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I started meditating 2 weeks ago and I feel like I have been meditating forever. The things that I am doing during meditation are mind blowing. Now I feel electric in body constantly , waves upon waves of buzzing and vibrating. My teeth actually hurt. It’s almost like a ball of energy usually in my head constantly vibrating. I can move it anywhere in my body and hold it there for a short period and then it goes back to my head/ brain. I don’t know if this feeling is normal it’s actually exhilarating. I’m not complaining I just don’t understand what is going on. I am not a spiritual person but wow this is crazy. I a 49 year old rational completely normal person but what I’m feeling is unexplainable. I guess my question is, is this feeling normal or explainable? It can’t be normal or everyone would meditate all the time. Feels like magnets constantly pulling and pushing me.

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  • Physical and mental side effects of intense concentration are not uncommon. Don't get addicted to them. They're not the point of meditation, they're just one effect. I recommend finding a teacher in your preferred tradition (or if you don't have one, just finding any local Buddhist group that seems to have a good reputation).
    – Zac Anger
    May 4, 2023 at 1:49
  • See also this question (I just found out about the Greatest Hits view, which is very useful!)
    – Zac Anger
    May 13, 2023 at 18:27

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Most of the other answers are canonical Pali. If I might offer a take from the Zen perspective...

All of this is completely normal. It's a good first sign and an indication that you are proceeding in the right direction. The body is naturally energetic. Ki flows through us whether or not we believe it exists. We don't create this current or "turn it on". Instead, you could say that we discover it once we move some of our grosser defilements off to the side. Ki was always there, it was just hidden by our mental habits or simply by our lack of awareness. Meditation, as you've found out, is one way of revealing this fountain of energy. In this preliminary stage, other practices like tai chi, yoga, etc. can be just as effective.

So you've discovered this energy. Great. Now your meditation practice can actually begin. You've described these feelings of energy moving through your body or coming in waves. Such fluctuations indicate a few things. The one I want to deal with here has to do with wavering attention. When you begin to feel this current of energy arise, rather than looking at it or getting excited by it, passively sit in it like you would sit in a warm bath. After a few minutes (or a few seconds depending on your temperament) you are going to be tempted to move your physical body. Don't. Any movement is going to essentially reset your energy meter back down to zero. The longer you can sit without moving, the more opportunity that energy will have to grow. Practice just that for a couple of weeks. An hour or so of DAILY sitting will suffice for now. As you do this, any number of things may begin to happen. You might start shaking involuntary. You might want to scream. You might feel like someone is twisting you into knots. Whatever happens, just stay with it. And be fair to yourself. This part of the process can be overwhelming. If you really can't take it anymore, get up and walk around for a minute or two before resuming your practice.

Once you've succeeded in keeping your body still for an hour or more, you may begin to notice that your mind is still slipping around the inside of your head like a slick bar of soap. Sometimes it's on the breath, sometimes it's involved in a fantasy, sometimes it's in your left arm, and sometimes it vanishes altogether. While your body may remain still and while your energy may continue to arise, you can clearly observe your mind cantering down any number of mental threads. Now is the time to begin collecting all of these mental strands and gathering them together in one place (incidentally, that's the literal definition of the word samadhi). In other words, where before we worked on keeping the body stable, now we are going to work on doing the same thing with the mind.

There are a number of ways of doing this. The Pali canon suggests the breath or a kasina. Tibetan folk might employ a deity visualization, etc. In Zen, we just pick a spot on the wall and stare at it or apply our attention to a spot just beyond the tip of the nose. Any of these will work. What's important is how you maintain this attention. It's extremely important that you don't apply too much volitional energy. Instead, be as light a humanly possible without dropping that object of attention. Applied and sustained stability, not force, is the name of the game. Think of the minimal amount of energy you'd need to hold a feather up against the wall with your index finger. You don't have to press until your finger nail turns white. So as long as the slightest contact is maintained and your finger remains stable on just that one spot, that feather ain't going anywhere. Be light. Be consistent. Above all, be stable.

If you are able to sit with a more or less stable mind for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, get back to us and we can talk about opening up your energy channels are really getting that energy to flow. See you in a couple of years! ;-)

Enjoy!

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  • Just to clarify for future readers, some of your answer is Sōtō-specific, is that correct?
    – Zac Anger
    May 13, 2023 at 18:28
  • Our sangha is actually Obaku zen - which is just a fancy name for Rinzai. That said, what I described is basically just shinkantaza practice. I don’t think there’s anything in there that a Soto person would take issue with. Seemed like a good approach for OP since he seemed to be clinging a bit. Nothing like shinkantaza to cure you of that!
    – user22122
    May 14, 2023 at 19:41
  • Thank you for the clarification!
    – Zac Anger
    May 14, 2023 at 19:58
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It's perfectly normal to feel forces and currents of energy moving through the body. If it feels good, even ecstatic, then it means your energy channels are fairly open, since you also mention being able to direct the energy around specific parts of the body. If your channels were not open, or not open well or even completely blocked as the case with most people, then the forces would be uneven, you might experience pain, pressure, discomfort in various body parts instead of pleasure. Try to relax more thoroughly, eventually your teeth and any other body parts won't feel tense. Don't get attached to pleasure, that will smooth out and gradually disappear the longer you meditate correctly.

If you're feeling strong pleasure in the body as you describe, you're most likely on the jhāna continuum. To make sure it's jhāna, you have to get the mental part of the program correct. More detail in my analysis here:

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  • Excellent answer!
    – user22122
    May 9, 2023 at 19:18
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WARNING: YOU HAVE NOT EXPEREINCED JHANA OR ANYTHING RELATED TO JHANA. Jhana is attained by making "letting go/surrender" ("vossagga") the meditation object (SN 48.10). If you attain jhana, the body & mind sit for many hours, in serene silent bliss. To the contrary, when there is the delusion of attaining jhana, the mind goes crazy posting about fake-jhana & hating on certain monks on every chatsite on the internet. Real jhana is a "Brahma-realm", where the mind is also saturated with loving-kindness born from being saturated with inner well-being.

Based on the narrative in the question, I can only guess you are practising what is called "Wrong Concentration". That is, you are concentrating with much too much effort & too much willpower, which causes the mind to suppress & recirculate the already stored stressful mental energy in the nervous system of the physical body.

This wrong concentration that suppresses the stored stress plus the delusion of meditative success can also cause the meditator to get excited; therefore a type of impure 'rapture' is generated, which gets mixed with the suppressed stress, causing the various side effects described in the narrative in the question.

Lol - the question narrative reminds me of my first few days of attempted meditation.

In Buddhism, what is called "Right Concentration" is founded in letting go. Rather then pressing down the mind (in wrong concentration), Right Concentration is silently quietly opening up the mind, which allows the already stored stress energy in the nervous system to rise up & dissolve. Any 'rapture' that is generated will be more pure & stable.

In summary, you are using a wrong technique or have misinterpreted some instructions.

The monk below gives a demonstration of wrong concentration versus Right Concentration:

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