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RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

I just read Ryan´s account of his Dark night symptoms and I relate 100 percent. I feel all my dark night darkness in my chest in one particular spot in the centre. Most if not all emotions that I experience are experienced as a sensation flowing at the chest area. In my first ever vipassana course (Goenka Tradition) I experienced amazing stuff coming out of that area. I know that to practise Vipassana it doesn´t really matter where you focus your attention as long as you are observing the here and now sensations with awareness of impermanence etc.

But I have often wondered the significance of the chest/heart area. I know for a fact that Sayagyi U Ba Khin, the teacher of S. N Goenka told his students to fouc all their attention on the chest and the be aware of annica there. And on 30 day courses in the Goenka tradition, there are instructions to observe this area for small periods of time...but not for too long becuase the idea seems to be that huge difilements, sleeping kilesas (bhavo sankharas as Goenka terms them) come out from there. And you can bring up some crazy stuff you aren´t ready for if you focus there for too long. Now in the beginning when I started practsing Vipassana, I had these huge AP events where something always occured in the chest area. I would often ask teachers and other students about this but only got vague answers or was told not to focus there. I got no answers why I was experiencing all my dark night stuff there.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
I then went to India to do a Pali language course at Dhamma Giri, the main vipassana centre there in the Goenka tradition. i had to clean out Goenka´s house while I was there as well as dust off his library and the books there. I , with another curious (and naughty) Pali student came across an old book about how Sayagi U Ba Khin taught his students Vipassana and how to attain stream entry, focusing all their attetnion on the chest area, below is an anecdote of this....and it seemed ´such a different approach than what Goenka does. Anyway, after that I started centreing most of my focus on the chest area. Suffice to say the next few years I experienced some profound misery coming out of there. Due to observing this area continuously for some time, my mind now naturally focuses there and it seems all the sensations that matter happen there.

It´s a taboo subject to talk about in the Goenka tradition it seems and I would like to know if there are any explanations out there.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Here is a part of an anectdote from a student of U Ba Khin at this website http://www.skepticfiles.org/mys1/anecdote.htm

On the nineth day there was only a slight sensation of heat
permeating throughout the body detectable only with deep concentration.
Then at 8pm as I was meditating in the south-east room Sayagyi and sayama
entered the central shrine room. Sayagyi sat down near the door in front
of me with Sayama behind him and the lights were switched off. He told me
to concentrate at the centre of the chest and to dwell on any sensation
arising as Anicca. I concentrated as instructed and Sayagyi told me to
concentrate more strongly. As I followed his instructions, pulsations
started arising at that spot. Meanwhile Sayagyi was instructing me to
concentrate more and more strongly. As I continued as instructed keeping
in mind, that everything happening was Anicca, the pulsations changed to
strong poundings in the chest and eventually changed in direction, rising
from the chest and ending in the throat. It was a very frightening
experience as I felt my body being whirled around by some force. But I did
not let go of Anicca nor my concentration at the centre and a series of
thoughts flashed across my mind: the power of rupa (matter)
disintegrating, of death arising, the image of a Buddha appearing, and
then all thoughts of resistance and attachment to what was happening
disappeared and I found myself calm and quiet again. The light was
switched on again and Sayagyi asked me how I was feeling.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
hi nick,

this is a large topic. i'll write my reply in parts.

the chest/heart is a volatile area and skilful training on this region can produce expedient (or possibly merely long-overdue) results. there is much ignorance/confusion bound up in many of the sensations that constitute the heart region; as such, a deep understanding of these sensations can be sufficient to cause release (path-moment).

think of it as an expedient means, similar to kenneth's (and sayadaw u kundala's) technique of paying especial attention to how sensations disappear both immediately and completely, in that it is for advanced practitioners who are able to reach equanimity stage (and probably with some degree of maturity in that stage already). it doesn't do much for all people, but it will do something sufficient for enough of the population to be considered a tool worth transmitting, either as the tool that does the trick to win the path or as a strong support for it.

