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Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.

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Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. ed c 7/20/11 11:27 AM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. Jon T 7/20/11 3:15 PM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/21/11 9:04 AM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. . Jake . 7/21/11 3:05 PM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. ed c 7/21/11 7:46 PM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. tom moylan 7/22/11 2:49 AM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. Jill Morana 7/22/11 7:54 AM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. ed c 7/22/11 11:34 AM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. Jill Morana 7/31/11 11:51 PM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. ed c 8/1/11 4:54 PM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. Jill Morana 8/1/11 6:36 PM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. ed c 8/1/11 11:42 PM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. Jill Morana 8/2/11 2:10 AM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. ed c 8/2/11 11:46 AM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/2/11 12:05 PM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. ed c 8/2/11 1:21 PM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. Jill Morana 8/2/11 3:18 PM
RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal. ed c 8/2/11 5:20 PM
Hi all - Back from my first Goenka retreat. I went to learn the sensation scanning technique as a tool to improve my ability to become AF. So this post is essentially meant for those in a similar situation as me (limited mediation experience, no Goenka Vipassana experience, fairly new to AF or seem stuck) and are wondering if this might help them.

*** Also note this is just my EXPERIENCE and UNDERSTANDING and I’m certain I’ll get corrected on some things, hopefully nothing fundamental***
Here goes:

What is the “Goenka” style of Vipassana meditation?
1) Scan the body (inside and out) for subtle sensations at least (2) hours per day in meditation.
2) Recognize the sensations arise and pass (impermanence)
3) Do not develop craving or aversion toward the sensation just watch (equanimity)
4) Use this sensation awareness off the cushion combined with this same understanding of impermanence and equanimity.

Why sensation awareness specifically, is so important
1) The mind is really craving or trying to avert sensations on the body. We are a slave to our cravings and aversion (essentially suffering) until we learn to notice this.
2) Trying to change our habits/behaviors at the thinking level (I want to eliminate XYZ beliefs because I know intellectually this is silly) is not nearly as powerful as doing this at the experience level (physically watching sensations and creating a new relationship to the results of the belief). Essentially, as long as you are physically getting the sensation you crave, the subconscious mind will reinforce that the behavior/thought should continue to be craved or averted even if consciously you are thinking the opposite. The subconscious will trump the conscious and the way to change this is to get the conscious mind to see and change what the subconscious mind is doing.

The practice (as I understand it)
1) You develop an ability to be aware of subtle sensations at all times.
2) You remain equanimous to them and no new cravings or aversions will take hold.
3) It’s perfectly fine to relate the sensation back to a belief or action that caused it, but it’s not entirely necessary as long you remain equanimous.
4) As you stop creating new cravings and aversions, old ones will arise from the subconscious and you’ll need to experience them with equanimity and that will minimize or eliminate that particular issue for you. You may not have any idea what specific craving or averting issue you just eliminate as no thought may accompany the sensation.
5) I suppose it’s possible to proactively force the issue and consciously engage in certain behaviors or thoughts to simply watch sensations arise and became equanimously to them, thus reducing to the point of elimination the power of this thought/behavior.
6) As your mediation powers grow you can release chunks of cravings and aversion while meditating, especially when you reach certain powerful states where the whole body is felt to be impermanent. Meaning, this technique is something done on and off the cushion and both provide release from “your” stuff.

How this relates to and could be useful toward a goal of AF
1) Clearly having equanimity overlaps with being happy and harmless.
2) If you want to get rid of beliefs, this can do it and claims the “experience” level is more effective than “thinking” your way through eliminating them.
3) This seems to be a way to purify (eliminate) what it is “you” react to, which becomes part of “your” identity. If directed properly this thinning of “you” results in a virtual freedom than an actual freedom.
4) Whether achieving Stream Entry is helpful to AF practice has been debated but I would say consensus seems it is helpful however it might be somewhat redundant if certain truths are already understood. While I did not go to this retreat for that purpose, this could be a valuable byproduct of the initial or future retreats.
5) I did get some benefit from calming the mind and being able to focus it better. It’s also helpful to experience certain aspects of you (or not you), rather than just intellectualizing about it.

Was it helpful for me?
1) I’m not really sure yet. This totally depends on my experience over the new few months. What I don’t understand yet is how LONG does it take to develop the ability to create enough consistent, effortless, awareness off subtle enough sensations to create real change in behavior, thoughts, beliefs etc.??? Additionally, remaining equanimously to sensations is not easy. This experience could be a 4 or 9 out of 10. Not sure yet.
2) Without the ability to do this, you could have just told me “From now on watch sensations and don’t crave or avert them”. That was essentially the 10 days. Without the abilities that come from practice, it’s just not practical. If this takes 1 year to get established with some results and 2-3 years to really start to master, I’m not sure if this is better (faster) than the traditional AF methods?
3) I’m not sure I want/can meditate an hour a day, let alone 2. While not required, it seems like the value of this will be limited, especially early on if I don’t do this.
4) I did get (2) excellent insights into “me” that overlap but have distinct paths. It’s safe to say I spent as much time on “my issues” as I did on the practice.
a) I am deeply scared of people. I never really understood how much until this trip. I learned that I deal with this fear by being very sociable, nice. I thought I was just a friendly person but it turns out I’m friendly largely so I can eliminate this fear. It’s so habitual I didn’t know I was doing it until I was forced to stop. I realized I saw everyone as a threat and my desire to communicate to them that I was a nice guy so that they wouldn’t be tempted to hurt me was unbelievably powerful as I had several 10-15 minute bouts of panic that I have never experienced in normal life. Even though the fear/panic is understood to be irrational at a conscious level, I couldn’t shake it and wanted to run for at least the first 4 days.
b) I don’t love myself and crave others approval to validate my self-worth. I know this will throw some AF’s off (I am my feelings they don’t happen to me), but the enormity of this issue was seemingly thrown “at me” and this “feeling” of not loving “myself” was front and center. I also knew this on some level going in, but experiencing the scope and depth of the issue was fascinating. It’s understood “I” is a belief/illusion but while “I” am here, this is what was experienced by “me” as “me”, “my” story.
5) I almost quit 3 times, once walked out of a sit and the manager convinced me to stay. I quit addictions to cigarettes 10 years ago and alcohol 5 years ago, and I swear these 10 days were as hard as those first 10 days. So that I don’t scare someone off, most people did not seem to experience the level of difficulty I did. On some level everyone struggles through issues on the retreat, but some personality types will have more issues than others.
6) About day 7 it dawned on me this experience was making me appreciate “my” life. Like maybe I wouldn’t pursue AF or anything anymore when I got out. I suppose that’s natural but I found it interesting that the experience was appearing to remove my resolve to change. I am still pursing AF, but I do still feel slightly more appreciate of “my” current life after seeing how much harder things could be. I still need time to sort through this….

