Typically, when I bring this up with meditators, they may not be familiar with energy-body phenomena while on the cushion. Once in a while, though, I find someone who knows exactly what I’m talking about and there are certainly people on the web who are searching for answers about strange energetic experiences they are having, too.
During this past retreat, I had a few interesting energetic experiences. These only come when I’ve had some time to get concentrated — a day or two into a retreat, for instance. It used to take me even longer – say four or five days – but now it comes much earlier, presumably due to being more seasoned at this point.
I do not know why, but sensations around my nose are very common for me. Perhaps the most frequent is a sensation of downward force – as if someone were pulling the bone structure of my nose down with about 7 or 8 pounds of force. It’s quite strong, but not at all painful. It’s persistent, though. It may start at the beginning of a sit and last for the remainder of the sit – sometimes 20 or 30 minutes. I typically acknowledge it as a phenomena and go back to focusing on my breath or body or whatever my intended focus was. Once I get up from sitting it vanishes. Along with the downward pull on the nose, an upward pressure on the roof of my mouth is also common. It’s as if the shape of my skull is being changed (I like to think that whatever the force is, it’s in line with the good intentions and liberating energies of my meditation as a whole and is therefore benevolent).
On my most recent retreat, I had two interesting energy experiences that were unique in my meditation history.
During one session, a strong presence was felt in the center of my body. The energy there contracted quite noticeably and felt as if it had become solid. The feeling began in my belly, but continued up through my chest, up through my neck, up through my face and out through my forehead. I was surprised by the way the energy formed and moved — as if a 4″ diameter rod of solid matter was suddenly making it’s way, like a new skeletal structure up the front of my body, slightly curved forward like a giant rib. Then, it just stayed there. I was suspended; held upright and motionless by this new support. My attention was riveted, but I wasn’t afraid. I simply observed and watched for changes, movement, and texture. This event lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 minutes or so. Prior to it happening, I was focused primarily on the back pain I had been having. The pain was greatly reduced, but not gone when the event was over.
Another energy phenomena that occurred followed a session of neti-neti, where I was asking the question “who am I?” and following awareness back to it’s roots. Each object that seemed to arise in answer to ‘who am I?’ was seen as an object and not as the subjective knower I was looking for — so every object is rejected and the focus moved to whatever sense of self had been aware of it. This is an interesting technique, but it’s hard work. It’s intense. It can feel like tunneling back into your own head. It can feel very contractive. It was in the middle of this kind of a contraction when I had the thought -you can’t SEE it (the Mind, the self, the knower) — you have to BE it. At that thought, a sensation in my head arose that felt as if the upper right part of my skull was expanding like a balloon. It kept getting bigger. This bubble, the outer portion of which I took to be my physical boundary, grew until it was the size of a watermelon, then kept growing, until it stretched the boundary of not just my head, but my neck, shoulder and right side down to my waist. The “balloon” felt as if it were 4 or 5 feet in diameter and it flopped to the side, as if it weren’t holding up it’s own weight. It was a very expansive feeling and lasted until the end of the sit.. probably only 5 minutes or so. Again, I tried to stay calm, accept this as any other phenomena and allow it to do whatever it was meant to do. After it was over, I was left feeling refreshed, concentrated, and free of my back pain and any contractive feelings in my head. I felt great, actually. I had an interview with the teacher immediately afterwards and this amazing energy experience wasn’t even the focus of our discussion.. but it sure was a notable event.
Please share with me any energy experiences you’ve had. I know people out there are having these experiences. Perhaps there is something we can learn together about what they are and how they relate to the process of meditation and getting free.