Issues with meditation - strange experiences, unpleasant feelings: advice

every so often on dhammawheel there are posts where someone has problems.
Examples from the last few weeks:

While meditating, I experience many experiences such as shavering, body shaking, tears flowing from the eyes and at last white light (nimitta).

When nimitta appears then i did to pay attention continuously. at first there’s no any problem with my meditation. however in May 2022 (1 year after started meditation) I felt there is moving wind on my face but I was ignore it and every meditation time always happened until the wind energy occurred on my forehead. The wind can change positions and sometimes caused my lips to move, sometimes felt in the gum and went into the face. I continued to ignore however i can feel is wind pressure on my head and wind movement on my face when i’m not meditating (daily life).

I stopped my meditation on October 2022 because the pressure became more stronger than before until i can’t hold it anymore. I have stopped meditation around 6 months but the pressure on the head is still present and sometimes I feel there is wind moving on the face even when I’m not meditating. The wind energy can move, when waking up in the morning, the wind goes to stomach area and will go up to the head during noon time.

another one:
Hi all,

**Anyone knows why there is violent shaking during meditation.**I’ve been staying with the Breath for 2 days off the cushion 24/7 + 1-2 hour sitting meditation and my body is violently shaking to the point where I had to stop meditating.Its almost like Parkinsons involuntary tremblings.I thought maybe I am just in a bad angle but I noticed even with a straight posture it starts trembling from within in waves then just violent waves all over my body…it’s too much.Like an earthquake.I have experienced this before but stopped meditating for awhile and now that I picked it up again the strong vibrations are shaking me.

Anyone has any theory or idea why?

I don’t shake in my normal day to day life only when I am meditating.

My advice is usually along these lines:
It will take time to get over this.
Try to avoid awareness at the facial area, take up a hobby even. But it has to be subtle - trying to push it away is not what is needed.

If you can, learn Abhidhamma- as that will begin to break up the idea of a self. If that understanding goes deep enough all issues start to fade away.

And then real satipatthana can arise - where any feeling is seen as simply conditioned.
Bhavana - the pali term for for mental development- is very subtle.

If real bhavana is present it must come with pleasant or neutral feeling: not strange experiences. It is not so much about concentration as understanding, detachment and acceptance.

And take heart, many people go through this issue. Eventually it will be in the past and you will see it as just another one of life’s learning experiences.


For this post I would like to emphasize the part about "learn Abhidhamma- as that will begin to break up the idea of a self. If that understanding goes deep enough all issues start to fade away."

A nun in the time of the Buddha couldn’t find even a little bit of peace.

  • Verses of the Senior Nuns 5.1
  • The Book of the Fives

An Unnamed Nun (2nd)

In the twenty-five years since I went forth I have not found peace of mind,even for as long as a finger-snap.

Failing to find peace of heart,corrupted by sensual desire,I cried with flailing armsas I entered a dwelling.

I approached a nun in whom I had faith. She taught me the Dhamma:the aggregates, sense fields, and elements. (Sā me dhammamadesesi,

When I heard her teaching,I retired to a discreet place.I know my past lives;my clairvoyance is purified;

I comprehend the minds of others;my clairaudience is purified;I’ve realized the psychic powers,and attained the ending of defilements.I have realized the six kinds of direct knowledge,and fulfilled the Buddha’s instructions.

Note that the the Vibhanga - the second book of the Abhidhamma, has chapters on each of the aggregates, sense fields and elements


For Shaking issue, i presume 3 probably causes; could be either (1) half lotus posture, follow with over attempting to straighten the back, (2) spinal “injury” combine with frequent long hour of sittings, (3) purely mind “experience”, or combination of 1,2, 3.

  1. Best full lotus, else Myanmar style of sittings (both legs on floor).

  2. For a quick probable solution, can try yoga, search in youtube for “half spinal twist” (bot does not allow a link here)

  3. In case if one follow the breath that causes shaking, can do space instead of breath.

(I got this technic from a Bhante, for tension on top of the head and forehead)

[quote]Put both palms together right in front of your face, thumb touching your nose with eye open. Slowly open up your palms to the side, both sides about 8 inches; total about 16 inches (distance is only a reference). Hold it 1 minute and know your two palms simultaneously; NOT with your eyes!

Put down your hand; repeat a few times.

Then raise both palm directly open a few times, know the space within your palm, but not your palm; know it, DO NOT bother much on the distance.

Close your eye and start sitting. Sit for a while, relax. Raise your palms with direct open and know the ‘space’ for a while. Put down your hand and maintain knowing that space for a while.

Let your muscles relax completely, maintain your consciousness within that ‘space’, let the knowing of breath fade away.[/quote]

Continue with space for a few sessions, it will become a habit and hopefully shaking goes away.