Overall, there is no question in my mind this has tremendous value toward living life better and/or pursing an Actual Freedom. What’s unclear to me is whether this is more of a great tool/process primarily for those who come to AF AFTER having already learned the technique or not? It’s all a matter of whether the time spent learning this method accelerates the ability to become AF faster such that overall you save time and get to an AF before someone using this standard way, so to speak. I’m not sure yet and hope to hear from Jill, Nick and/or SW as I start trying to sort this out and renew my AF practice.

Hope this helps someone. Take care - Ed

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
7/20/11 3:15 PM as a reply to ed c.
Hi Ed,

Good to read one of your posts again. Those realizations or insights you gleaned resonate with my practice greatly. It seems that goenka has taken you much closer to virtual freedom. Let me comb through your post.


Why sensation awareness specifically, is so important

Trying to change our habits/behaviors at the thinking level (I want to eliminate XYZ beliefs because I know intellectually this is silly) is not nearly as powerful as doing this at the experience level (physically watching sensations and creating a new relationship to the results of the belief). Essentially, as long as you are physically getting the sensation you crave, the subconscious mind will reinforce that behavior/thought...


Agreed.



What is the “Goenka” style of Vipassana meditation?

3) Do not develop craving or aversion toward the sensation just watch (equanimity)


Probably important so that you can continue to study your sensations. Without equanimity, you will pull away from it and towards something else.



The (goenka) practice (as I understand it)

1) You develop an ability to be aware of subtle sensations at all times.


Very important.



3) It’s perfectly fine to relate the sensation back to a belief or action that caused it, but it’s not entirely necessary as long you remain equanimous.


I think it is necessary (at least in the beginning, before your conditioning has been fully exposed). Knowing the trigger as well as the whole process of the sensation will help you anticipate it's future occurence and thus nip it in the bud. Equanimity is only a tool and not the end game. In the last several days, I've had at least 4 realizations. None of which would have been possible without "relat(ing) the sensation back to a belief or action that caused it." I've also had one experiential insight that did not need me to "relate the sensation back to a belief or action", though I did anyway out of habit and it proved useful.




) As you stop creating new cravings and aversions, old ones will arise from the subconscious and you’ll need to experience them with equanimity and that will minimize or eliminate that particular issue for you. You may not have any idea what specific craving or averting issue you just eliminate as no thought may accompany the sensation.


This is related to the previous quote and response. Knowing who you are and why you are this way is very helpful. That said, it can become an obsession. There is a way out of the obsession which is more useful than equanimity and goenka doesn't seem to instruct it (hint: it's in the metropolis of Feli). Perhaps this is why they dismiss "reflective contemplation" because they know it can lead to obsession or narcissism.



How this relates to and could be useful toward a goal of AF

1) Clearly having equanimity overlaps with being happy and harmless.


conducive towards happy and harmlessness.



2) If you want to get rid of beliefs, this can do it and claims the “experience” level is more effective than “thinking” your way through eliminating them.


You can't think your way out of them. You can train your mind to think constructively about them. This will eventually lead you to the "experience" level. However, without experience observing your own emotions and bodily sensations then this may be a long pitfall filled path. I am glad you have gotten that experience.



3) This seems to be a way to purify (eliminate) what it is “you” react to, which becomes part of “your” identity. If directed properly this thinning of “you” results in a virtual freedom than an actual freedom.


Perhaps.



About day 7 it dawned on me this experience was making me appreciate “my” life. Like maybe I wouldn’t pursue AF or anything anymore when I got out. I suppose that’s natural but I found it interesting that the experience was appearing to remove my resolve to change. I am still pursing AF, but I do still feel slightly more appreciate of “my” current life after seeing how much harder things could be. I still need time to sort through this….


You can't stop self-immolating after coming to the point where you are solidly content with your life as a whole because you have no reason to fear any future, instead of judging yourself-you mirthfully and scientifically observe yourself, you don't mindlessly crave validation and you can experience EE's and PCE's with regularity.


The one thing missing from this experience seems to be an awareness or appreciation of Feli-city. Perhaps, and this is only conjecture, that is the one ingredient that the goenka people are missing and the reason they don't produce liberated people. Everything you learned is relevant but without felicity, you can't get into an EE, without EE's there are no PCE's, without PCE's there can be no natural self-immolation. In other words, without re-occurrent EE's and occassional PCE's, the process will seem very forced and you won't be happy with it. Felicity is the antidote to that troublesome situation.