(cont.)
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
attention to the chest region (sometimes as low as the solar plexus) is a common theme in thai and burmese insight practice, found not in all styles but in large enough number to be note-worthy. my teacher when i was a monk, ajahn ratt, teaches several methods of vipassana he developed himself (all of which i can vouch for in regard to their efficacy toward developing insight into the three characteristics), and several of those methods involve pounding it out at the chest. ive been meaning to write up something about his uncommon methods, as they are the sort of stuff you dream about your very own mister miyagi or whatever telling you to do. in place of that for now, i'll spell out one in brief:

- the technique of turning/revolving attention-

attention to any phenomena/sensation. then attention to the knowing of it, at the heart/chest. then attention back out to an 'external point' in the world (pick anything, a thought, a sound, a bodily sensation, etc), then attention back to the knowing of it, at the heart/chest. again and again, faster and faster, whipping around and around like a supercollider or a centrifuge or a vortex, or an orbit. your sitting body may or may not rock with it too, thats ok, dont worry about it and dont interfere with it (the idea being of course to only give importance to the meditation itself so as to energise it as much as you can, cos you need all the momentum you can get).

eventually it will either get so fast and so intense it becomes unbearable and shhhhripp!, (entrance through suffering door), or it will eventually fade into a tiny pulse, or perhaps not even that, and eventually, bloop! (impermanence or no-self door). the first case ajahn ratt described as 'the mind being torn from the heart'; the second, he commented that 'the mind has become weary of the gravity-pull of desire, and wearing down its attachment, is finally severed from it.'

(cont.)
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: yadidb

Hi Nick,

I'll just add some of my own personal experience to the mix:

After reading somewhere about this whole 'attention to the chest as taught by U Ba Khin' business, I sat down for an hour's sitting and after a while directed my attention to that spot for a while and something I've never experienced before happened.. the body dissolved more and more and more and I felt like I was breaking up, but it was very very pleasant, could be called bodily bliss I guess.. It was quite similar to some A&P (or 'bhanga' as defined by Goenka) I have experienced before, but this experiment was done at home and didn't have many after-sitting-effects like the A&P on the retreat did. (though I was quite wow'd by the whole thing).
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 7 Join Date: 5/27/09 Recent Posts
This is interesting, because throughout my Dark Night stages this was the main focus of my practise, to penetrate
deep what felt like constriction, tightness in my chest and at the bottom of my abdomen. I would go
to the most painful and acute sensations and try and systematically deconstruct them into the 3 characteristics:
1.) annicca, 2.)dukka, 3.) annatta.First really wallow in the pain, feel the sickness of my stomach, then proceed to sense the vibratory aspect of it that it was indeed composed of many many little flickers and micro-vibrations all creating the illusion and sense of solidity.(1.) Then I examined how this breathing, organic mass of a body was infused with this sense of pain permeating every pore of my body and there was the fundamental suffering (2.) aspect of existence. When my mind flinched around, i brought my attention gently back to the fact, that there cannot be found any relief from this elsewhere (2.). I also noticed images arise in mind, imagined conversations with family members where i would be very angry at them and shouting. So i noticed that these were suppressed feelings that had never been allowed to flow freely through my being. I went back to the sensations and noticed that they were beyond my control, happening all on their own (3.). I would do this over and over again. Goenka talks of 'open brain surgery' but it is really akin to 'open heart surgery' in my opinion. You are your own surgeon without any anesthesia whatsoever. If you do this constistently every time you practise with the basic realisation that there is no choice but to face the pain, the only escape route is to escape into reality itself, then you will soon shift into a calmer more tranquil state and find relief. Goenka is extremely good at helping you find vibrations allover your body, seeing impermanence, and cross the A&P. When does he mention the other 2 characteristics: suffering and no-self? They can help.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: SoManyThoughts

I usually check in with that area since that's where my basic emotional state is most obvious. Often I'll find sensations of deadness there, or else a tight/heavey/sad sensation. I usually try to attend to it for a few minutes to see if I can even it out. The reason to do this is that if I don't give it some attention, it ends up being too distracting for me. I'll try

- consciously relaxing the tension
- straightening my posture
- envisioning breath and energy flowing there
- just being curious about the physical sensation and its "flavor"

If none of this breaks it up a little, I'll try just balancing my attention by looking outward for touch/hearing sensations.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
(cont. from earlier)

i know 'the mind and the heart being torn apart' might sound appalling to some folks' sensibilities, but what can i say. sometimes language sucks, and sometimes its the truth itself that doesn't match our expectations. he's actually not talking about anything different from the true self coming out of the illusion of the false self, or your face before you were born, something of that sort. to make it clear, he's talking about path-moment.

