Friday, July 13, 2007

David B Asks a Question about "Witnessing Sleep"

David B submitted this question July 12, looking for feedback from readers here. Please consider posting a comment below with your insights and experience for David. Other readers with questions or posts they'd like to submit to readers can contact me directly at

'I've just been looking at your 'remains of ignorance' piece, in which you talk about possible memory problems as a result of extended practise of TM.

I wrecked a lot of printing plates at Rheinweiler, because of lack of focus. Fatigue might have had as much to do with it as over meditating, though. we once worked 54 hours out of 60, to get a publication to the airport a minute before the plane to India left.

But to the point!

There seem to be be quite a lot of pretty hard core escapees on your blog, and I'm wondering if any of them had any similar experiences to mine.

If I recall correctly, I didn't have any sleep paralysis experiences before I went to Rheinweiler, and had the heavy duty rounding and work programme that being in Rheinweiler involved at the time.

While there, I started having experiences of being awake while sleeping, so to speak, which I associated, as one does, with 'something good is happening'. 'Like, wow, i'm witnessing sleep! that is a sign I'm really making progress' was my first response.

However, these experiences were also rather disquieting. Feeling unable to breath. Sensations of heavy weights on chest and stomach area. Sensation of some entity trying to gain ingress into my body through the stomach area.

I now know that these are classic sleep paralysis symptoms.

I didn't then.

I mentioned it to a few people.

The Rheinweiler rationale was on the lines of 'Rakshashas are trying to intervene with our noble work of bringing enlightenment to everyone'.

At that point I was so far down the Rabbit Hole, as Joe puts it, that I used that as a working hypothesis.

More evidence that I was doing good in the world by committing myself to the movement.

I'm very curious to know if the onset, or exacerpation, of sleep paralysis experiences was a common occurence in heavy rounding.

Since leaving Rheinweiler, and as time has gone on since stopping meditation, these experiences have become increasingly rare, and it must now be more than a year since the last one.

At one time in my life, though, they were pretty common experiences. A couple of times a week, occasionally more, as I recall, at Rheinweiler. Every few weeks after getting away from the core of the movement, once or twice a year over the last 10 years.

There's no place in your blog to open a topic, so I wonder if you could pose the question of whether sleep paralysis can be a side effect of meditation to those present.

If so, feel free to quote this mail,

David B

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