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
7/21/11 9:04 AM as a reply to ed c.
ed c:
... I saw everyone as a threat ... I had several 10-15 minute bouts of panic that I have never experienced in normal life ... wanted to run for at least the first 4 days ... I almost quit 3 times, once walked out of a sit and the manager convinced me to stay ... About day 7 it dawned on me this experience was making me appreciate “my” life ... but I do still feel slightly more appreciate of “my” current life after seeing how much harder things could be ...


hmm have you familiarized yourself with the insight stages (mctb link)? this is a rough guess without more information, but the above could be read as (signs of) "... fear ... fear ... fear ... re-observation ... equanimity ... equanimity ..." respectively. if so, maybe you are closer to stream entry than you thought?

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
7/21/11 3:05 PM as a reply to ed c.
Ed, thanks for a thoughtful and interesting post!
-Jake

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
7/21/11 7:46 PM as a reply to ed c.
Hi folks –
Thanks for the responses. It’s good some of this gets clarified, for me and anyone who might be considering something similar. I’m glad I don’t seem to have been too far off in my interpretations.

I’ll touch on something I left out of the initial post as I wanted to keep it a bit more clinical and procedural so others could get to the heart of what it is and how it relates to AF and decide if it could help them. But Beo, Jill and Jon to a degree are touching on things that the information below will help clarify. Specifically, I’ll explain my fear/panic of days 1-4. It's a long read, but it was a looooong experience.

The fear started at dinner of night 1 and I literally could not figure out why I was getting this sensation in my chest. Up to that moment I loved the experience. Soon I noticed this fear feeling (which was unmistakable) got stronger when I looked at people. I thought “wow, am I scared of these people? Hmmm…” Nothing major yet, but I got to the mediation hall rom 6 – 7 PM and noticed as I walked in fear was getting stonger and heart was starting to beat faster, I was scared but still unsure why.About halfway through that sit I started to panic when I became aware I was swallowing often and loudly. I thought I was disturbing all 150 - 200 people in the room. The panic ebbed and flowed at every sit in the hall for (3) days and at times was unbelievably painful to sit through. At a few points in addition to the bodily sensations of panic, I was sweating and my arms would shake. It was hell. This carried over off the cushion and I got obsessed with where my tongue is located in my mouth at all times. I had trouble sleeping as the position of my tongue in my mouth wouldn’t leave my head. I was fighting with myself and it was understood, but I felt on some level powerless to stop it. Given you have no ability to distract yourself there by talking with people, reading, writing, TV, running, Internet etc, I was left to sit and deal with it in silence. The only thing I promised not to do was run even though these (3-4) days were as hard as anything I’ve ever done. Every second felt like an hour as I often sat there and focused on swallowing and sitting with the mental pain.

I won't get into the whole story but I had ADD and mild OCD as a kid. I had placement, touching and counting (things in 3's) rituals. The most common was placement where I would sit or move stuff over, over and over until it was in the exact right place and more importantly if felt just right leaving my fingers. At times it was debilitating. I grew out of it or maybe it just shifted to more internal OCD behaviors. My point is, I've always been troubled by hyperactivity/OCD issues and getting obsessed on swallowing and the location of my tongue in my mouth was just how it got expressed here. So the fear/panic (disturbing others, them not liking me, me unable to apologize) was understood to be the reason or basis of the fear. No question I went through fear, misery, disgust and desire for deliverance, but that seemed more like something that is just inherent to dealing with a painful situation (like stages of grief every essentially goes through) and not something related to insight progress, but you’ll all know better than I.

Regardless, on day 3 I did have a great moment. I was truly growing tired of fighting this panic. I was physically and mentally starting to crack. I couldn’t take much more pain. I was contemplating running out of the mediation hall again and said very loudly and strongly to myself “I’m not moving off this fucking cushion. You can’t make me move”. I later asked myself who I was talking to and I decided it was the subconscious mind which felt like it was torturing “me” the conscious mind, but I’m still working through that. Suddenly the mind calmed a bit, slowed down and then I thought “what is inherently bad about the sensations of panic I’m feeling right now? I identify them as panic and this makes the mind race which in turns amps up the body in a vicious cycle, but what’s bad about them?” So I sat with the panic and instead of trying to get rid of or ignore it I felt it and it was warm in my chest and tingly in my chest and arms. It actually felt nice! Long story short, that was the last time I felt panic as I had accepted it and grown too actually like the feeling. But I soon noticed my desire to be liked and to not bother people did not end there so I continued to mentally suffer somewhat but without physical symptoms, which was WAY better. I did this on day 3 before I learned this was actually going to be our practice for the next 6-7 days but I was forced into finding this solution quicker.