actually, another one i could recommend that i got from ajahn ratt is the method (not that uncommon, and actually rather intuitive imo) of just staying with pain exactly where it occurs, *and nothing else*. this means not disappearing into impermanence, not playing 'guess who' with no-self, but only pinning your attention to the reality of suffering (which is so viscerally distressing who cares if its coming or going or self or no-self or what), again and again, until something-finally-gets-the-point. imagine if it were that pain in your chest/heart/etc that were completely unbearable? highly recommended. do it, slip, do it, slip, do it, slip ... eventually profit.

my personal experience with both those methods has played a large part in my progress and i whole-heartedly endorse them to anyone wishing to experiment with literally heart-wrenching techniques.

(cont.)
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Hey Prisonergreco,

I just did the first technique you mentioned in my last sit and I am still spinning out from it. Extremely powerful! I got deep into equanimtiy and even now if I focus on anything, everything kind of zones out and there is just what is being observed. Wow! When I return to earth I will talk about it.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
the latter method, particularly, i found useful on retreat, and i will tell two stories about it that relate to the anecdote you quote:

1- 5 or 6 days into my last retreat (on which i got stream-entry), i was angry at feeling helpless in the face of those tightening and panicky sensations in my chest and throat, and decided that i was not going to have my attention be limited by them any longer. i proceeded to confront them in a very brute force way, determined to outlast/outlive them or die trying. the pain, angst and turmoil was fierce, but it worked, and while i was exhausted, the accomplishment was vitalising. i didnt get path at this point but have no doubt it was a strong support and that some heavy insight was born there.

2- a day or two later, my sits began to be marked by a recurring sense that my body was on the verge of being pulled apart by a strong centrifugal force. this would continue for some time and then quiet down, again and again. to this day i still cant tell if those were runs through re-observation (10th stage) or some weird part of equanimity regarding formations (11th), but either way serious insight was born as a result.

(cont.)
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
with regard to goenka's caveat about focusing too much on the heart region being a risk of awakening potentially deep defilements laying dormant therein, i see his point, but think it is a loss to steer away students who are inclined toward awakening them. a friend of mine was ordained in a forest monastery in burma once - i didn't retain either the sayadaw's or the monastery's names unfortunately - and he said the practice taught there was mindfulness of the breath and resting attention at the heart. that's it. now while there can be a difference in the instructions you give to students you live with and instructions you give to students you're teaching remotely, there is still in the latter case, in the goenka tradition, an assistant teacher on hand at every course. surely this is sufficient for safe passage through the territory. i would say the difficulties encountered by braving the conditions of the heart are due to unrealistic models, faulty expectations, and neuroses cultivated by a culture of taboo and overwhelming secrecy rather than to the sensations that arise as a result of careful attention to the heart/chest region.

ps i once asked a very senior teacher in the goenka tradition once about how craving and aversion really seem to happen at the heart and he said he didn't know anything about this. ... emoticon'

pps this is a huge topic, so far under-discussed here, and with so much good input as seen in all the contributions above, we should probably make a page for it at some point. any takers on organising?
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123

Nick,

I find your account funny. Before I got involved in the dharma, I associated the darkness in the chest with depression. After I got into the dharma, I associated it with peace. Same sensation, completely different reaction.

Go figure.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Prisoner,
I agree whole heartedly...hehe! Seeing as the heart is most often the focus of all my sits, I would love for this to be elaborated on. Already I am feeling the effects of the 1st technique you mentioned. Unbelievable. I´ve been having some wierd activity flowing at my chest all today. And Ive been getting through it without hassle through utilising the 2nd technique you mentioned. Stare the bloody hell out of it! I wish I had this info 8 bloody years ago. I would love to have more knowledge on it. Its got the dhamma vibes flowing. Very grateful!
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi All,

I come at Heart/chest area focus from a different angle, for the most part.

For one thing I was/am in many ways a Bhakti yogi. In other ways I am a cold analytical Emptiness yogi.

I will use the term Heart Chakra to distinguish certain sensations from the blood pump in the chest, more on the blood pump later.

As a Bhakti yogi, the Heart Chakra is the center of Love, Devotion, and Bliss as opposed to the roaring mass of fear etc. that others have described here. Not that I haven't experienced these things in the Heart, just that, mostly, I have had a wonderfully good time there!

