That "Electric Feel" body sensation during meditation
Meditation skill level: greater than beginner, less than adept.
Before I can get to the Electric Feel, we need to come to a mutual understanding on how I get there.
I have a specific technique to my meditation that I have sown together from random scraps of multiple religions(taoism, buddhism, christianity(yes they meditate), Islam and new age stuff). Imagine my technique to be a pyramid that has many levels(plateaus). I must achieve reaching the first level before going to the next. If I am on the third level and stop doing something that was required to reach the first level, then I have to gone down to the first level again and must work my way up from there.
The first level is Breath... of course. 4 seconds in, and 4 seconds out. The attention is on breath. Continues until this process requires no counting of time and is automatic.
Second level is muscle relexation over then entire body. The attention is on the entire body in a state of rest. During the first and second levels one must shrug off all thoughts that are worldly worries or thoughts that are hindering your progress.
Third level is Electric Feel. I can feel what I would call an energy running circuits through my body. This sensation can be directed through intention: If I want to feel energy coming in through my head and go down my spine, it can happen.
Levels after 3 are theoretical. But I feel like I can feel my 'Asteral Body'.(when answering you may disregard anything about the Asteral Body if it has no correlation with Buddhism)
So is this sensation a normal one for meditation? How can I move past this sensation to deepen meditation? Are my 'levels' accurate to what Buddhism teaches? What level comes after the electric feel? Does Buddhism support the notion of an Asteral Body?
This electric feel is also impermanent in nature. Arising and passing away at a tremendously high rate. Knowing this at an experiential nature will help you. Trying to maintain this sensation or supercede this will only cause more misery in the long run. It's hard to let go of pleasant sensations than overcome unpleasant ones but it is possible if you keep trying with patience and persistence.
I have been doing meditation fot some 25 years now, but lately i have been astro projecting seeing pyramids covered in Gold and then at times I can feel my entire body is riddled with electrical current that makes my hair stand.
Could be the "Arising & Passing Away" stage of insight? See here for more details on diagnosing and what to do next: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1509672
This feeling is Piti. It is also in sphere of the sensual world hence has the 3 marks of existence. It arises and passes away. You should try to look at it more and more closely until you see it. At some point this will also disappear and turn into either pain or a neutral feeling. When you get the neutral feeling you should be very careful as not to loose the balance of your mind as equanimity is easy in pain and pleasure but hard in this instance. If you examine closely this is also impermanent as you will see things arising and passing. If you see arising and passing of phenomena in each and every part of your body then you are experiencing bhanga-nana. You should see it in remote places in your body also like your earlobes.
This can result either due to Jhana or that through Vipassana where you have either suspended or eradicated (in case of Vipassana) some of you bad Karma which might give you birth in a lower realm for that stretch of time. (In Jhana there is a temporary suspension of the such rebirth linking karma. If you dies with your Jhana you are born in a higher existence.) This does not mean that you can keep them suspended always in Jhana or other periods where some old residual Karma giving you bad rebirth linking result will not surface in the future in the case of Vipassana. Through Vipassana you can eradicate all rebirth linking Karma starting from the lower realms and progressing to higher realm. When you have eliminated all rebirth linking Karma and mind comes to a state it does not acquire any new rebirth linking Karma then you will enter Nirvana. Even when you enter Nirvana you can still have non rebirth linking Karma. Also the present feeling are associated with Karma which you have done with attachment. (Interpretation as per my understanding according of Ledi Sayadaw linage.)
All being said don't get attached to it in any way nor wish for it to pass away.
While this may sound similar to the second jhana, I don't think it is. In second jhana the rapture (
piti) is enveloping all body, it may be somewhat more bright around chest, or head, or armpits, but not to the point of being specifically localized. You can move the ball of excitement up and down the spine at will, right? I did this. It is a kind of winds-and-channels yoga they do in Tibetan schools.
Since you have gotten this far, here is a task for you: can you achieve a permanent state that won't require an effort to maintain, and will stay with you forever post-meditation? Solving this is what made Buddha, Buddha. Anything else is child's play ;)
Never knew this had a name.