It’s probably not very insightful but I’ll tell you one last thing. For some very odd reason marijuana is totally debilitating for me. Its affects go well beyond LSD or any other drug I have ever tried. Everything within a 5 – 10 foot radius is 3 dimensional, but things past this are more 2 dimensional (width and height, no depth). In addition to the visual distortion there is a strong sense I am in another reality and things make little sense. I’m confused and absolutely terrified. I become incoherent and I fight to maintain sanity. I do this by chanting names and places of things in my typical reality as a way to connect myself back to it. I imagine it would be like being insane and knowing you are insane but you can’t do anything about it. As I have a very addictive personality, despite the fear, I tried it three times as people convinced me it was laced or something. Every time was exactly the same and the affects after time #2 were so bad I spent the next 3-4 months (my junior year of high school) having this visual distortion and a few acute panic attacks when I would get flash backs and relive this experience. I remember vividly running from the lunch room to the bathroom one day to wash my face as I could myself breaking from reality, literally going insane again. It’s terrifying. I don’t know why this happens to me but it appears to be genetic as my mother (I found out many years later) and my sister have almost identical experiences. So anyway, after my bid triumph on night 3 where I realized I could remain unaffected by the sensations of panic, I thought to myself on the way to the 7-8 PM video lecture “I did it! It’s all downhill from here. How could it get worse?” While I’m watching the video it occurs to me the only thing worse than sitting with fear/panic for 3 days is the memories of those pot experiences and the concept of going insane and knowing it; breaking with reality. My mind is suddenly racing again. I’ve been meditating so hard for 3 days will little sleep and when I close my eyes I see shapes and colors and it’s really starting to freak me out. I don’t hear a thing Goenka is saying as I’m trying to not to flip out. I walk out of the room at 8 PM (dusk) and the trees seem silhouetted against the sky. Flat, 2 dimensional. I’m starting to question my sanity and I mentally slap myself in the face and try and relax. It’s just the way things look at night, relax. I get back to my room at 9 PM after a sit and I’m still really scared. I close my eyes and within seconds, out of nowhere I picture a large python swimming across a swamp. It’s huge and as it goes from right to left in my vision is stops in the middle and looks at me, pauses, then goes under the water and disappears. I don’t even need to try and think what this means. To me this was a message from my subconscious that it had a tight strangle hold (python) on some stuff I didn’t want to know about and this was my warning to leave it alone. Someone’s probably thinking I’m making this crap up, but I’m not. The next morning I awoke and the light of day made me feel better. The fear of losing touch with reality was gone and days 5-10 were like a more normal hard. I still fought through the swallowing issues at times and dealt with physical pain (I was using a kneeling board on day 2, and was in chair by day 5), but things got more manageable. The most significant issue days 5-10 was fighting the boredom of doing the same thing over and over and over again. The thought of scanning my arm or leg for subtle sensations of the 300th time made me want to scream but I kept doing it and only twice did I allow myself to day dream or just do breathing meditation. I really tried hard to do everything as instructed.

What does all this mean? I don’t know!! emoticon This was just a wild, at times almost unbearably painful thing for me, but I stayed. I’m going to re-read the comments, do some more thinking and keep practicing. My goal is still AF and I’ll work to get this practice into my daily routines. Thanks all for your comments as they are helpful as I’m still trying to figure out what I learned, what they might mean, and how I can improve things….

Take care - Ed

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
7/22/11 2:49 AM as a reply to ed c.
thanks for a great post full of honesty and courage...and for showing me that i am a total WIMP!

keep going

tom

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
7/22/11 7:54 AM as a reply to ed c.
wow, thanks for sharing all that! some very tough struggles, but you were eventually able to bring things under control—that’s a huge achievement (days 5-10). because it was so intense, whatever strength helped you get through all that and keep practicing (determination? desire for liberation?) will help you immensely from here on. if you do another intensive retreat like that again, it’s most likely that the same issues will come up as your attention passes through the same energetic phenomena, but everything should be a bit easier, or significantly easier if you can chip away at it bit by bit with daily practice. concentration would be a bit better, making things less intense, and you’d have more skill in staying with bare sensations in the midst of troublesome content.

(like you Ed, when i post i'm not exclusively responding to you but keeping in mind that there are probably other readers dealing with similar issues.)

ed c:
No question I went through fear, misery, disgust and desire for deliverance, but that seemed more like something that is just inherent to dealing with a painful situation (like stages of grief every essentially goes through) and not something related to insight progress, but you’ll all know better than I.


it probably doesn’t matter if they were stages of insight or not, but the important thing is that if you develop the tools to deal with them equanimously at the level of sensations, you’ll be all set to pass through those insight stages when they do come.

during the bouts of fear and panic attacks it looks like you found different ways to cope with it to not go crazy—things you told or asked yourself, or ways to focus or ignore things. just in case it helps, what immediately came to my mind when reading your post was “being ok with dying”. that’s a typical hurdle or brick wall that many insight meditators are faced with at some point, especially in re-observation, and it is as hellish as the extent of your resistance. sometimes when things get really awful and not-ok, giving in to death seems like the only option, and it’s certainly one door into equanimity from re-observation. i remember having very terrifying partially lucid dreams on retreat where i’m being chased by some mean malicious entity or creature that wanted to hurt me, and the absolute mental hell would just not ease up until i stopped and thought, hell, i can’t anymore, i’m so tired i have no more strength to run away, i have to let it eat me now. go ahead and chew me up. but instead of tearing up my limbs, the malicious entity also stopped and faded, as if to say, oh…you don’t want to run away…then i don’t know what to do anymore…bye!

in an abstract sense, you’re not alone at all in this kind of vipassana process of going deep into the thick of all the feelings/situations/phenomena/sensations that you’re totally NOT OK with. the illusion of things being not-ok will continue in its strength and have a hold on you to the extent that the self illusion is intact. being ok with death helps because it’s the self that’s not ok with death and all other fears, not the physical body.

what does the fearful me fight to preserve?

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
7/22/11 11:34 AM as a reply to Jill Morana.
TJ Broccoli:
what does the fearful me fight to preserve?


Jill - truly appreicate the comments. The short answer is "I want to live". But I've added context to that statement below as I'm suddently unclear what happens to "me" with AF.

The comments on death are interesting as I did confront that once, I think on day 3 or 4 which were the most intense days. I’ll explain in a second. To a degree I’m starting to process this by writing so it might wander a bit. It’s important to note that while the tough times were the most memorable and stronger, there were some high moments, where I felt like I was accomplishing things. Here are two.