Cont.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I began my practice in the late 70's as a Catholic. I would sit in church after mass or other times, with my attention on my Heart Chakra, and my unblinking eyes on the Tabernacle where the Eucharist was reserved. I was either filled with overwhelming Love or Yearning for God, or wracked with sorrow for my sins on these occasions. Other times I would have my eyes closed and my head bowed with similar experience. When the Dark Night hit me hard a little later it was less pleasurable more like the being torn apart Theprisonergreco was talking about.

At some point I learned Centering Prayer from the Cloud of Unknowing and the Jesus Prayer from the the Way of the Pilgrim and thus introduced a mantra practice to the Heart Chakra work that I had been doing.

Sorry about the Christian content.


Here are some of the things I learn then about the sensations that arose in the Heart Chakra. I notice that the smooth muscles of the trachea were contracting when these sensations arose. This would impede the breath somewhat. I found that I could produce these emotional sensations in the Heart Chakra by contracting those muscles. Those emotions had quite a range, from rapture to anguish. I also noted that I could regulate those sensations by controlling my facial expression. By just tightening the corners of my mouth a little, the Zygomaticus muscle, and softening the eyes I got positive, happy to ecstatic feelings. By relaxing my face completely I got calm, peaceful feelings or maybe neutral empty feelings. Sometimes I would sit in the pew and flip back and forth between these two states at around once a second, maybe a little faster. I still do that sometimes.

Cont.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
If I made a sad face, knit brow, slight frown, inner eyebrows raised, sensations of sorrow to anguish would arise. The more extreme the facial expression, the more I contracted the trachea, the more powerful the sensations would become. If I was alone in the church I would sob with joy or anguish, with my eyes full of tears. The tears might sometimes have had something to do with staring unblinking for tens of minutes...

At some point I found that my breath was spontaneously stopping at the end of the out breath, sometimes for 20 or more seconds. This intensified whatever sensations were taking place. I found that I could do this on purpose, though it probably worked better if it happened without me noticing. When I noticed that I needed air it would bring me down a bit. I got into a rhythm where I would start the in breath before the need for air took my concentration off the object of my devotion.

These days I don't often do anything resembling these practices. Sometimes these sensations arise spontaneously. Or if I am listening to Hindu Devotional music, Bhajans, I will go rocketing off into Bhakti states. Back when my wife and I were in the Honeymoon stages of our relationship I would get hit by Heart Chakra peaks of Love/Bliss that would sometimes literally shake me off my feet. She must have thought it very strange. Now when I get a little of that love current going when I am looking at her she just goes, “What?” Oh, well, sigh...

Oh, I do wear a Buddha smile for as much of the day as I can. Or a bigger smile that I let grow whenever I meet someone's eyes. This keeps a little happy light going in the Heart Chakra as I go through my day. The really neat thing is that it is contagious!

Ed
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Ed,

Great post! Don't worry about the Christian content: I actually find this very relevant for understanding my own development. For several years during my teen-age I attended various churches, served as an acolyte, got into the shallow end of a charismatic youth movement and so on. But the devotional thing never really got off the ground with me. Funny thing is, looking back, I definitely made insight progress! I remember some distinct mind-and-body moments, and some access or soft jhanas, but always during my private prayer time, never in any community service. The insights and jhanas certainly felt significant, but I wanted the devotional roller coaster like everybody else..., and that never happened. At last, I found the path to my heart in metta (loving-kindness) practice, which I only discovered when I got into studying Theravada Buddhism. This is again ironic, as devotional practice is not exactly the main selling point of Theravada.

I'd love to hear your take on how the brahmavihara/divine abodes fit in with devotional states and practices.

Cheers,
Florian
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi Florian,

I am glad you weren't bothered by the Christian content. The 'sorry' was for anyone who might have found it irritating. But given my personal history I can't talk very long before that sort of thing comes up.

