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During my past several meditation sessions, which have been getting a little longer (approx 20 minutes now), I have noticed that my eyes twitch and move involuntarily -- it feels similar to the eye movements you can see when people are in REM sleep.

As far as my meditation is concerned, it feels very distracting -- it typically occurs when I feel like I'm on the precipice of deeper concentration, but it results in so much motion and tension that it typically breaks my concentration.

Has anyone else encountered this before? After googling around, I found one meditator explain that this was a sign of slipping into "trance," not of deeper concentration. Is that a thing? Any thoughts on remedies? Thanks!

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    Question: are your eyes open or closed? I have been having the same thing happen to me (eyes open), and it always seems just at the precipice of getting deeper into that concentration state. I don't have a lot of experience so I was wondering if it was a neurological thing specific to me, or just to be expected with concentration meditation. I also notice that it coincides with the peripheral objects (those objects I am NOT concentrating on) starting to fade out or become distinctly surreal. – Jeff Wright Apr 17 '15 at 13:25
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    Eyes closed. It's been getting better as I train myself to notice it, but not get caught up in it – Ian Taylor Apr 17 '15 at 14:19
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    Any update on how it goes, Ian? I started to experience the same eye movement in my last couple of meditation sessions. It comes when I reach a deeper state of concentration and reminds me of REM sleep movements as well (eyes closed too). I can deal with it for some minutes, although it's a bit uncomfortable. Did not find much about it on the web.. Have you trained to not let it happen? Thanks! – user7691 Jan 27 '16 at 18:01
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    Yeah, I've definitely learned to ignore it. Now I don't even notice it, and it doesn't really happy as much anyway. I guess that's the point of meditation-- you learn to deal with a lot of minor annoyances, and get to much deeper truths as a result :) – Ian Taylor Jan 27 '16 at 18:08
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If you feel alert, and not sleepy or distracted while it happens, it may be one of the things that naturally occurs as you start to get deeper concentration.

A number of vaguely unpleasant experiences can spring up- aches, itching, etc.; they come with the territory, and aren't problems in and of themselves, although they may feel frustrating when you're starting to enjoy the sense of concentration.

Take note that it happens, and take note of the feelings of frustration or distraction as they emerge. If you have time, see if you can sit until you get to the other side of it; but don't worry too much if you can't, right away. It's likely a sign that you're doing well, believe it or not.

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I started experiencing the same phenomenon a few months back. Originally, the eyes movements were very controlled, but during one session they went absolutely insane, rapidly jerking in all directions. In the beginning, I was quite fascinated, as it reminded me of REM sleep as well.

However, I began experience these eyes movements incessantly, involuntarily, in and out of meditative states, to the point where it would happen at work and I would have to leave my desk until my eyes calmed down. To be honest it happened so much that my eyes actually physically hurt and I had a lot of trouble sleeping. I've had a CT SCAN, MRI, EEG, and so far they doctor's are very much out of their territory..in other words they have no idea what is going on. They do however don't believe it to be a seizure, so perhaps that will help calm your mother.

I would just say be careful, as this has caused a lot of unwanted chaos in my life. Good luck with it!

  • Good advice to bear in mind – Ian Taylor Jun 9 '15 at 0:56
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I use a form of concentration practice called zhine that is used in Tibetan dream yoga. It is similar to kasina, in that it involves sitting and staring at a little coloured disc. You're supposed to keep your eyes from blinking and gaze constantly at the disc. If the eyes move it's very noticeable! But, you do learn to deal with it effectively.

What I have noticed is that the movements of my eyes correspond with movements in my mind. As I become more concentrated, my eyes move less. The eyes are the windows to the soul, after all. (Note: the eyes are constantly moving, but in very small, generally imperceptible ways. Just to be clear, I'm referring to the movements that we would actually call movements in general life.)

I also find that when "on the precipice" before a deeper level of concentration, extra mental energy occurs. I think this is because the energy being wasted in unconcentrated mental activity becomes available as that activity ends. It feels good and can manifest as joy, and/or can be overwhelming and distracting. If I make an effort then these changes are not distracting and actual form the basis for entering the next level. Greater mental energy allied with good focus are, naturally, what you'd require for a deeper level, so it would seem to follow.

