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troubles, meditation, sleep and dreams, third eye, inner space

October 22, 2010

Sometimes I get thought that doesn’t feel fully formed – not something I can put into words completely. But I will try.

This past afternoon, I was again stressing over should I be Buddhist or not. A few days ago, about a week after I went to the Bon meeting, I finally got the folder out with the instructions, and tried to meditate. All I was doing (or all I thought I was doing) was breathing exercises, and trying to focus on certain chakras (energy centers in the body) at the same time. This stuff is NEW to me.

Something weird, surprising and unpleasant happened, which I will not go into in depth. I’ve had OCD and some other issues pretty much all of my life, and while meditating, an old and troubling OCD symptom occurred – one that I’ve not experienced much at all for years. Unnerving.

This was quite demoralizing! I was doing the Buddhist practice with the intention to get my mind right, not make it worse!

I’ve tried SO MANY THINGS in life and almost everything has brought very very negative results!

But, I have this past day I decided to give it another try. Maybe it is something I can work through and come out the other side.

And of course, since I cleaned my room thoroughly, a few days ago, I have since not been able to find the yellow folder containing info and instructions for Bon Buddhist practice.

I try and try… but..

I also avoid certain practical things which I feel I should be doing, but somehow manage not to – such as learning Spanish, figuring out how to work this computer, and dedicating myself more to playing music, writing, drawing..

And the issues I deal with are still there… sometimes in severe ways.

I have contemplated drinking lots more (I’ve never been drunk.. but maybe there’s something to it?) and occasionally smoking clove cigars. I took just over a week to finish my “build a six-pack” (having the option to choose from 40 or more different brews is nice!), and tonight tossed the clove cigars away – smoked one last night – getting tired of that flavor and they are so harsh on throat and body!

So, I keep on living. I’m still here.. still wondering, still wandering..

This past day, I was wondering about the concept of “third eye,” which is found in Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age teachings, and even vaguely mentioned in Mormonism. Hmmm..

I don’t know much at all about the concept, and since it was talked about at the Bon meeting, and also since I have run across the concept in years past, I decided to read about it a little – looked it up on Wikipedia.

As I was busy today, I didn’t read that article thoroughly, but did learn that it is the invisible, mystical eye that turns inward.

“Inward” – now that is a word used a lot!! All that meditation stuff I’ve read and heard about – well, not all of it, but most of it, is about turning inward.. our inner space.

I had interpreted that to mean just turning inward inside myself, my head.. my being..

This hasn’t been good for me! Just gotten deeper into my own neurosis. We all have neurosis, just our own version of it.

While I was reading the Wikipedia article, I had a thought..

This inner space I am turning inward to face.. it’s not just me!! It’s not just my own crazily restless mind – fears worries concerns prejudices loves hates joys heartaches disappointments aggravations pleasures and so forth.. no..

It’s more like .. perhaps it’s more like…

Tapping into the collective unconscious.. inner space we all share. If we all are inter-connected, maybe it is at this inward level where we are all connected.

A heavy concept indeed!

I also had another thought, and this one is harder to put into words..

In one of my very favorite novels, “American Gods,” author Neil Gaiman describes one of his main characters “going behind the scenes.” This human character enters a different dimension, where things are really happening – gods and spirits and so forth interacting, where can be found mythical beasts, and many other fantastic things, and that this behind the scenes place is actually more real.

Perhaps that is inner space as well, and what we find when we turn inward.

These are thoughts, and these thoughts may be right. These so far have not, for me, been experiences. So far, the few times I’ve meditated, I’ve felt worse. I haven’t felt that I’ve tapped into this inner pace, this behind the scenes place.

I do when I dream, perhaps. The kind of dreaming done when I am asleep. My dreams are not fantastical – rather mundane compared to some peoples’ but that is ok. I am more than glad they are not scary. (Knock on wood!)

In my dreams, I interact with people I’ve not met in real life. (Or should I say “real” life). The interactions are almost all pretty much mundane – talking about random things. The dreams are almost never at all sexual or wild in some other way. But still, it is interesting to talk with different people in a different place.. wherever that is, and whoever they are.

In the past, there have been places in my dreams that I’ve returned to several times – places I’ve not been – parts of a city, a lakeshore or by a river, a very large house.. This doesn’t happen so often anymore though. But, I think last night and this morning while still asleep, I was in some semi-familiar places – places I’d perhaps been before in my dreams.