On day 2 I noticed that if I focused all my attention on the breath, I could literally not feel the fear. I couldn’t be aware of two things at once. This was my weapon to combat it (try and ignore it by focusing on the breath) at the time this felt like a monumental breakthrough but it turned out to be just a nice small break because this method didn’t work after a couple more sits. This actually led me to contemplate that “my feelings are me”, where I thought “If I’m my feelings, how come it appears when “I” bring my attention to the breath “I” can’t feel the fear (me) anymore? How can I stop feeling myself? It appears feelings are happening to me, not that they are me and that by turning attention away, the feeling goes away.” I’m not sure what the answer is, but where I left it later that day was that by shifting attention to the breath, I was not able to process the “sensations I call fear” and those are not “the feeling of fear”, which is me. This is another work in progress issue. The other way in which I thought about this was how I can’t truly be aware of two or more senses at the exact same time. On night two of the Goenka video I tested this and sure enough I could notice attention moving very quickly between hearing, seeing, hearing, seeing so fast it normally seems like I am doing them both at the same time but now I was noticing the incredibly fast shift back and forth. It bothered me that night and I wasn’t able to process what he was saying well as I was focused on the shift between senses, so I decided to close my eyes and just listen. Oddly, come to think of it, I never noticed the back and forth again on any other night. But at many points in the trip I was in survival mode and going back to my “one day at a time” routine where I was just trying to get through that day and I didn’t always have the energy to investigate things.

Somewhere on a sit in day 4 it dawned on me that since I had smashed the illusion that the sensations of fear/panic were something the mind needed to react to, I started thinking that this would lead to releasing one of my identified core beliefs of wanting people to accept/like/value me. I reasoned that if they could NOT cause me the physical pain anymore, I wouldn’t need their approval as they could not hurt me and hence I was free of the belief! There was rapture for a while and the concept of breaking this core belief led me to see “me” and “my beliefs” unraveling quickly and a multitude of sub beliefs tied to it that I had previously identified but couldn’t break as long as the core belief stood. I started relishing in the thought of being “the annoying guy” who people were mad at. Suddenly I could be not liked or even hated and it was OK! I was riding high for a few sits as a fantasized about situations at work and other areas where I cave to people/situations. But it became very clear (I think later that day) that I was trading one identity (scared Ed) with a new identity (tough Ed) and while this felt good, it wasn’t going to help me get to AF. I need to see both as ridiculous and a part of identity. So I stopped the act, and tried to remain equanimous to the thoughts of being “the annoying guy” and I couldn’t. I still mentally wanted acceptance and was fearful. But things were better, more stable and simply facing the fear over and over it became routine, easier. During the height of my mania on the thought of smashing the core belief “I need to be liked/valued by people to be OK”, I mistakenly thought I was on the fast track to AF, perhaps even on this sit. In hindsight that’s funny/embarrassing.

Ok, so death. Because of those high moments, for pockets of time I thought I had reached true equanimity and as I said for a brief moment I foolishly thought maybe I might even reach an actual freedom on this event as the experience was so powerful and the tug and pull, up and down, of “me” felt like maybe “I” would just snap and release and the illusion would be seen. I think I was really looking for a way out of the pain. So at some point on day 3 or 4, I visualized fading to black and dying. I got really, really scared. My resolve for AF is very strong but I suddenly was confused on what would happen? Then I remembered Richard saying something to the effect of “I’ve ever grateful to the “me” that stepped out of the way and allowed this body to become free”. I took this to mean, I (the person I feel myself to be right now) would literally fade to black and die (gone, dead) but the body would continue with this new personality (so to speak) and no one still living would really notice the difference but I would be dead, gone. Suddenly I thought “Holy Shit, what was I thinking, I don’t want to do that!!! Am I insane? I want to live!” My mind was racing and I remembered very clearly the warnings about turning back and I thought “don’t be a chicken”. Then I remembered that I had always said I was also doing this for my wife and kids, especially my daughter who is very much like me and this will show her a way of out the suffering. So I decided I would allow myself to die, but nothing happened. I think at some point I kind of knew nothing was going to happen, so it may seem like I really made peace with dying, but I really did not fully and still have not. I made a note that I would ask the AF folks when I got back if “I” truly fade to black and die and don’t get to experience in any way life after “me”. This concept still scares the shit out of me. I want to be better, free, and peaceful, I don’t want to die.

I really do want to get to the heart of the illusion of self and end it (but note above the concept I’m still trying to understand about what it means to self-immolate). I had a 10 hour Altered State/PCE on July 3rd I wrote about in another post so I was VERY motivated going into the Goenka retreat and am still motivated to finish what was started. I’ve experienced that self is not needed and it was awesome. Also of note was that while July 3rd was a fantastic and peaceful day for “me”, my wife wrote me a note on my laptop saying she thought I was distant and pulling away and she was confused. We talked at length that night and all was well after that. But it stuck with me that my shift in normal behavior (a bit hyper and animated) to calm, thoughtful and peaceful AS/PCE was interpreted as “depressed or distant” by my wife and it scared her. It never occurred to me how I was being perceived as I was just in the moment. Anyway, how changes by “me” will affect the wife and kids was the first or second concern I had so I’m still processing this a bit too. I’m actually trying to use the RT method of illusion of self, traditional AF methods, and Goenka Vipasssana and this whole experience into something that is focused and synergistic not fragmented and counterproductive on the path to AF. I haven’t pieced it together yet, still trying to figure it out.

