Body heat during meditation
Meditation has been a regular part of my morning every day for the last 3 ½ months, and for the longest time, nothing in particular has been happening. I have been more in the present moment during my day, but my sitting meditation is a constant and patient re-directing of my thinking mind to my being-mind.
But earlier in the week I began noticing I’ve been getting really hot during my meditation. I thought it might be hormonal or something, so I’d open the window and sit right in front of it. I thought it was kind of weird that even in the pre-dawn chill in my light summer pajamas, I’d still be able to sit right in front of the window and not get a little bit cold. But it felt great.
I did a quick search online on “body heat during meditation” and found studies that were done with Tibetan monks where cold wet towels were placed on them while they meditated and steam would soon rise. The towels would soon dry on the monks and some went through five sets of cold wet towels.
Funny, now that I’ve been more aware of my body heat during meditation, I haven’t gotten as hot and I had to wear a light blanket over my shoulders.
Inner body meditation
As you may have read in my previous post, I’ve been listening to the audio book version of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. It is profoundly affecting my practice and I understand the Dhamma in a simpler way that speaks more clearly to me. In the book, Tolle describes the energetic inner body, a spiritual body, the body without mind.
He also gives instruction for an inner body-focused meditation. I have always done Vipassana, or Insight meditation, with focus on the breath or being a witness to the changing conditions around you and within you. I’ve also tried out meditating with a mantra in previous years. But not on the inner body.
Eckhart Tolle instructs us on the inner body meditation somewhat like this:
- Sit in your comfortable posture with a straight and dignified position.
- Closing the eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax.
- Follow your breath for a few minutes. This comes quite naturally to those who practice Vipassana.
- Become aware of the entire energy field of your body. Feel it, don’t think about it.
- If you need to, visualize this energy field as light, but don’t hang on to this visual aid.
- When you can feel this energy field, let go of the image, and focus only on the feeling. Drop any mental images you have remaining of your physical body.
- All that is left is the sense of presence and being-ness; the inner body is felt to be without the form of the physical body.
- Take your attention more deeply into the feeling of the inner body and become one with it. Merge with the energy field.
Now this did take a bit of imagination on my part. I have to be even more focused on my body during meditation to do this, so I begin my meditation with a body scan – from the crown of my head, going down, feeling the body and relaxing the body parts. It takes quite a bit of focus just doing that and my mind wanders, but I bring it back to where I left off and I continue.
When I’ve gone through my body and am aware of it, the first time I focused on my energy field, it took a little while for anything to happen. My attention seemed to go deep into my heart area and when that happened, my hearing became more acute and suddenly my whole body buzzed and tingled. I could feel my entire body tingling, especially at the crown of my head and my heart. It felt like a big WHOOOOSH and it became rather hot. It was a overwhelming, a little bit, but I tried to go with it, surrender to the energy, and not be afraid. I wasn’t afraid, probably just a bit in awe as I tried following my breath, yet focus on my energy field that was lighting up like a torch.
I must have been putting in too much effort, because after a few more seconds, the intense sensation eased, then continued to fade until I was back to “normal”. The tingling would come and go, but not like the energetic torch I first felt.
The next morning, I could access my energy field much easier, but the sensation was far milder. I tried going deeper this time, but again, the efforting must have caused my consciousness to back away. Every morning has been like this, pretty much since my first big discovery. But now, sometimes even focusing my attention on my inner body energy field during my waking day causes a small sensation and it’s interesting.
Thing is, I have no idea if this sensation is really the “inner body’s energy field”. I don’t know what to expect, nor do I know if it was all in my imagination or poor circulation or what. But I plan to continue to add this practice to my breath meditation every morning just to see what happens. Much of this is all experimental. What better way to find out than by doing it, right?
Have you done the inner body energetic field meditation practice, described by Eckhart Tolle? What was your experience?