I feel as alone and separate from people in my dreams as I do in real life. But the feeling of alienation is much less strong in my dreams. I just accept it without thinking much about it – this separateness, this being an outsider. My dreams are not super-happy, but I am not much troubled by this either.

Hmm.. this is turning out to be a much more personal entry than I had intended it to be, but I think this one I will leave here, instead of deleting it.

It is almost 2 am. I do not know when I will sleep. I also do not know when I will next attempt meditation of any kind, or even if it is wise. I certainly do not want to make myself feel worse!

Dreams help the brain though, help the mind, maybe even help my spirit, even if they are mostly mundane. That is ok.

I will happily and gratefully return to the world of sleep tonight, and will do so fairly soon. I will re-enter inner space.

One last thought… maybe inner pace and the waking world are all part of the same? It’s just that we don’t tune into inner space much – because we have to be either meditating or asleep? I don’t know.

What do you think?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2010 4:08 AM

    Sounds like the Astral Plane(sp?) of Exsistiance. That’s what Pagans call it, anyways. The Third eye turns inwards somewhat, not so much into ones-self, but to the Astral Plane, where anything is possible and real. It’s where we can meet with animals and learn their lessons that we might miss in everyday life – like how a Wolf protects it’s pack no matter what, or the confidence of a Large Cat, things we dont’ think about when we see them in the open or in Zoos.

    Meditation is like the Key to opening the door for the Astral Plane. Imagine it like… you have a peice of paper on the table, that peice of paper is your daily life on Earth. Now imagin there’s a SECOND peice of paper hovering a good few inches abother the first without any support – that’s the Astral Plane, a place anyone can go and meet with anyone or anything else – Learn the Nobility of the Dragon, Talk to Jesus or Horus or Zeuz, Speak to Animalsyou might otherwise not meet (such as a rare breed of Tiger or Lion, one Zoos don’t normally put on display or are easily found in the wild, for example) in your daily life, Or learn the deeper lessons fro manimals you see every day! For you it’s birds, right? Falcons, Hawks, Owles and the like – What lessons can they teach you? The Owl could teach you to see PAST the perceived Darkness of a situation, like it does with it’s night vision, but people don’t usually think about such lessons in their every day life, so it’s a bit easier to learn them on the Astral Plane for some.

    As for the mental issue getting worse when you meditate… I have no clues about that o.o sorry D: That’s outside my ring of knowlage atm.

    What MIGHT, (I stress, MIGHT) help though next time you try meditation, if you don’t do this already, is to imagin putting the problem in a box with a lock for the duration of the meditation attempt before you do anything else. This is a standard thing, I think, in regular books on Meditation – Put your problems and mental chatter into a box, or dump them in a well, or a lake or something – sort of like telling your mind ‘I need to deal with these, but not at this moment, I have something else to do right now’, or if it’s really persistiant, imagin a lock or a lid or some such to keep the problems and mental chatter contained until you’re ready to come back, unlock them again, and come out of meditation.
    The Basic idea is you start and end in the same place – most books reccomend a feild, sicne it’s easy for a lot of people to imagin, and wherever else you go during your meditation, you’ll come back to that same feild to snap out of it again and get back to your everyday life.

    Or you could try ‘Guided Meditations’, where someone walks you through the process, A-like so “You find yourself in a feild (Pause) As you look around, you see a (incert animal or person here) just ahead of you, waving you to come closer and talk. (Pause for a few moments to chat with the being) As they depart, you consider all they have told you,” and so on and so forth. Finding a basic guided meditation on Tape or CD might be a bit hard to do but I think theres a few out there somewhere. You could always just ask a friend to read it right from the book as well. *shrugs* Just something to consider.

  2. tomschronicles permalink
    October 28, 2010 12:00 AM

    Wow! Definite food for thought! I have heard about the astral plane. I always wonder if such a thing is real, or a figment of one’s imagination. These things of the spirit are beyond science. Up to each individual to determine what is real.

    Sometimes I believe in the astral plane – maybe some people tap into in fully without even trying. I don’t know.

    I do know that we can believe in things so strongly that strange things happen to our minds, even our bodies.

