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Thread: Strange feelings during zazen

  1. #1

    Strange feelings during zazen

    Lately I have been experiencing strange tingling feelings in my face whilst meditating.

    It's a pleasant feeling, almost euphoric at times and leaves my face tingling for about 10mins after finishing.

    Weirdly last time it was as if my muscles were in spasm as I couldn't move my mouth for a few mins.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar or any idea why it's happening?



  2. #2
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    South Georgia
    When I first started out I used to get all kinds of weird body sensations. I felt like my body was expanding or contracting, like my arms were getting longer, and many other effects. I'm pretty sure it is perfectly normal. Your body isn't used to not moving for long periods, so your receptors responsible for proprioception start reporting odd stuff, thinking that you can't have possible been still for this long. They assume that they are at fault and therefor report all sorts of impossible sensations and movement that isn't happening (this is a little oversimplified and anthropomorphic but close enough). Don't worry about it, it isn't special and it doesn't mean anything as far as I know*

    * This is subject to change with the arrival of actual zen teachers.
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  3. #3
    Hello Dan. Perhaps your face is always tingling but zazen gives your mind the space to realize it, then you are able to stay in that perception of what is happening for about ten minutes before the other thoughts crowd your perception of it out again.

  4. #4
    RHi Dan.

    I have experienced everything from euphoria to intense panic while sitting. Knowing that everything that happens while sitting is just scenery helps. It helps to let go of the "good" feelings we want to cling to, and helps to let go of the "bad" feelings we want to run from. Sitting on my zafu reminds me of being a kid in the backseat of my parent's car when we went on a long trip: I just stare out the window as the scenery constantly changes. I just try not to take any of it too seriously as it is always subject to change. I also try to remind myself daily that my life and the lives of my loved ones depend upon my sitting practice. On a lighter note, if you are sitting outside, this tingling could just be ants

  5. #5
    What all the Wise folks above already said! Same for me!

    I would just toss out one further small possibility. How much tension are you sitting with in your facial muscles during the sitting? Are you holding tension in the face, with the muscles all scrunched together during the sitting. If so, relax.

    Keep us posted if the feeling continues.

    Gassho, J

  6. #6
    Sounds like your facial nerve is stretched, under pressure or affected in some other way, since the tingling stays for 10 minutes. Just like the sciatic nerve is sometimes affected by sitting. Or it could be a disrupted blood flow in one of the blood vessels supplying the face. Like Jundo said, is there tension in the facial muscles? Is your neck relaxed? Jaws?

    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  7. #7
    Thanks for all the replies, glad to hear its normal.

    I will keep a closer eye on myself today and see if I am holding my face/neck tense.

    Thanks again everyone


  8. #8
    Crazy stuff can happen when sitting zazen - although usually the craziest thing that happens is that we think we are our thoughts. :/

    I've had disembodied feelings, underwater feelings, and almost unbearable libido while sitting. Sometimes my nose just itches. It's hard to tell which is most distracting, LOL!


  9. #9
    Lol sounds interesting, it's amazing what happens when you just sit

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Rochester, NY, USA

    Can't add much to what was said above, but like Jundo said please keep us posted. I tend to doubt it is anything medical, but please keep yourself open to the possibility and take due care if it persists.

    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  11. #11
    When I started sitting, I become more aware of the anxiety that I have and it's physical manifestations. In my case, the stress manifested in my chest and arm led to an angiogram. Now I know to simply listen and let go when my heart talks to me during zazen.


    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  12. #12
    In my experience, finding tension where you never knew it existed, feeling your body in a way that is new, is simply a part of zazen. A phase that I believe most, if not all, of us go through. Accept. Do not hold onto tension. But be aware.
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

    Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil. --Dogen

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ianadams View Post
    In my experience, finding tension where you never knew it existed, feeling your body in a way that is new, is simply a part of zazen. A phase that I believe most, if not all, of us go through. Accept. Do not hold onto tension. But be aware.
    Lovely. Be aware, be awareness ... let all be going, let all just go, going as it goes.

    Gassho, J


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