I traced back why I think I am the way I am now. Being ADD/OCD, I could not deal with the volume of thoughts and mental pain stayed with me longer than I think was normal. I was very sensitive. So I learned quickly, people can hurt you, they can make you suffer. Create a safe world where everything is harmonious and everyone likes you. Develop the ability to read people so you can protect against danger and always be scanning your environment. Collect information for review and signs of trouble. This is essentially what I do, out of habit and it’s served me well in many ways but it’s just covered the issues. On a certain level being a people pleaser sucks, and you develop a low sense of self-worth because you let others run your life. So it hasn’t eliminated anything. It took me 35 years to realize that (I’m 40 now). I’m still working to unwind this and quitting drinking at 35 was the MAJOR first step (best thing I have ever done) as most (probably all) alcoholics loath what they are doing and develop hate for themselves for doing it. At least I did and it’s impossible to move forward with real change when you feel this way. Everyone has stuff so I’m not suggesting I’m the only, that mine is worse or that I was trapped and couldn’t make choices because of my DNA. There were always choices then and there are ones here now too.

It does seem to eliminate me (the illusion of my story, which on some level is already understood to be a fantasy and not based in actuality), it might be necessary to fix me a bit, keep understand the why and how of where things are now. Sort of like trying to get back to “normal” first on your way to happy and harmless after finding yourself in a bad emotional place. Or maybe more like finally paying attention to the game to expose that there isn’t really anything there but that vortex Richard talks about that goes nowhere. That lessoning the power of the clung to beliefs/habits that make up the “me vortex” that I release some knots and can then truly penetrate the illusion. However, I’m trying to be conscious of not getting caught in “the story” which would lead me in an endless cycle of trying to “fix” the illusion which doesn’t work and only keeps “me” alive. There seems to be a balance there and I’m trying to figure that out. Or maybe I’m just talking crap at this point? Ok, I’m done.

Take care - Ed

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
7/31/11 11:51 PM as a reply to ed c.
ed c:
This actually led me to contemplate that “my feelings are me”, where I thought “If I’m my feelings, how come it appears when “I” bring my attention to the breath “I” can’t feel the fear (me) anymore?

because the perception of sensations of bare breath is actual and not-me. when your concentration is strong enough to focus exclusively on the sensations, and you apply your attention in a direct, naive, non-assuming, un-knowing way, there's no room for imagination and distortion.

if you keep your attention at the bare senses, you are strengthening actual perception and weakening the stuff that causes distortion--craving/aversion, imagination, blind reaction. as you pay attention to the sensations on the body, there will be both bare physical sensations of bodily processes plus physical sensations that come from distortion, reaction, craving/aversion, and while it is difficult or impossible to tell them apart, there is no need to. your application of awareness and equanimity towards all sensations will gradually chip away at the latter type of sensations, or the junk, leaving only the actual sensations of necessary bodily processes in the end.


ed c:
My resolve for AF is very strong but I suddenly was confused on what would happen? Then I remembered Richard saying something to the effect of “I’ve ever grateful to the “me” that stepped out of the way and allowed this body to become free”. I took this to mean, I (the person I feel myself to be right now) would literally fade to black and die (gone, dead) but the body would continue with this new personality (so to speak) and no one still living would really notice the difference but I would be dead, gone. Suddenly I thought “Holy Shit, what was I thinking, I don’t want to do that!!! Am I insane? I want to live!” My mind was racing and I remembered very clearly the warnings about turning back and I thought “don’t be a chicken”. Then I remembered that I had always said I was also doing this for my wife and kids, especially my daughter who is very much like me and this will show her a way of out the suffering. So I decided I would allow myself to die, but nothing happened. I think at some point I kind of knew nothing was going to happen, so it may seem like I really made peace with dying, but I really did not fully and still have not. I made a note that I would ask the AF folks when I got back if “I” truly fade to black and die and don’t get to experience in any way life after “me”. This concept still scares the shit out of me. I want to be better, free, and peaceful, I don’t want to die.

I really do want to get to the heart of the illusion of self and end it (but note above the concept I’m still trying to understand about what it means to self-immolate). I had a 10 hour Altered State/PCE on July 3rd...

i would expect that your july 3rd pce would have shown you exactly what dies and what lives, what sort of 'me' is an unnecessary distorting hindrance and can totally be left to die out, leading to an even richer life. after the initial disturbance, does the memory of the pce suffice when such questions/doubts/fears arise?

jill

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
8/1/11 4:54 PM as a reply to Jill Morana.
Hi Jill!

TJ Broccoli:

i would expect that your july 3rd pce would have shown you exactly what dies and what lives, what sort of 'me' is an unnecessary distorting hindrance and can totally be left to die out, leading to an even richer life. after the initial disturbance, does the memory of the pce suffice when such questions/doubts/fears arise?


Let’s talk PCE for a moment as it seems be something that is very misunderstood. I’ll ask a question, and then explain why I don’t think I had a PCE.
How would “you” know you had a PCE, if “you” aren’t there? Is it when the PCE is done, there is like a sensation of lost time for “you”, but with a memory “you” can now access that “you” don’t remember experiencing as it happened?

My “state” on July 3rd was probably not a PCE because “I” felt like “I” was there the whole time. Although there were pockets of time that might have been a PCE, I don’t know. This was not just having a good day, this was radically different than my normal way of experiencing and it lasted about 8 – 10 hours, and then it was gone. There was no strong affective quality, like bliss or love, just calm. The overarching characteristics were “quiet” and “present moment”. This resulted in a fascination with the world around me and very little sense of me. It never occurred to me all day what anyone thought about me, nor was I thinking about me. I don’t even remember thinking about what I was going to say, I just started talking in a way that really odd. But only in hindsight was in odd, in the moment it just happened. But I kept reflecting and thinking “did that just happen?” It was truly unique, noticeable and awesome.