If this work, then only go back to the breath as object. Continue from above with

Hopefully when there are 2 objects, one main plus the other background; chances of following could be eventually eliminated. Once used to NOT following the breath movement, then let the space fade away.

This is not good. I think you are looking to have “feeling” during your meditation. Some teachers promote that. They often get mystical too. You are likely using your eyes even though the eyes are closed. Please don’t do this. It is not good.

Video yourself. And try to understand what causes and does not cause this to happen. Through trial and error, you will learn more about yourself. Do not do this shaking and other stuff that affects your physical body. Sit in a chair until you figure this out. Then you can rule out posture in the meantime.

Remember that meditation is a mind door only process. If you think about a math problem. Your body does not react this way. I believe that people use physical sensations as a crutch to believe they are meditating. It is purely mental. Video yourself and as @RobertK said, learn abhidhamma especially the sobhana cetasika which are always present in wholesome consciousness what more to say about proper concentration?. Furthermore, you should really have a sense of knowing… that knowing should cause the joy.

Whatever you focus on in meditation, it will grow.
A nimitta arises from knowledge and concentration. Ask yourself if this nimitta exists without knowledge of the object or concentration… what are you really knowing… or are you just “looking”?

Lastly… maybe take a different meditation object, like a non-visual non-physical object. like one of the triple gem objects, or your sīla.

Disclaimer… It is best you speak with a pa-auk teacher instead of talking about this on groups.

Best wishes.


This is an important point by venerable @bksubhuti . Pleasant feeling (sukha vedana) is said to be the bait of the round (of samsara).
So while I mentioned that bhavana can only arise with pleasant or neutral feeling, such feelings are no guarantee of wholesome (kusala) citta. There may be subtle clinging that is attached to the object.

Thus I think we can hardly overstate how delicate is the development of both samatha and vipassana.
Nevertheless it is not impossible, but we should be discriminating and unrushed in this task.

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Ven bksubhuti,

I have been trying to practice anapanasathi.
I started getting tightness in face muscles, forehead , pulling of upper teeth and tightening the top of the head. Tried relaxation, but later it stated even before I started meditation- even when thought of breath
So, I gave up meditation and later tried meditating on abdominal distention.
Again I have started getting tightness in the forehead, some pressure on top of the head. If I concentrate on this, I feel like ants going on my scalp.
but the tightness never goes off. I am not intentionally trying hard, but I feel the abdominal distention, or even the breath very clearly
This has started even with walking meditation.

When I ask my teacher, all he says to ignore and go on- but its really hard and even occurring even if I am not meditating now.

Anyone has a similar experience? value opinions pls


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Welcome to the forum.
All of this is very common among meditators, especially those who take breath as an object.
However breath is considered one of the most difficult subjects to properly develop samatha.

I will add some more later today

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Try meditating with your eyes open when you are tight. I bet that helps a lot.
Try to avoid feeling physical sensations or even feeling the breath if you are getting tight. You can simply know the breath when it in and out without doing much effort.
Later, you can focus on a single point at the tip of the nostrils when things are better. While reading this post, can you know your breath? I think you can.

Try to learn about sobhana cetasikas. They will be present during rudimentary concentration or any wholesome citta. What more to say about deep jhāna?

Lastly, there are 40 samatha meditation objects to choose from. You would be surprised to know that there are many yogis who cannot be successful with ānāpāna but are successful with other types of objects.

Buddhānussati could be good for increasing faith which can also increase your relaxation.

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Right. We can also add Dhammānussati where there is reflection on the profoundness of the Dhamma taught by the Buddha.
To be useful both of these rely on sufficient background in the Dhamma.

Ven. Subhuti mentioned relaxation and this is passadhi, tranquillity. And samatha also needs detachment and wisdom (all three also present in the development of vipassana).

So if there is clinging to the objects or agitation or confusion about it there is no samatha. However these factors - clinging and agitation and doubt can be objects of satipatthana - in this case they are seen as not self, as simply conditioned elements. In fact they can be quite good objects in this case as it shows the anattaness - the uncontrollabilty of phenomena.


Ven bksubhuti,

many merits for your advise.
I tried Buddhānussati -not exactly concentrating on one of the buddhas features, but by starting from the “arahan " upto 'bagavathi” and vice versa.
still I started getting tightness in the forehead and the vertex.
I will try it with eyes open the next time

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Meditation is a translation of the pali word bhavana, also translated as development.
What is crucial is understanding the nature of sati and the other factors present during bhavana. Is there genuine non-attachment or is there aversion or a subtle wishing for pleasant feeling. If so there is no bhavana, no matter one is thinking arahan or bhagava etc.

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Another object for bhavana is Metta - friendliness.
here is a short book on this …
metta sujinb.pdf (271.7 KB)