Faces in the carpet.

Collapse
X
 
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Tin_Sandwich
    Member
    • Feb 2014
    • 21

    Faces in the carpet.

    Hi,

    Please tell me that the faces staring back at me from the carpet during zazen will cease over time. No matter where I rest my gaze there is a different face each time. Why is it always faces that I see, in the carpet, curtain patterns or clouds? It is I must confess very distracting.

    Gassho Steve
  • Myosha
    Member
    • Mar 2013
    • 2974

    #2
    Say hello and let 'em go.

    Repeat as needed.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Last edited by Myosha; 08-27-2014, 07:38 PM.
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

    Comment

    • Myoku
      Member
      • Jul 2010
      • 1487

      #3
      Hello,
      i sit towards a wall with a certain structure on it. I saw a lot there, like persons appear in a dream, things and faces. I never felt that this distracted me, Rather I felt love or compassion towards them, zazen has such an effect to me. If it distracts you, perhaps you can look at something less likely to be perceived as faces, empty floor or wall maybe ? Gassho, Myoku

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39221

        #4
        Ah, the mind playing tricks! I recently had the wavy carpet effect (described below) sitting with Sydney in Mississippi ...

        All manner of sensory "tricks" can occur during Zazen. Sensory deprivation, and really paying attention to objects of sight that we usually do not pay attention to (the patterns on the carpet, for example) can have such an effect. These things usually are connected to the mechanics of the visual sense, and often beyond our control. It is just an optical illusion.

        Seeing patterns on the carpet or wall you are looking at, and floor undulation, is kind of like this effect produced by a bad carpet:



        Another common effect is to see "spots in the eyes". Most are there all along (floating impurities, early cataracts and such of the eyeball itself), but we just do not notice them until we sit still. Many are just the "cones and rods" of the eye that were there all along. The cones and rods of color, for example, are always present in our eyes, but we do not give them notice so often in day to day life. In Zazen, what is always there just stands out sometimes, and the brain plays some tricks by seeing "connect the dot" patterns.

        The eyes contain cones and rods for color that we usually do not notice (but, if you look at any object closely, you will see little dots of color, much like the picture tube of a color tv):

        Intended for elementary and secondary school students and teachers who are interested in learning about the nervous system and brain with hands on activities, experiments and information.


        The sensory deprivation effect at staring at the white surface just brings the little dots to our attention, and they play pattern tricks in the brain.

        Like a new pair of glasses, the brain will adjust and soon not notice the dots as much. Maybe we are subconsciously looking for the patterns, and thus noticing the patterns. If we just forget about them, they usually go away.

        The brain tends to try to recognize objects in formless patterns such as we see the "man in the moon" or bunny rabbits in clouds or Jesus on a piece of toast. There is even a scientific name for it: Pareidolia

        A group plans to scour the planet via satellite imagery for human-like features. Why do we see faces in our surroundings?


        However, visual hallucinations are common in Zazen. Not a worry, nor of any particular importance other than as an amusement, possibly with a small lesson about how we create the world through the senses. What you are seeing is a fine lesson on how the mind can create a sense of reality. Learn that lesson, and return to just sitting.

        My suggestion: Change the carpet where you are sitting to something with less pattern suggestion, more monotone and a different color.

        If you would like to read a much longer post on "Makyo" illusions during Zazen, I will paste it below.

        Gassho, Jundo
        Last edited by Jundo; 08-27-2014, 07:47 PM.
        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • Jundo
          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
          • Apr 2006
          • 39221

          #5
          THE LONG VERSION:

          I have had many similar experiences scattered over the years, my body feeling very large or spaceless, a sense of floating. Once, a tiny Buddha popped out of the wall and we had a little conversation. In the Zen world, it is typical not to pay any special attention to such times.