Ed

Ed
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Alex002

Here's part of another anectode from a student of U Ba Khin
(found at http://vipassana-inquiry.gmxhome.de/files/imc.pdf, Personal Experience, page 29):

After some developed meditation on Saturday-night (20th December 1952), Vipassana was
started at 10 o'clock in the morning of Sunday, 21st December 1952. I concentrated on
the burning in my body - concentrated with other words in Dukkha (Suffering) - felt the
burning inside till I felt myself almost burning like steam on the surface of water. Then I
had to concentrate the total heat, total suffering, on the central part of my body until the
suffering grew even unbearable.
At the last moment when I felt myself about dying, it was as if my heart was pulled out of
my body and at the same moment - wanting eagerly to be freed from Dukkha - with a
sudden but a small flash of light I was out of it and felt a refreshing coolness and delight,
which word cannot describe. It is an escape and a refuge from all daily trouble, too great
to be understood, when not experienced. And the great bliss is that every one can
achieve his state; provided he has a pure mind at least for the time of concentration, has
the right intentions, attentiveness and concentration, and anyhow tries to live as pure as
possible.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
compare:

'eventually it will either get so fast and so intense it becomes unbearable and shhhhripp!, (entrance through suffering door) ... ajahn ratt described as 'the mind being torn from the heart''

with

' I concentrated on
the burning in my body - concentrated with other words in Dukkha (Suffering) - felt the
burning inside till I felt myself almost burning like steam on the surface of water. Then I
had to concentrate the total heat, total suffering, on the central part of my body until the
suffering grew even unbearable.
At the last moment when I felt myself about dying, it was as if my heart was pulled out of
my body and at the same moment - wanting eagerly to be freed from Dukkha - with a
sudden but a small flash of light I was out of it and felt a refreshing coolness and delight,
which word cannot describe.'

pretty cool huh?
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Here is another anectdote from a student of U Ba Khin.

we were instructed to begin
with the breath-lip awareness and, when attention was fully gained
there, to shift the focus to the fontanelle, which, as the coming-
together point of the skull bones on the top of the head, is the “most
sensitive point” in the human body. As a result of successful
concentration here one begins to feel pricklings, stingings, itchings,
or burnings. By widening his attention he is to “push” or “widen”
this tingling area over the crown, then down the sides of the head,
and finally down through the whole body. The goal is to gain such
a body-awareness that a person can focus his attention on any one
point in the body in such a way that separate physical sensation
springs up there at will—evidenced by burning or prickling. As he
grows in power to do this, he tries more and more to center his
body-awareness in the heart-chest region, which is the core of man’s
psychophysical being, according to Buddhism, and the last refuge
of those impurities he is now seeking to “destroy.”
The burning, prickling feelings which come at this stage serve
a double purpose: as already noted, they make the meditator vividly,
personally aware of anicca, that great slayer of all conceit and I-
ness; and second, the appreciation of anicca in relation to the
burning sensation leads to the actual destruction of one’s impurities,
i.e., the bad results of evil deeds done in past lives. Therefore, as
the tender of a refuse-burning operation, the meditator keeps poking
the fire (by meditative attention on various parts of the body) until
even the hard, wet, heavy lumps are burned. My head was apparently
such; it never properly burned

from this website : http://host.pariyatti.org/treasures/A_Thousand_Lives_Away_Appendix_Winston_King.pdf
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: LamaTGTsering

Read your two postings with openess and interest. Relaxing, smiling... allowing the "chest area" ... the "spiritual heart" to open, is often accompanied by grief, hurt, past trauma arising... feelings that may be "stored" there.. and are now being cleansed out. Not sure what an AP event is? Opening the heart is not equivalent to allowing emotion to sway or distort consciousness. Awarness arising as a feeling sensation, surprise.. to find something quite different than emotion.. different. Relaxing, allowing this "heart sensation" to open up... following the feeling..has led to some wondrous surprises... open to discussion.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: LamaTGTsering

interesting phrase... whole heart ed... not ... mindfull... but heart full... realx, smile into the heart... follow the feeling... enjoy... and let the joy become
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

I'm glad you posted this, Nick, as I have been struggling with chest pain like you describe for some time.

It is my belief that it this pain is partly physical: I have a fairly tight middle back, and the pain is reduced with a good chiropractic adjustment (which consists of laying down over a fist behind the back and a strong thrust downward). The pain is referred to the chest. The other part of the pain is associated with feelings of hatred, anger, and fear.

It is usually easy to tell the difference. The emotive pain is experienced only during meditation, and vanishes immediately upon opening the eyes and spreading out the concentration. The physical pain lingers, and has a slightly different quality (it is certainly more localized).