    This is going a bit off topic, but I think of holy roller pentacostals who speak in tongues and faint during church – that sort of thing. I compare that behaviour to the absolute hysteria that greeted the Beatles when they played their first concerts in America. Women were screaming in ecstasy and falling down and practically frothing at the mouth.. speaking gibberish. They got into the excitement. For the crowd, it was a rock band, for those church goers, it was a religious thing.

    Maybe the astral plane is like this too? People believe in it so much their mind just trips out and ..?

    Honestly, I don’t know. It could certainly be real. All these mysteries, like where do dreams come from, and when I’m drawing a picture – I often don’t know exactly what I’m drawing until I’ve been at it awhile? Where does creativity come from?

    I suppose people can be taught to tap into the astral plane. I am guessing this is easier for people with very visual minds. That is most of us, though some are more sound or touch-oriented.

    As far as using imagery in meditation. I struggle with OCD, and that causes major interference when I try to visualize happy things. My mind refuses to function that way, and I come up with images I’d rather not. I try to gain control over the imagery in my mind, but even in guided meditation, I have found that I cannot. Perhaps with practice?

    To be honest, I am scared to try more meditation. It’s a risky thing. Sometimes I wonder if I’m putting a loaded gun to my head, metaphorically speaking – something that will bring old and very bad symptoms back .. very detrimental to my health!

    Or, I experienced a frightening experience because it is something I need to face somehow and pass through.. and get better?

    Risky Risky.

    I’ve been reading the 4th in a series of supernatural mysteries set mostly in Bangkok, Thailand. There is a LOT of wild Buddhist stuff in these books. The one I am reading now is called “The Godfather of Kathmandu.” The character the title refers to is a Tibetan mystic who went bad.. in some ways. He started out as a monk and ended up as a sorcerer. Strong magic in the Tibetan tradition.

    This is a mind-blowing (or mind-expanding? I should say..) book, and I am reading it, and contemplating getting into Tibetan Buddhism.. more into it. Which means I sometimes find myself in an odd headspace.

    But life brings risk, and a life without risk is no life at all. Sometimes though, it can be quite difficult to determine the difference between a good and bad risk. All risks carry the possibility of a negative consequence – but with a bad risk, the odds of a negative consequence occurring are far higher. In this case – trying to choose whether or not to continue further into Tibetan Buddhism.. I really cannot tell if the risk is good or bad.

    My head is freaking out a little as I am writing this. Part of me, a strong part, wants to play it safe. However, perhaps change is needed.

    Ah well. I will let you know how it goes.

    Do you tap into the astral plane? If so, how do you do it, and what are your experiences like?

    • October 28, 2010 3:32 AM

      I think those people just have a tigher-wound drama string, personally. I’ve never met anyone who fainted fro mmeditation O.o then again I havn’t spoken with many others on the subject since it’s not a focal point for me atm.

      OCD is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, right? Or do you mean something else? Worse I’ve seen of it is washing one’s hands like, all the time without need. but that might be more of a subduded version of it? *shrugs* And the books sound interesting to read, for fiction 😮 sorta like the Harry Dresden Files I’m guessing (find the bad guy misuseing magic, solve a mystery in the process, avoid going bad along the way – fun series, you should check it out, they even made it into a TV series that’s up on youtube but it’s not the same as the book series.)

      I’ve been to the Astral Plane once before. Few years ago, I’d never done meditation before so I wanted to try it, but didn’t really know how – I figured I could start by just doing a visualization of a Desert landscape as pratice, so I got a hold of some desert-themed instramental music to try it with; next thing I know I got these words coming into my mind – mental chatter I thought – so to help quiet it I murmured it outloud, next thing I know I’m not inside a cold basement bedroom anymore, I’m in the hot sunlight and when I opened my eyes all around me was blue sky and pale sand. More happened but I don’t feel like typing it here, cause it’s a memory I tend to get rambling on and I’d like to stay ontopic for now X3;; If your really curious though there’s a whole rambling post on my blog, a seperate page up at the top labled ‘How I got here’ or something like that. Whole thing is explained there.

      I’ve been trying to get back, get questions answered, but I havn’t been able to go back yet, mostly cause it’s my fault for not looking into it further at the time it happened, and the music seemed to play a HUGE part of getting there for me at all, and I don’t have the music file anymore (Computer crashed, totally sucks)

      For different people the keys are different. I count you lucky cause you know how you got there to begin with, even if you had a bad experience, you know what to do to go back should you ever want to, I have no freaking clue for me, other then someone slipping me a chant while trying to just visualize. But I digress.