          In Zen Practice, we have to be careful of certain games the mind will play during Zazen once in awhile ... including unusual visual and auditory sensations, brief periods of paranoia or panic, memories arising from deep down in our subconscious. Once, during a Sesshin, I became irate inside because I felt the monk at Sojiji sitting next to me was "encroaching on my space". I once had a little Buddha pop out of the wall and chat with me for several minutes (I pinched myself ... he stayed!), and felt like I was floating in the air. It is common during Sesshin, because of the strains involved, the "sensory deprivation", to experience such things as emotional swings, hearing becoming so sharp you can be disturbed by an ant walking across the room, strange bodily sensations such as feelings of floating or being giant sized, and paranoia.
          Do not drive them away or forcefully push them out ... neither grab them, cling to them or stir them up. If finding oneself doing any of that, simply open the hand of thought and let them go.

          If it happens once in awhile, it is not a particular concern ... just an interesting moment. If it happens very often, we may need to see what you are doing that may be causing such experiences.

          -------------------------------

          All manner of sensory "tricks" can occur during Zazen. Some are quite interesting, as seems this one. We may note them, but do not particlarly encourage them in our little corner of Buddhist meditation. ...

          In Zen Practice, we have to be careful of certain games the mind will play during Zazen once in awhile ... including unusual visual and auditory sensations, brief periods of paranoia or panic, memories arising from deep down in our subconscious. We are not used to the stillness and quiet of Zazen, and it lets certain memories, emotions, fears and like psychological states rise to the surface ... or allows some things (spots in our eyes that are always there even though not usually noticed, background sounds) to be noticed that are usually blocked out by all the noise and busyness in our heads, senses and around us.

          If it is just once in awhile ... and if you are aware of this, and it was not too overwhelming ... then I do not think it cause for worry. If it becomes too overwhelming, break off that sitting and take a little time off until you cool down. If it becomes a regular event, or too profound, that may be a sign of something else that needs to be approached. But, once in awhile ... I would not be concerned.

          We tend to call such things "Makyo", defined as follows (by Daido Loori Roshi). He speaks of hallucinatory like experiences ...

          In Zen, hallucinations are called makyo. It is not unusual for practitioners sitting in meditation for long periods of time to experience makyo. Some people feel like they are levitating, others see visions of the Buddha bathed in light, some hear sounds or voices. This in itself is not a problem. The problem arises when we confuse these experiences with enlightenment. When students come to me in dokusan to give me elaborate description of their makyo, a common response from me could be something like, “Oh, don’t worry about it—it will go away. Maybe you’re not sitting straight.” In other words, don’t attach to it. But if a dream is real, why isn’t makyo real? Are dreams, makyo, enlightenment and delusion the same, or are they different?
          We learn from all these experience ... we learn how the mind is like a theatre, and creates our experience of the life-world.

          I also posted this once ...

          Sensory deprivation, and really paying attention to objects of sight that we usually do not pay attention to (the patterns on the carpet, for example) can have such an effect. These things usually are connected to the mechanics of the visual sense, and often beyond our control. It is just an optical illusion.

          A dry as toast, but good book on the topic is Dr. Austin's Zen and the Brain ... he has a discussion of all manner of hallucinations here (from about page 373).

          A neuroscientist and Zen practitioner interweaves the latest research on the brain with his personal narrative of Zen.Aldous Huxley called humankind's basic trend toward spiritual growth the "perennial philosophy." In the view of James Austin, the trend implies a "perennial psychophysiology"—because awakening, or enlightenment, occurs only when the human brain undergoes substantial changes. What are the peak experiences of enlightenment? How could these states profoundly enhance, and yet simplify, the workings of the brain? Zen and the Brain presents the latest evidence. In this book Zen Buddhism becomes the opening wedge for an extraordinarily wide-ranging exploration of consciousness. In order to understand which brain mechanisms produce Zen states, one needs some understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain. Austin, both a neurologist and a Zen practitioner, interweaves the most recent brain research with the personal narrative of his Zen experiences. The science is both inclusive and rigorous; the Zen sections are clear and evocative. Along the way, Austin examines such topics as similar states in other disciplines and religions, sleep and dreams, mental illness, consciousness-altering drugs, and the social consequences of the advanced stage of ongoing enlightenment.


          Seeing patterns on the carpet or wall you are looking at, and floor undulation, is kind of like this effect produced by a bad carpet:



          Another common effect is to see "spots in the eyes". Most are there all along (floating impurities, early cataracts and such of the eyeball itself), but we just do not notice them until we sit still. Many are just the "cones and rods" of the eye that were there all along. The cones and rods of color, for example, are always present in our eyes, but we do not give them notice so often in day to day life. In Zazen, what is always there just stands out sometimes, and the brain plays some tricks by seeing "connect the dot" patterns.