One time I had a girlfriend sleep with a friend of mine. I was very upset, to the point where I could not meditate. Even in waking, my chest felt like a hot ball of molten metal. I was filled with feelings of rage and self-loathing, as well as physical agony. At wits end I swore to sit for a full hour, and during that almost unbearable sit the solution came as clear as day - I needed to punch the guy. I was surprised, but my heart was clear. And so I hit him, and the pain immediately disappeared.

(It's very odd to me that I believe in non-violence and yet I cannot muster any sort of guilt or shame about hitting him. Intellectually this scares me because I can imagine people using this as justification for far worse violence.)
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
im not at all surprised (and can actually relate). clarity as we know it via spiritual practice isnt about eliminating our reptile/mammal brain, its about seeing things, including the operations of the reptile/mammal brain, as they are. hence, we dont eliminate our feelings, we see them 'as they are' (impermanent, suffering, no-self), rage and all. i strongly doubt things like fistfights and even murders would end if the whole human world was enlightened (though i doubt doubt wars would continue to be waged, at least to the extent they are).

you had a priceless experience/realisation - do you see now, if you didnt before, how the 'training in morality' is just as important - if not even more so - for enlightened people or people who want to get enlightened? only if a viable alternative can be found to the trainings of keeping your feeling-based actions in check and of trying to be a good person, would i suggest people disregard, or even de-prioritise, them. the every-spontaneous-action-of-enlightenment-is-ok thing doesnt really cut it in my book.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 5 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Two ideas on this... If the action is spontaneous, it's much safer to say it was unconscious rather than super-transcendental-perfect-conscious. Although the extent to which we control or decide our actions is a tricky one to ultimately answer, it's much more grounding to assume that at least some of our actions are simply bad habits and need to be carefully watched -- and how do you know if this next action is going to be appropriate or not? Be careful all the time! Have fun, but be careful!

The other idea... When you get "the perfect idea of what needs to be done in the future" it is important to realize that this can change and so feel free to change your mind. I can remember a few times having >perfect< understanding of what needed to happen, but as I watched the situation change it occurred to me that it really wasn't appropriate anymore... yet I still wanted to do it, because I didn't want to be wrong. Wow, and it would have been soooo wrong, too. So anyway, don't get locked into an action no matter how right it seems.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
You have told us how it turned out for you. How did it turn out for them? Don't read a judgmental tone into this. I just want to know. More to the point, it is important for you to know. Did punching the guy leave everybody better than they were before? Then it was a wise thing to do. If the total suffering of the universe went up while it went down for you locally, then it might not have been the best thing to do.

I am not there on the ground and so do not have an opinion.

Live and learn is always good advice.

Ed
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

Hi Ed. Well, I think things turned out ok. He got a cut lip, I think she felt a little proud of having guys fight over her, actually (although I wasn't fighting for her). I am no longer in contact with either of them, but don't feel any ill-will toward them. If I was an objective judge I'd imagine I would say "It was wrong, but as wrongs go it was pretty minor." In a world where African school-girls are raped coming home from school and then outcast or killed by their own families for being so victimized, is a punch really something to get worked up over?

I think, too, that it will make him think twice before doing something like that again, which can only be to his benefit.
Trial And Error, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: The heart/chest area and it´s importance in vipassana

Posts: 116 Join Date: 2/27/13 Recent Posts
And on 30 day courses in the Goenka tradition, there are instructions to observe this area for small periods of time...but not for too long becuase the idea seems to be that huge difilements, sleeping kilesas (bhavo sankharas as Goenka terms them) come out from there. And you can bring up some crazy stuff you aren´t ready for if you focus there for too long.


I didn't know Goenka discouraged that. But it makes sense. I did it for probably a little too long in my first 10 day Goenka course, both out of curiousity and it was an intuition. Maybe I shouldn't have done it. I felt tightness in my chest and decided to deal with it. I kept my attention focused there, observing the sensations. In the beginning it was just painful sensations, that I could deal with. As I observed them they did their thing and disappeared. (Looking back now, that might have given me some permanent release from some unresolved emotions.) But "under" them came very strong sensations. Much stronger than I could deal with. Might have been better to not dig too deep and deal with them when time is right. On the other hand, now I know what they are..Maybe that's a plus.

So I can attest to the idea that you can bring up crazy stuff by focusing there too long. The stuff that comes up can overwhelm your ability observe them equanimously.

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