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'Not feeling anything' after a 10-day jhana retreat

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I was talking about practice a bit with a friend of mine today. He said that after doing a 10-day jhana retreat at Spirit Rock, for which he prepared by doing a lot of concentration practice at home, he came back and found that he "didn't like the way it affected me." My friend said he "seemed to no longer feel anything" after the retreat and described having a hard time interacting with people. He has moved on to more of a mindfulness practice at the suggestion of someone else in the group. 

I didn't want to answer him with a pat "you're in the dark night," so I mostly just listened. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced a loss of affect in this way. It kind of sounds like disenchantment, starting to see the dissolution of things, but I don't want to script here. Any thoughts as to what could be going on?  

RE: 'Not feeling anything' after a 10-day jhana retreat
Answer
10/25/18 8:02 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
When I hang out with meditation friends in real life I generally try to make the conversation around the 4 noble truths & 8 fold path, with the many styles of meditation practice all rolling up into only 1 bucket of an overall set of ways to optimize happiness for oneself & others.  Within the meditation category, the progress of insight is a valid topic.  Talking in a general way about how the stages are real & natural, as is bleedthrough, does help.  Sharing my own experience is more useful than sharing my opinion of another person's.  Normalizing the fact that mediation does have downsides & folow predictable patterns of effects on the mind-body across practitioners can maximize the benefit one gets from a 'meditation support group' scenario.  At the same time, highlight the shadow sides of mapping: can cause striving, can be reductionistic, can cause obsessiveness, etc.  All of this is just one little corner (meditation) of the whole program, which includes other good stuff like ego development, psychotherapy, behavioral modification & service.  

RE: 'Not feeling anything' after a 10-day jhana retreat
Answer
10/26/18 5:45 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
I wouldn't rush to any conclusion with your friend. It could be lots of things, from meditation-related, to medical, to psychological, to existential, etc.... Spend a lot more time talking and especially listening. What he describes isn't normal, but it also isn't unheard of either. If I had to guess, he burnt himself out with too much effort on retreat, but that's a wild guess. (In this case it isn't "dark nighting" so much as "too much efforting"). 

RE: 'Not feeling anything' after a 10-day jhana retreat
Answer
10/26/18 6:26 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
I wouldn't rush to any conclusion with your friend. It could be lots of things, from meditation-related, to medical, to psychological, to existential, etc.... Spend a lot more time talking and especially listening. What he describes isn't normal, but it also isn't unheard of either. If I had to guess, he burnt himself out with too much effort on retreat, but that's a wild guess. (In this case it isn't "dark nighting" so much as "too much efforting"). 
Yeah, I'm glad I mostly just listened. I'll spare him my armchair diagnosis! :-D Thanks, Noah and Shargrol! 

RE: 'Not feeling anything' after a 10-day jhana retreat
Answer
11/10/18 3:22 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Hey,

I'm no expert but this thought popped in my mind today after reading your post.  What your friend said reminded me of what some people say after having come down from drugs that deplete certain neuro-chemicals that are responsible for positive emotions like dopamine for instance.  Like I said, I'm no expert and I barely even know how to regurgatate the neuroscientific terms and jhana info that I've been hearing in the media.  Maybe he's depleted the chemicals that get released during jhanas.  Maybe he stayed in them for too long.  These questions would probably be good to ask in the jhana forum on Yahoo but I hope my half-cooked analysis can lead you to some fully cooked facts to help your buddy.  I remember this one guy on Joe Rogan's podcast talk about writer's block and how going into a flow state by doing something simple like taking a walk or riding a bike would help him to get rejeuvenated.  Afterwards he would write with much greater ease since the aforementioned activities slow down the discriminating/judging mind (if I'm remembering this correctly) that gets in the way of creativity and flow.  So maybe if he goes on walks, goes into nature, rides a bike, plays some sports, etc. he might feel rejeuvenated.  Take these points with a few grains of salt.

Best of luck.

RE: 'Not feeling anything' after a 10-day jhana retreat
Answer
11/10/18 8:25 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
What your friend is describing sounds like a form of dissociation. I would suggest that your friend takes up exercise, or an embodiment practice such as body scanning, martial arts or yoga if they haven't already to keep them grounded. 

RE: 'Not feeling anything' after a 10-day jhana retreat
Answer
11/12/18 5:32 AM as a reply to angelicphase.
Thanks, Mangala and Angelicphase. I'll be checking in with him this week and might have some more info on how he's doing.