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Sudden hearth rate increase

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Sudden hearth rate increase

Postby cup0ftea on Fri Jun 05, 2015 7:38 am

Today I was sitting and focusing on "Who am I?".

About 15 minutes later of concentration I had an insight. The insight was that the last obstacle for finding peace was the desire for peace itself. I had heard this before, but this time it was like I was discovering it for the first time.

After that I had a sudden hearth rate increase, like someone has after running fast. My muscles also started spasming, specially the abdominal ones. My hearth rate became normal after 1 or 2 minutes, the muscle spasms lasted about 10 minutes. I tried to maintain concentration despite what I was experiencing, but I was unsuccesful.

Even though my hearth rate increased by alot, I felt no pain or fear.

I would like to know if that usually happens with practitioners at some point. Is this sudden hearth rate increase something I have to worry about? I have experienced muscle spasms before, but never experienced this sudden change of hearth rate.

Thank you.
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Re: Sudden hearth rate increase

Postby Nonin on Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:21 pm

cupOftea,

I've never heard of this happening as a result of zazen or as being part of zazen practice. If I were you, I'd consult a physician and report what happened.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
Soto Zen Buddhist Priest. Transmitted Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi.
Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
http://www.prairiewindzen.org
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Re: Sudden hearth rate increase

Postby cup0ftea on Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:08 pm

Nonin wrote:cupOftea,

I've never heard of this happening as a result of zazen or as being part of zazen practice. If I were you, I'd consult a physician and report what happened.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin


Thank you for answering Nonin.

So it's not something common like I thought. I will definetely consult a physician if something like that happens again.

One thing I reflected after I posted, is that our hearth rate usually increases when we have strong emotions such as being excited or scared. Maybe the hearth rate increase was just an emotional response?
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Re: Sudden hearth rate increase

Postby Nonin on Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:53 am

I encourage you to see a doctor. These are symptoms that could lead to something serious. Self-diagnosis is not the best course to take.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
Soto Zen Buddhist Priest. Transmitted Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi.
Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
http://www.prairiewindzen.org
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Re: Sudden hearth rate increase

Postby Nonin on Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:31 pm

All,

desert.woodworker (Joe) posted the following on this thread, but this is the Ask a Teacher Forum, which is restricted to direct questions asked of participating teachers, so his post was disapproved. However, I felt that Joe's post would be important for cupOftea to read, so I've copied it and posted it here. I hope that no one minds.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin


Here's Joe's post:

I myself have noticeable heart arythmias at certain brief times in zazen, which I can influence by changing the breathing details. For me they have not been a sign of pathology. But one ought to have this checked. My electro-cardiograms are boringly normal, Doc says (whew).

My observation of myself, and I think the consensus medically, is that the heart irregularities are caused by slowed breathing, and by some interaction with the vagus nerve, the largest nerve in the body. Interesting!

Medical papers exist on this topic, specifically and pointedly upon the medical-scientific study of Soto and Rinzai meditation practitioners and Masters. One paper which appeared in 1999 is referenced below at the US National Institutes of Health (NIMH) archive.

Let me echo Master Nonin's suggestion to have a medical check-up regarding the heart function. Note that the abstract of the paper referred to ends with a line to the effect that it is not known (as of 1999) if pathology is indicated by the arythmias. Good to be tested, for "peace of mind".

If you like, please see the paper in PSYCHOSOMATIC MEDICINE, "Zazen and cardiac variability":

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10593633

Yours sincerely,

--Joe
Soto Zen Buddhist Priest. Transmitted Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi.
Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
http://www.prairiewindzen.org
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Re: Sudden hearth rate increase

Postby Judy Roitman on Fri Jun 12, 2015 4:05 am

Thanks, Nonin, and thanks for posting Joe's note. I will add that I was once leading a retreat when the senior student became dizzy and began a cycle of losing, regaining, losing... consciousness. We took him to the emergency room and it turned out to be a transient problem with the vagus nerve. Another friend with arrythmias ended up needing an implanted defribrillator. So yes, cupOftea, please do see a doctor.
Judy Roitman (Zen Master Bon Hae), Kansas Zen Center, Kwan Um School of Zen
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Re: Sudden hearth rate increase

Postby Guo Gu on Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:49 pm

cupoftea,
checking with a doctor is fine, but nothing to worry about if you have never had this before.
my sense is that you got excited by your "insight," and attachment to it triggered the heart rate increase. this does happen to ppl. treat it as another scenery on the path.
never reify your insight or your physiological response to it into a "thing."
be well,
guo gu
Founder and teacher of Tallahassee Chan Center of the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism
http://www.tallahasseechan.org/
Received inka from Master Sheng Yen (1930-2009) in 1995
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Re: Sudden hearth rate increase

Postby cup0ftea on Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:01 am

Just to clarify, the hearth rate increase I had was the only time it happened to me.

As Guo Gu said, it looks like what happened was that I got excited after the insight/experience I had and it caused the hearth rate increase.

Since it happened only once and it didn't cause me any harm, I don't see the need to check my hearth with a doctor for now.

Thank you all for your responses.
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Re: Sudden hearth rate increase

Postby Nonin on Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:15 pm

cupOftea,

Self-diagnoses and internet diagnoses can be mis-leading. If I were you, I would heed what Judy, Joe, and I have recommended and see a doctor just to be safe. No one on this board is a medical professional.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
Soto Zen Buddhist Priest. Transmitted Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi.
Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
http://www.prairiewindzen.org
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