TJ Broccoli:

because the perception of sensations of bare breath is actual and not-me. when your concentration is strong enough to focus exclusively on the sensations, and you apply your attention in a direct, naive, non-assuming, un-knowing way, there's no room for imagination and distortion.

if you keep your attention at the bare senses, you are strengthening actual perception and weakening the stuff that causes distortion--craving/aversion, imagination, blind reaction. as you pay attention to the sensations on the body, there will be both bare physical sensations of bodily processes plus physical sensations that come from distortion, reaction, craving/aversion, and while it is difficult or impossible to tell them apart, there is no need to. your application of awareness and equanimity towards all sensations will gradually chip away at the latter type of sensations, or the junk, leaving only the actual sensations of necessary bodily processes in the end.


Regarding the sense awareness, that’s a great point how you chip away at it. I’m still fumbling with how I’m practicing moving forward but you’ve convinced me, I need to incorporate this. But “my practice” leads “me” to one last thing, about “me” that is probably the biggest stumbling block right now, “control”?

It’s been said by many people that “I” don’t have any control and/or decision making abilities. It’s an illusion. “I” don’t set direction. It’s just such a kick in the teeth concept because everything you’re telling “me” to do, “I” can’t do, but I think “I” can. So if “Ed” spends the rest of his day practicing sensation awareness because Jill mentioned it, it’s true that “I” had nothing to do with that. I’m trying to find a good way to make peace with that. I’m quite convinced (via comments from Nick) that it’s not going to make sense, yet, without a PCE, so I’m just trying to put it aside but that hasn’t’ quite been done yet…

Thanks again!
Ed

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
8/1/11 6:36 PM as a reply to ed c.
ed c:
Let’s talk PCE for a moment as it seems be something that is very misunderstood. I’ll ask a question, and then explain why I don’t think I had a PCE.
How would “you” know you had a PCE, if “you” aren’t there? Is it when the PCE is done, there is like a sensation of lost time for “you”, but with a memory “you” can now access that “you” don’t remember experiencing as it happened?

because memory and thought don't require any feelings of identity in order to operate

ed c:

My “state” on July 3rd was probably not a PCE because “I” felt like “I” was there the whole time. Although there were pockets of time that might have been a PCE, I don’t know. This was not just having a good day, this was radically different than my normal way of experiencing and it lasted about 8 – 10 hours, and then it was gone. There was no strong affective quality, like bliss or love, just calm. The overarching characteristics were “quiet” and “present moment”. This resulted in a fascination with the world around me and very little sense of me. It never occurred to me all day what anyone thought about me, nor was I thinking about me. I don’t even remember thinking about what I was going to say, I just started talking in a way that really odd. But only in hindsight was in odd, in the moment it just happened. But I kept reflecting and thinking “did that just happen?” It was truly unique, noticeable and awesome.

a cool and useful experience (to remember and process) anyhow, even if it might not have been a pce.

one thing that was most striking from my first pce was the realization that there was no actual "present moment" that a human being could possibly sense and know as the "present reality". when the being/identity is not operating or is absent, every sensation is seen as merely a signal from the recent past a micro-split-second ago. only the "being" can "be present"; only the feeling being can need, find, and get attached to the (imaginary)refuge of "living in the present moment".

i think it helps to notice any experience whatsoever when the sense of "me" is experienced differently from usual, including when it flares up in some emotional outburst.

ed c:
Regarding the sense awareness, that’s a great point how you chip away at it. I’m still fumbling with how I’m practicing moving forward but you’ve convinced me, I need to incorporate this. But “my practice” leads “me” to one last thing, about “me” that is probably the biggest stumbling block right now, “control”?

It’s been said by many people that “I” don’t have any control and/or decision making abilities. It’s an illusion. “I” don’t set direction. It’s just such a kick in the teeth concept because everything you’re telling “me” to do, “I” can’t do, but I think “I” can. So if “Ed” spends the rest of his day practicing sensation awareness because Jill mentioned it, it’s true that “I” had nothing to do with that. I’m trying to find a good way to make peace with that. I’m quite convinced (via comments from Nick) that it’s not going to make sense, yet, without a PCE, so I’m just trying to put it aside but that hasn’t’ quite been done yet…

at which point do you create the thoughts and decisions that happen? do you create a thought in your head with a previous thought, or do you create the sensations that imply something is better than something else, do you create the nerve impulses and signals in your brain, and did you engineer that brain too?

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
8/1/11 11:42 PM as a reply to Jill Morana.
TJ Broccoli:
ed c:
Let’s talk PCE for a moment as it seems be something that is very misunderstood. I’ll ask a question, and then explain why I don’t think I had a PCE.
How would “you” know you had a PCE, if “you” aren’t there? Is it when the PCE is done, there is like a sensation of lost time for “you”, but with a memory “you” can now access that “you” don’t remember experiencing as it happened?

because memory and thought don't require any feelings of identity in order to operate


Hi Jill -
Hmmmm… You might have answered it, but I don’t get it.

That seems to answer how a body/mind can function without me. I’m trying to understand how when a PCE is over, “I” would figure out the body/mind just spent the last 4 hours functioning without me? Would there be a sense of lost time with memories filling it that “I” didn’t experience? Like you are seeing memories from someone else’s experience but there is an understanding they came from this mind/body. Anything else would suggest at least part of “I” was there, which would mean it wasn’t a PCE, right?

Perhaps “I” don’t understand what is meant by “I”? (Actually, it’s clear “I” don’t understand it). I feel like I must be missing something obvious?

I’m asking all this because parts of my experience line up with a PCE, but with a few small exceptions there was no doubt “I” was marveling at the state “I” was in. From reading the AF site again tonight, it’s not any clearer. Regardless it was definitely an important experience and is highly motivating.