The main thing I try to remember is that it is not the goal to become concentrated, it is the goal to practise concentration. Concentration is a by-product of concentration practice. Just as stronger muscles are by-product of physical exercise. What's important in both is to focus on a) doing it, and b) following the correct technique.

Nowhere have I ever seen a practice include the directive "and when you lose concentration, become annoyed with yourself". Distraction is normal, all you need to do is to be aware you've lost some focus, and then refocus.

Hope that helps.

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When you meditate some of your old stock of conditioning / fabrications comes to the surface when you are not creating new fabrication. This is like old fuel burning (wood at the lower layers) when you are not adding new wood to the fire. When some of the old stock of fabrications or karma start coming out in quick succession this might lead to a "storm" or "lollercoaster experience" like vibration or pulsations or even eye movements.

Also when concentration is deepening vibrations (twitching, pulsing, etc.) do arise. This is due to Piti.

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Whenever you feel your eyes moving too much or straining during meditation, relax all tension around the eyes. Your eyes will tense up again, and when they do, relax the tension again. Check in with the tension on your eyes every few moments, and repeat this relax step as many times as necessary. Eventually your eyes will get used to staying relaxed and it will be easier to notice when you're straining them. It also helps you balance your energy in meditation by letting you know you're trying too hard.

Pay attention to what it feels like for your eyes to be relaxed when you close them naturally in your daily life, like when you brush your teeth, or wash your hair or lay down to sleep. Try to notice the position of the eyes and how relaxed they are. Then try bringing that, or replicating that feeling, when you start meditation.

Once you're familiar with this feeling and your eyes are relaxed, experiment with increasing your mental concentration without moving or straining your eyes. Walking meditation is an excellent way for you to learn how to develop concentration without unintentionally focusing or squinting your eyes.

If nothing else works, don't meditate for a day 2-3 days so that your eyes can rest and you can break the bad habit. Sometimes time itself is enough to reset our habitual actions.

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I get this too, don't fight it ! Let your eyes go out of control and relax. My eyes tend to go wild right before the calm. This typically tastes a lot of energy out of me and I sometimes end with a temporary headache. But sometimes if you relax enough and just let your mind take you, you will discover pretty intense emotional things. Many times I have gotten almost visions or strong connections with something much greater and I cry istantly before I even know what hits me. It's honestly so incredible and beautiful.

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https://www.adf.org/rituals/meditations/basic-meditation.html, that is actually the first clue that you are falling into deeper meditation, at that state it is very good for your brain, and you are stimulating that part that only happens when you are asleep, but you are doing it while awake. It takes me about 15 minutes into meditation to reach this point. Just keep going and you'll reach a new level. <3

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I get this rapid eye movement as soon as I start my meditation, however the movement isn't whats breaking my concentration, it is a pain right on top of my eyes. I do meditate with my eyes closed. But is it bad that I get this so fast?

  • Dear friend, it seems you have a question. If you have a question, then feel free to ask it. If you see someone asking the same thing, look at that question's answers and see if it helps, if not ask your question. If you think that the people who answered the previous question can answer your's too, then ask it in the comments or invite them to a chat in the chat rooms. You should not use answer section to ask questions. – Theravada Apr 1 '16 at 11:28
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    Okay I will re-do my question properly later. Thank you. – Morihei1883 Apr 1 '16 at 18:13
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i do agree the REM is sign of deep meditative state, so what you experience is a gateway already. My personal experience is one REM state during meditation at a guru house( part of yoga teacher training in Inida). The last day i got REM state , while the guru is saying wonderful. The REM lead me to a certain vision, and it was so vivid. However, after i was back, i hardly get to the REM during meditation. Now i am studying lucid dream. REM can induce a perfect lucid dream during medtation if you can get into the state.So for you, for those can easily get REM, it is your advantage. Try to make good use of that to lead to your a dream state. I also wonder if anyone know how to induce REM.

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