          The eyes contain cones and rods for color that we usually do not notice (but, if you look at any object closely, you will see little dots of color, much like the picture tube of a color tv):

          Intended for elementary and secondary school students and teachers who are interested in learning about the nervous system and brain with hands on activities, experiments and information.


          The sensory deprivation effect at staring at the white surface just brings the little dots to our attention, and they play pattern tricks in the brain.

          Like a new pair of glasses, the brain will adjust and soon not notice the dots as much. Maybe we are subconsciously looking for the patterns, and thus noticing the patterns. If we just forget about them, they usually go away.

          The brain tends to try to recognize objects in formless patterns such as we see the "man in the moon" or bunny rabbits in clouds or Jesus on a piece of toast. There is even a scientific name for it: Pareidolia

          A group plans to scour the planet via satellite imagery for human-like features. Why do we see faces in our surroundings?


          However, visual hallucinations are common in Zazen. Not a worry, nor of any particular importance other than as an amusement, possibly with a small lesson about how we create the world through the senses:


          Hallucinations and Illusions

          Kornfield (1979, 1983) noted that there was a strong correlation between student reports of higher levels of concentration during insight meditation, when the mind was focused and steady, and reports of altered states and perceptions. He reported that unusual experiences, such as visual or auditory aberrations and hallucinations, and unusual somatic experiences, are the norm among practiced meditation students. Walsh (1978) reported that he experienced hypnagogic hallucinations, and Goleman (1978-79) reported visionary experiences during deep meditation. Shimano and Douglas (1975) reported hallucinations similar to toxic delirium during zazen.

          ... Earlier, Deikman (1966a) reported that during meditation on a blue vase, his subjects' perception of color became more intense or luminous, and that for some of them the vase changed shape, appeared to dissolve, or lost its boundaries. Maupin (1965) reported that meditators sometimes experience "hallucinoid feelings, muscle tension, sexual excitement, and intense sadness."

          The contemplative literature contains numerous descriptions of the perceptual distortion produced by meditation. It is called makyo in Zen Buddhist sources, and is characterized in some schools as "going to the movies," a sign of spiritual intensity but a phenomenon that is regarded to be distinctly inferior to the clear insight of settled practice. In some Hindu schools it is regarded as a product of the sukshma sharira, or "experience body," in its unstable state, and in that respect is seen to be another form of maya, which is the illusory nature of the world as apprehended by ordinary consciousness.

          In a similar manner, St. John of the Cross described the false enchantments that may lure the aspirant in prayer, warning that "devils may come in the guise of angels." [51] In his allegory of the spiritual journey, The Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan described Christian's losing his way by following a man who says he is going to the Celestial City but instead leads him into a net. In all the great contemplative manuals, one is taught that detachment, equanimity, and discrimination are required for spiritual balance once the mind has been opened and made more flexible by prayer and meditation. Illusions and hallucinations, whether they are troubling or beatific, are distractions—or signposts at best—on the way to enlightenment or union with God.

          Resources, media, information and tools you can use to enhance your understanding, expand your mind, and feed your soul.
          Move along folks ... nothing to look at here! :-)

          Actually, it is all a fine lesson in how the body-mind-self-world are all interconnected.
          What you are seeing is a fine lesson on how the mind can create a sense of reality. Learn that lesson, and return to just sitting.

          Gassho, Jundo
          Last edited by Jundo; 08-27-2014, 07:47 PM.
          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

          Comment

          • MyoHo
            Member
            • Feb 2013
            • 632

            #6
            Hi,

            I had to paint over a spot on the wall a while back. Kept seeing things in it. Even Jundo with a long beard once. Also, almost every time, flower like rainbows expanding to the ege of my vision. After a while, its just part of sitting. Once I jumped up and ran inside the house because I was convinced there had been a tremendous explosion. I heard it clearly! My wife was sitting on the couch watching a show on TV peacefully, staring at me in amazement. There was nothing wrong at all. It can be very powerfull sometimes. amazing how our brain works.

