condition, not a lung condition. So maybe it helped my sinuses, but that was only a small part of what was wrong with me.

That'd be likely, yes - homeopathic remedies are generally considered *very* specific to a particular way of having a condition - so what you take for a dry cough is not the same as a moist cough is not the same as for a sore throat, is not the same thing as for trouble breathing. They'd all be different remedies.

Quote
What I didn't understand when I went to the homeopathic doctor was why he kept asking me questions about my psychological health, mainly how I feel in social situations. I realize mental and physical health are connected, but that wasn't really what I was there to talk about. Is that something that happens a lot in homeopathic practice, or does that sound more like something unique to this particular doctor?

This is really common in most naturopathic or holistic medical practices - that includes homeopathy, herbalism, chiropractic work, and a number of other formats. That's because holistic medicine is concerned with treating the whole person, not just the obvious symptoms.

A couple of examples from my own experience:

One of the things my herbalist has been working on are hormonal issues (to simplify, my menstrual cycle has been messed up for a long time: it's clear there's some low grade imbalance going on that mainstream medicine not only can't treat well, other than my going on hormonal medications, but that my mainstream doctor doesn't consider a problem, really.) I'm not entirely happy with that, so the herbal stuff is worth exploring.

But when we get into the meat of it, my herbalist looks at a bunch of physical tendencies (because some tendencies in the face, hands, tongue, etc. suggest that I might tend one way or the other.) But she also asked a lot of questions about how I sleep, what happens if I lose my temper (is it a big drawn out thing that takes a long time to build up, or is it a very fast blow up that blows over as quickly?) What foods do I crave, and when? What's my digestion like in general? How do I feel about different kinds of exercise?

All of those help her figure out which set of hormonal issues might be involved - and which particular herbs might particularly be of benefit. For example, there's a herb (burdock) where people who need it generally feel a lot better when they walk regularly - but where it's often hard for them to get going and do it. If burdock were the right herb for me, walking wouldn't just make me feel healthier, it'd also make me feel a lot happier, more outgoing, more relaxed, etc. And that's not true for me. (I suspect it *is* true for most of my family, though, which explains a few things.) I don't hate walking or anything (and I do it fairly regularly because it's a form of exercise that I tolerate well), but it doesn't make my whole life bright and sunny and better, either.

Likewise, some emotions are considered to be tied (in various medical systems) to different parts of the body - one example is the liver and anger. Someone who has constriction affecting the liver (either through emotional reasons, like repressing emotion, or through physical issues, like inflammation constricting blood flow somehow) might have anger issues - or they may cycle through a period of stronger anger and frustration when they first start working on the issue. Knowing how someone deals with the emotion can help you figure out the best herb out of several choices - and knowing that liver herbs might raise strong emotions means you can give someone advance warning that they may want to be extra careful of their emotions while the herbs kick in.
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« Reply #22: December 26, 2008, 09:32:02 pm »

I know this probably sounds like a total noob question, but how do I know if I'm having an astral experience? Could the floating feeling come before the astral experience, and I could have had one if I'd just kept my head and not let it freak me out, or do you have to be better at meditation before you can have an astral experience?

I think, especially when starting out, it's good to have the *intent* to do astral work when you do it, if that makes sense.  I've found general meditation practice helps me focus better on the astral plane.
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« Reply #23: December 30, 2008, 07:37:57 am »

I was meditating last night, and I started feeling really weird. It started out as feeling like I was floating through space, which was cool. But then it started feeling like a combination of floating through space, riding a roller coaster, being drunk, and having an asthma attack. (I have asthma, so I know how an attack feels.) I noticed my heart was beating quite a bit faster. I opened my eyes and it was gone immediately. I wanted to continue what I was doing, so I closed my eyes, and I immediately felt like I was in a meditative state again. But then within a few seconds, the strange sensation occured.

I am quite familiar with the sensation you describe. It is a change of conciousness that is conducive to astral projection. Even when you expect it it can be disconcerting. It can trigger panic attacks and...in your case asthma attacks. My suggestion is relax and just go with it. Try to ride past this to the point you can begin to sense your astral environment and then go out of your body. You should keep your inhaler  handy in case you can't ride past it.

There seems to be too much an obsession with breath control in meditation. Control of breath only serves to get you into the meditative centered state but once you getyt to that state you should let go and trust your body to do what comes automatically. If you insist on keeping absolute concious control over your breath then you will find you breath becoming labored and guess what...trigger asthma attack. Many attacks are stress related and not allergen triggered.

Don't be afraid.

Lecia
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« Reply #24: January 07, 2009, 09:37:14 pm »

I am quite familiar with the sensation you describe. It is a change of conciousness that is conducive to astral projection. Even when you expect it it can be disconcerting. It can trigger panic attacks and...in your case asthma attacks. My suggestion is relax and just go with it. Try to ride past this to the point you can begin to sense your astral environment and then go out of your body. You should keep your inhaler  handy in case you can't ride past it.

There seems to be too much an obsession with breath control in meditation. Control of breath only serves to get you into the meditative centered state but once you getyt to that state you should let go and trust your body to do what comes automatically. If you insist on keeping absolute concious control over your breath then you will find you breath becoming labored and guess what...trigger asthma attack. Many attacks are stress related and not allergen triggered.

Don't be afraid.

Lecia

I think that as long as I know it's supposed to happen, I'm cool with it. I realized a few days ago that it's the whole part where I try to control my breathing, particularly when I hold it in for awhile, that makes it hard to breath. So as long as I don't do that, I'm fine.
Like I said earlier, I really liked the floating through space part. It was relaxing and exciting, and the part of me that hadn't quite surrendered to it thought, "Cool! Something is happening!" But then I thought, "Why is my heart beating faster? I thought this was supposed to slow down your heart rate! Why am I dizzy? And I freaked out. And I haven't been able to get the floating feeling since then. But I hope I can again...I felt like I was about to break through into something different, and it was very exciting, and I'm still curious about what I would have found if I had walked through that door.
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