      If you’re that scared of trying again, then you shouldn’t force yourself to do so; knowing your limits is a huge deal, and if yours happen to be ‘meditation makes bad things worse’ then maybe it isn’t the right time to work with that part of the practice. Ask the leader person who gave you the info about it, see what they have to say; they’re more well versed on the subject of Meditation and it’s effects on the human body/mind then I am, they might have the answers you need, and of course you could and probably SHOULD talk to a doctor about your OCD getting worse before trying meditation again, if things got that bad the first time. Err on the side of caution when it comes to your personal health; just like when you exersize – if something dosn’t seem right, let up, stop, and get it checked out instead of pushing yourself too hard and doing more damage.

      • tomschronicles permalink
        November 4, 2010 1:39 AM

        I didn’t faint while meditating, but during a Zen session, we were taught to hold our arms and hands in a certain position while we were sitting. A “mudra” it was called. I tense up so badly while attempting to meditate that after the 20 minutes was over my arms were cramped in place! OuCh! And there’s always the risk of falling while trying to stand up after sitting in sort-of half lotus position for 20 minutes. After doing that and then going into a walking meditation, well, some of us novices look like we are walking on the deck of a ship during a storm at sea!

        Yes. OCD is obsessive compulsive disorder. With me it’s almost all mental though. Getting stuck on certain interests.. like really wanting to research Buddhism for awhile, or paganism, or guitars, or finance and economics, then getting sick of that particular subject, hooked on something else. Sometimes there are worse symptoms, but I don’t have a typical case involving hand washing or counting things.

        OCD can make those visualization-type meditative practices, such as imagining putting things in a box, or standing in a field.. rather difficult. My mind tends to wander onto more disturbing paths, haven’t had success visualizing and have found it stressful, but perhaps it takes practice? I bet it does.

        The Bangkok books.. well, the character doesn’t use magic in the Western sense, but in the forth book, he meets a Tibetan sorcerer who teaches him some immensely powerful mantras that allow him to clear his head and focus. The main character is not at all a wizard, though. However, there are a lot of supernatural overtones. The third book in the series, “Bangkok Haunts,” is a modern ghost story that creeped me out. Yikes.

        I tried the Dresden files. I like the concept a great deal, but did not like Butcher’s writing style. I read the first one all the way through, but wasn’t pleased with it, tried two more, but gave up on them before finishing. I’m quite picky about books, especially fiction.

        Where my head is at these days, I daren’t get too much into the supernatural. I’ve started reading the book, “Positive Magic,” and like it so far, but am not to the point of putting things into practice.

        I have been wondering a great deal about a .. how shall I put it .. an explanation or reason for mental health problems, something that modern medicine ignores but something shamanism or paganism or Buddhism of some sort can explain.. cure? I hope so!

        I don’t think I tapped into the astral plane, or if I did, I sure didn’t do it on purpose. All I was doing was some Tibetan breathing meditation exercises.. just trying to de-stress.

        I wrote an email to the leader of our little sangha (Buddhist group) this past week. She replied with a very detailed message, saying I should NOT do any of the exercises/meditations that she taught us last month and that are in our little folders for us to take home. She said she talked to a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner (the particular form of Tibetan Buddhism I have been exploring is called Bon Buddhism. It’s the most obscure form of Tibetan Buddhism here in the West, and probably has much more folk religion mixed in than other Tibetan forms) This guy she talked to is a psychologist, and he told her I to tell me not to try this practices unless I’m in a group.

        Hard to believe just doing different kinds of breathing and chakra work can be so powerful! This is not the first time I’ve heard about Eastern methods of breathing being powerful, though. Dr. Andrew Weill (sp?), the health guru guy with the big beard has an audiobook dedicated to breathing exercises, and said on the audiobook that certain techniques he has learned he will not teach, because they are too powerful for people to try with only an audio recording for instruction.

        As far as getting conventional care for OCD.. there is a medication I took called Paxil which eventually stopped working, and the side effects got worse, so I stopped taking it. My symptoms aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be, but still messes me up somewhat at times. Doing better with it at the moment, though.

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