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TOPIC: Cranial Nerves, Sense Doors, Bhumis

Cranial Nerves, Sense Doors, Bhumis 02 May 2019 17:43 #111202

So I have been wondering about the role of cranial nerves in meditation. Different techniques may work on different sets of cranial nerves. For the 0-12 cranial nerves we might have.

  • CN 0 & 1 - Pheronome response and Smell (Meditation on the tip of the nose?)
  • CN 2 - Sight (Visualisations)
  • CN 3, 4, 6 - Motor movement of eyeballs (Looking at trees?)
  • CN 5, 7 - Trigemenal and facial - face, taste, tears (Love and compassion)
  • CN 8 - Hearing and balance (Nada, or Mantra/Prayer)
  • CN 9 &12 Speech, taste (Mantra/Prayer)
  • CN 10 - Speech, calm (Mantra/Prayer)
  • CN 11 - Swallowing, movements of head and shoulders (Posture)
The Trigeminal nerve is pretty interesting, as it has branches in the brain that look like non-conceptual meditation points, or bliss points, or bhumi points in some systems. Also, inflammation of the Trigeminal nerve will give burning sensations in the face, which is reminiscent of the kundalini problems that some practitioners report. It's also interesting that the Vagus (CN 10) is associated with calming both verbal formations and bodliy formations.

So maybe we could extend the six sense doors to include facial emotion, posture, and calm? And maybe CN 3, 4 & 6 which control direction of the eyeballs are associated with initial attention? Also, could rolling your eyes around help to loosen up CN 3, 4 & 6 and so improve meditation results? And of course there are also all the bodily sensations that come up the spinal column.

This might explain why Jeffrey Martin gets some results - his Finders Course tries out lots of different techniques, so the course might loosen up a whole lot different cranial nerves, getting a nice interaction going.

Just a wild speculation, please feel free to shoot me down in flames!
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Cranial Nerves, Sense Doors, Bhumis 02 May 2019 21:12 #111203

I read the descriptions at that link. Really amazing and cool. I remain awed that we manage to get up and walk around, let alone make beautiful art and music. So many things have to work at any given instant for an act as simple as breathing or taking a step to occur without the whole being collapsing in a heap of dust on the spot. Wasn't that a Star Trek plot?

[As to the relationship to meditation, dunno.]
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Cranial Nerves, Sense Doors, Bhumis 03 May 2019 00:40 #111205

Ona Kiser wrote:
I read the descriptions at that link. Really amazing and cool. I remain awed that we manage to get up and walk around, let alone make beautiful art and music. So many things have to work at any given instant for an act as simple as breathing or taking a step to occur without the whole being collapsing in a heap of dust on the spot. Wasn't that a Star Trek plot?

[As to the relationship to meditation, dunno.]

Yep, the bare fact of life and experience is surely the greatest siddhi/miracle of them all. :)
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Cranial Nerves, Sense Doors, Bhumis 04 May 2019 11:39 #111211

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Cranial Nerves, Sense Doors, Bhumis 06 May 2019 23:44 #111221

Chris Marti wrote:
Well that is a pretty interesting read. And maybe relevant to some tantric visualisations - they might not be for everyone, but only for that part of the population with good facial recognition abilities?

I guess I should also take on board the danger of oversimplifying complex interactions between different neural networks. But I still can't help wondering whether a pinch of neuroscience can help us understand and 'tune' existing practices.
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Cranial Nerves, Sense Doors, Bhumis 07 May 2019 08:38 #111222

I suspect modern neuroscience is still in its infancy, so I'm maintaining a skeptical view of it. The popular press overstates the accomplishments of all the sciences, preferring shock and awe headlines to the underlying facts of the studies they're based on.
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Cranial Nerves, Sense Doors, Bhumis 11 May 2019 12:10 #111236

Interesting coming across all this. I've been experiencing a lot of facial kriyas, pressure and energetic movement on the right side of my face for several months now. After examining some images of the Trigeminal nerve, the area in question where energy seems to often be "stuck" maps identically to that nerve's path.

I've found that the best thing that helps with it is by connecting the energy that seems stuck in the Trigeminal nerve down the side of the neck into the chest/heart region. Metta applied and breathed through the chest area facilitates this nicely as well. The path of the energy also seems to wrap over the side of the forehead over the head, behind the ear and can be connected down the back of the neck.

I've also been doing a few minutes of eye-rolling and extreme face-making/stretching as part of a Qi Gong practice. It seems to help connect the facial muscles with areas of the upper chest and heart area, almost like each facial expression is actually connected to a fuller "chest expression".
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Cranial Nerves, Sense Doors, Bhumis 24 Sep 2019 16:00 #111618

A while ago I found out (while vipassanizing facial tension and pacifying it) that a contraction in a certain muscle in my face can co-arise with mental holding. With this "duality biofeedback" I was able to progressivly tone down I-making.

You can see from the location of that muscle (levator labii superioris aleaque nasi) that it runs along the wing of the nose. It's the muscle with which you snarl, thus also called "Elvis muscle". It is innervated by the facial nerve (CN VII) which controls all the facial muscles. It's amazing how precise the facial muscles are. Even just mentally picturing myself snarling triggers a contraction, just bordering to the unperceptible. But this also means that even the slightest muscular tension anywhere in the face means that branches of the facial nerve are excited.

In the case of the levator it turned out to be quite difficult to find an "internal stance" of letting go.The levator is very sensitive to See-In and Hear-In (in Shinzen's terms). The stronger the subject-pole is the more often the levator contracts. Actually, it's less a drawn-out contraction but more a twitch, very fast and light. I was therefore not able to actively relax the levator but rather had to find the causes and conditions for less twitching in a less egoic way of inner perception - - more embodied and more headless.

The facial nerve CN VII moves the muscles, the trigeminus nerve CN V picks up the sensory information from the facial expression. We routinely locate ourselves in the head, not only because it's the perspectival endpoint of the visual cone and the centerpoint of hearing, but also because our face is a major constituant of our identiy. I therefore find it entirely conceivable that dualistic holding manifests in the face. So the reduced levator twitching was brought about by less ahamkara-mamankara, but seen from the trigeminus point of view, the pacification of the trigeminus helped to steady the shamatha. Even on this level there is dependent co-arising.
Last Edit: 24 Sep 2019 16:10 by Frank.
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Cranial Nerves, Sense Doors, Bhumis 25 Sep 2019 09:07 #111626

Fascinating!
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