            Gassho

            Myoho
            Mu

            Comment

            • Daiyo
              Member
              • Jul 2014
              • 819

              #7
              Well, my concentration must be very weak, I've never seen anything.
              I've read something about Makyo in Aitken Roshi's "Taking The Path Of Zen"

              Maybe I'm usually so busy trying not to get entangled in thoughts that I do not pay any attention to the sense of vision.

              Interesting anyway.


              Gassho,
              Walter.
              Gassho,Walter

              Comment

              • Joyo

                #8
                Originally posted by walter
                Well, my concentration must be very weak, I've never seen anything.
                I've read something about Makyo in Aitken Roshi's "Taking The Path Of Zen"

                Maybe I'm usually so busy trying not to get entangled in thoughts that I do not pay any attention to the sense of vision.

                Interesting anyway.


                Gassho,
                Walter.
                I am the same as you, Walter. Never seen anything during zazen. Just sitting with my thoughts, as they come and go.

                Gassho,
                Joyo

                Comment

                • Mp

                  #9
                  I have had things disappear during zazen. I know my eyes are not closed and I am awake, but the wall in front of me is no longer there. Kind of a weird experience ... but mostly no faces stop by for a visit. =)

                  Gassho
                  Shingen

                  Comment

                  • Nengyo
                    Member
                    • May 2012
                    • 668

                    #10
                    I get faces in my carpet on nights when I'm tired. I also get the disappearing thing. Never whole walls, but things that are in plain view. It never really bothers me. I just chalk it up to mind games and keep sitting.
                    If I'm already enlightened why the hell is this so hard?

                    Comment

                    • Nengyo
                      Member
                      • May 2012
                      • 668

                      #11
                      Originally posted by MyoHo
                      Hi,

                      I had to paint over a spot on the wall a while back. Kept seeing things in it. Even Jundo with a long beard once. Also, almost every time, flower like rainbows expanding to the ege of my vision. After a while, its just part of sitting. Once I jumped up and ran inside the house because I was convinced there had been a tremendous explosion. I heard it clearly! My wife was sitting on the couch watching a show on TV peacefully, staring at me in amazement. There was nothing wrong at all. It can be very powerfull sometimes. amazing how our brain works.

                      Gassho

                      Myoho
                      Hahaha, I've never had that happen during sitting, but I've had it happen while falling asleep. I'll hear something really loud, wake up startled, look around only to see a wife, boy, and kitty all sound asleep.
                      If I'm already enlightened why the hell is this so hard?

                      Comment

                      • MyoHo
                        Member
                        • Feb 2013
                        • 632

                        #12
                        Mu

                        Comment

                        • Geika
                          Treeleaf Unsui
                          • Jan 2010
                          • 4977

                          #13
                          I have had my boundaries dissolve, and I've seen faces and all sorts of twisting of objects. Sometimes, everything turns black and white. Weirdest is when my limbs feel like they are twisting and rotating... Nothing to worry about, ha! There is also a distracting face-place in my wall. I just tell myself to go with it, but not indulge in daydreaming.
                          求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
                          I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

                          Comment

                          • Jundo
                            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                            • Apr 2006
                            • 39221

                            #14
                            Speaking of optical illusions, Genkaku posted this today.

                            Are they two or many or one?

                            this is why I said it sounded cajun http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRxJow0jOrI&list=PL70EAD8D5981589D8The song is officially German and is called "Hiss - TA...


                            Gassho, J
                            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                            Comment

                            • Jika
                              Member
                              • Jun 2014
                              • 1337

                              #15
                              As this thread is about visual phenomena and the eyes: I don't really get what to do with them.

                              When I'm floor-gazing, they go out of focus, like going soft.
                              Then, Taigu said somewhere not to lose focus but watch the wall like watching distant mountains.
                              That's good for staying very attentive, but has me blink a lot (more than I would watching mountains).

                              How can I sit right in front of a wall, but not focus on the wall nearby, not unfocus, but watch mountains in the distance that are not there??

                              This is a very zen-ny question...

                              Gassho,
                              Danny
                              治 Ji
                              花 Ka

                              Comment

                              Working...