Sensations While Chanting

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RengeReciter
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Sensations While Chanting

Post by RengeReciter » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:31 pm

Do any of you experience tension in your head when reciting daimoku? It is an intermittent issue whose cause I've not yet been able to locate. I am usually able to do about 15 to 20 minutes of chanting before the tension becomes severe enough to impact the quality of my experience. Worse still, the effects tend to linger after I disengage from that session: racing thoughts, an inability to focus, impaired balance, and sensitivity to sensory stimuli.

There is always the possibility that the chanting is simply aggravating a medical issue lurking somewhere in the background, but I thought I would see if anyone else shared my occasional struggle.

Thank you for your input.

Bois de Santal
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Re: Sensations While Chanting

Post by Bois de Santal » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:29 pm

That doesn't happen to me. My problem is that mucous often seems to build up in my throuat, thus blocking a clean pure sound emanating.

My immediate thought is that you might have a tendency to stress yourself and your body unnecessarily. That is certainly my tendency, anyway, and it is something that I constantly battle with. Have you tried to do a self-checkup while chanting? Chanting should involve very minimal mental and physical activity.

At the conscious mental level all that is required is to chant nam-myoho-renge-kyo - no thinking needed. Easy to say, and something I have great difficulty in mastering. However, I find that if I can't calm my mind my chanting feels very unsatisifying.

At the physical level I find it all too easy to keep my body tensed up, but in fact almost zero physical effort is required to chant. I did a course of the Alexander Technique a long time ago which kind of taught me how to go through the body and check for unnecessary tension. The fundamental problem with muscular/skeletal tension is that when present, we consider it normal and don't even notice it. Again, that is another on-going battle of mine. But basically I try to locate the tension and let it go - fingers, hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, head, feet - let the tension dissipate and float up into the sky. The body and head should start to feel lighter.

I don't know if any of that will help, but the actual mechanics of 'how do you chant' is an interesting subject that isn't much discussed so I'm hoping others have some insights to share.

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Queequeg
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Re: Sensations While Chanting

Post by Queequeg » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:37 pm

What is going through your mind as you chant?
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

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narhwal90
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Re: Sensations While Chanting

Post by narhwal90 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:52 pm

Sometimes tension arises when I chant while sitting in a chair- legs tend to press on the legs, posture gets awkward. At home I sit seiza on the bare floor and am comfortable chanting there to the limits of what my feet will endure, perhaps the very definite posture helps. I find some correlation between stress in the mind and in the body. Reducing volume may help too- I noticed a signficant improvement in comfort while chanting in meetings just by lowering my own volume.

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Minobu
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Re: Sensations While Chanting

Post by Minobu » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:02 pm

Bois de Santal wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:29 pm
That doesn't happen to me. My problem is that mucous often seems to build up in my throuat, thus blocking a clean pure sound emanating.


I Have the same sort of thing. i get all lungy and try to clear it...it's like in my vocal chords..

i think it is a purification thing happening...on a physical level.

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Meido
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Re: Sensations While Chanting

Post by Meido » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:06 pm

RengeReciter wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:31 pm
Do any of you experience tension in your head when reciting daimoku? It is an intermittent issue whose cause I've not yet been able to locate. I am usually able to do about 15 to 20 minutes of chanting before the tension becomes severe enough to impact the quality of my experience. Worse still, the effects tend to linger after I disengage from that session: racing thoughts, an inability to focus, impaired balance, and sensitivity to sensory stimuli.
No experience with chanting daimoku here. But these symptoms sometimes occur in Zen practitioners doing extended chanting (or zazen) who haven't integrated a correct posture and use of breath. For example, excessive lordosis (lower back curvature) and the chest-focused, shallow breath that results can cause these symptoms. The sound of the chanting is a giveaway, i.e. it travels up and out, rather than downward to vibrate the body cavities. Subjectively, one experiences the voice as centered in the upper throat and palate.

The symptoms would traditionally be described as revealing an energetic disorder brought about by incorrect practice. Remedies might include bodywork techniques to reset the posture, free up the diaphragm, and so on. Nanso no ho to release tension and drop the energy down. In acute phase, a little warm sweet sake and sufficient sleep.

Not sure if that's useful.

~ Meido
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The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
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Malcolm
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Re: Sensations While Chanting

Post by Malcolm » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:29 pm

Worse still, the effects tend to linger after I disengage from that session: racing thoughts, an inability to focus, impaired balance, and sensitivity to sensory stimuli.
This is symptomatic of vatta disorder.

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