I can do it at will and during my childhood it happened to me a lot when being close to certain persons, in this case it was localised on the front of my head.
It feels like goosebumps but without any hairs rising.
I have however a more mundane explanation for that: I think that this is a semi-voluntary (or voluntary) contraction of small muscles or at least it is a nervous signal that we transmit to the muscles.
I am pretty sure that it is that because the feeling is very similar to the one you get when you lift weight and use "intensity, this is a (sort of) technique that makes you use much more muscles and power for a given weight (it doesn't get lighter, the aim is to get a better result), this is very usual among body-builders.
I have always been curious about that and when I was doing zazen I often did it, but in the end the effect is just that you concentrate on this particular purpose, nice to feel but defeating the purpose of meditation.
For a few months now I've been experiencing this lovely enveloping feeling within seconds of closing my eyes, deepening as my focus deepens. I was intrigued when Andrei Volkov wrote 'can you achieve a permanent state that won't require an effort to maintain?' This was exactly what I was wondering, will this become more permanent if I let it be? During day-to-day activities I regularly feel as if this lovely feeling is there somewhere nearby and when I least expect it, it fleetingly appears. I only intended to meditate in order to become more tranquil and just counted these tickly feelings as a bonus.
Just from my own experience I experience a lot of electric type sensations when meditating. Sometimes they can be fairly mild but at other times they can be so intense as to physically jolt me.
Just reflecting on this I think there are two things going on at different times. When I haven't meditated as much as I usually do or I am going through a particularly intense time outside of mediation then I will get the jolting type of sensations. When meditating I can spot a kind of stuckness that if I meditate on it can come out surges of energy that can be intense. This will then be a feature of meditation for a while then it will subside and meditation will be calmer.
At other times when mediation is progressing and I have more time for it I can get electric sensations at the end of a meditation session when I am particularly calm or focused. This could be piti (not sure). It is less intense but can also be associated with a few more meditation bells and whistles such as feeling out of body or maybe feeling that sensations are a lot more fluid (like a waterfall).
As other people have said I do my best not to get attached to these. Also I try not to anticipate them or certainly not to actively chase them - however it's sometimes useful for me to be open to the possibly of them. To be honest I'm not particularly putting this forward as any kind of definitive (or even helpful) answer. It's just an experience that I'm actually finding quite useful to write down. If anyone has any comments I'd actually be very grateful.
- So is this sensation a normal one for meditation?
I have many weird sensations while meditating but not this one. However, lots of my classmates do so I'd say yes.
- How can I move past this sensation to deepen meditation?
Move past it by ignoring it. If you're paying attention to the sensation or thinking about it, you aren't meditating.
- Are my 'levels' accurate to what Buddhism teaches? What level comes after the electric feel?
As far as I know, there are no ubiquitous or strictly defined "levels" to meditation. If it helps your meditation, then it's a useful classification. If it doesn't, then ditch it.
- Does Buddhism support the notion of an Asteral Body?
From my experience, there is strong support of a subtle body, astral body, spirit, soul, or whatever you want to call it.
Remember, when meditating, try to not visualise, imagine anything or analyse with your physical thoughts (stay relative), just plain awareness, so you can benefit from it further more (trust your senses).
When you higher your vibrations during meditation (by breathing and intend), you start to feel your light (astral, etheric) body (electric sensation). The deep relaxing (friction) breathing helps to move your energy between chakras making the intensive connection and your whole body start to vibrate (you can learn how to consciously move this energy) and how to let it flow. Whilst circulating, the life force (Lung/Vijñāna/Qi) follows certain lines of energy (meridians in Chinese, nāḍī in Sanskrit) and as your light body gains in strength through these practices, it gains a great resistance to negative energy (it's expelled consciously). When you feel the vibration - you feel the etheric (mixture of etheric frequencies of light or astral vibration). When you learn how to control this sensation, from there, you can train and develop many interesting abilities (ESP, OBE, RV and many more).
So to answer your question, yes, this sensation is perfectly normal during meditation.