I’m really close to pitching everything intellectual into a vault for a while as I feel like I’m getting off track. In my job I often get “analysis paralysis” as I can get lost in the nuances of something to the detriment of the big picture. But I suppose these feelings could just be something else for me to examine…
Thanks
ed

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
8/2/11 2:10 AM as a reply to ed c.
well, when remembering a pce, there is a kind of "hmm, 'i-my personal identity' wasn't there", but that difference doesn't interfere with the ability to remember at all. no "sense of lost time", but it can be hard to guess how much time passed in the pce in minutes and hours because when there's no boredom, irritation, or impatience, there's no "time drag"--no sense of "ugh, it's taking so long".
ed c:

That seems to answer how a body/mind can function without me. I’m trying to understand how when a PCE is over, “I” would figure out the body/mind just spent the last 4 hours functioning without me? Would there be a sense of lost time with memories filling it that “I” didn’t experience? Like you are seeing memories from someone else’s experience but there is an understanding they came from this mind/body. Anything else would suggest at least part of “I” was there, which would mean it wasn’t a PCE, right?

actually the sense of a feeling 'i' changes all the time, not just when it goes from non-pce to ee to pce and back. if 'i' remember an experience where 'i' was angry, the 'calm i' that's present at the time of remembering is a different 'i' and different 'person' from the 'angry i'. one thinks, "i shouldn't have acted that way, i don't know what got into me" or "that was so not me" (Like you are seeing memories from someone else’s experience--Ed) surely you can relate to this? "i just spent the last 4 hours being so angry." and then when you're not angry, or 'angry i' is not operating, it doesn't interfere with your ability to recognize anger's absence. when you are angry, or 'angry i' is operating, you can still remember what not being angry is like (which helps in calming down because you recognize that without this 'angry i' life would be better, perception would be better, thinking and seeing would be clearer). dismantling the identity is just the process of letting go of all these distortion-producing feeling identities 'jealous i', 'sad i', 'vengeful i', 'fearful i' and so on.

ed c:
Perhaps “I” don’t understand what is meant by “I”? (Actually, it’s clear “I” don’t understand it). I feel like I must be missing something obvious?

no worries. experientially, i didn't completely understand what the 'feeling i' was until it left. also, i didn't know where the line was exactly between affect and non-affect until it all left (sort of like a subtle form of how people assume laughter must come from affect because when a feeling being experiences laughter, there always happen to be moods happening alongside). i couldn't pinpoint the base of identity because by the time my life became pce-like, it had been ten years since the last time i had a pce. fortunately, progress still happens without clear identification of the identity, as you continue to drop the parts that are seen (and hopefully seen as unnecessary).

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
8/2/11 11:46 AM as a reply to Jill Morana.
TJ Broccoli:
well, when remembering a pce, there is a kind of "hmm, 'i-my personal identity' wasn't there", but that difference doesn't interfere with the ability to remember at all.


Remember, yes. But there can’t be any sense that “I” experienced that PCE or it wasn’t a PCE, right? There must just be memories that can be accessed that “I - the feeling of being, the watcher" don’t recall experiencing, only I know it must have happened because memories are there.

TJ Broccoli:

ed c:

That seems to answer how a body/mind can function without me. I’m trying to understand how when a PCE is over, “I” would figure out the body/mind just spent the last 4 hours functioning without me? Would there be a sense of lost time with memories filling it that “I” didn’t experience? Like you are seeing memories from someone else’s experience but there is an understanding they came from this mind/body. Anything else would suggest at least part of “I” was there, which would mean it wasn’t a PCE, right?


actually the sense of a feeling 'i' changes all the time, not just when it goes from non-pce to ee to pce and back. if 'i' remember an experience where 'i' was angry, the 'calm i' that's present at the time of remembering is a different 'i' and different 'person' from the 'angry i'. one thinks, "i shouldn't have acted that way, i don't know what got into me" or "that was so not me" (Like you are seeing memories from someone else’s experience--Ed) surely you can relate to this? "i just spent the last 4 hours being so angry." and then when you're not angry, or 'angry i' is not operating, it doesn't interfere with your ability to recognize anger's absence. when you are angry, or 'angry i' is operating, you can still remember what not being angry is like...


Yes, I can relate to this. But It’s that bolded “you” that “I” perceive to be the “feeling of being” the “watcher”, the “observer”, the constant. It is the sense of being separate, watching, that never goes away. It’s perceived that this self, is why there is no memory loss from “angry – I” to “calm – I”. It’s like the “feeling of being – I” always is there and observes itself changing, fluxing, noticing but not leaving. The only time it goes away is in a PCE, otherwise there is always a sense of “me” there that provides a feeling of continuity to life.

This might help clear it up for me. When not in a PCE is the any sense of perception that is not 100% “me”? If out of a PCE the mind/body perception of being, of reality is 100% “me”, and in a PCE “I” am 100% gone, there must be a sense of lost time with just memories of something that happened that “I” didn’t experience. Anything else would indicate at least some part of existence is both in and out of the PCE, right? Can't that thing be some sense of "me"?

I’m sorry I’m not getting this and it’s probably a bit of the fact that I am not a Vippassana practitioner that has more experience with investigating “I”.

Thanks
Ed

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
8/2/11 12:05 PM as a reply to ed c.
ed c:
This might help clear it up for me. When not in a PCE is the any sense of perception that is not 100% “me”? If out of a PCE the mind/body perception of being, of reality is 100% “me”, and in a PCE “I” am 100% gone, there must be a sense of lost time with just memories of something that happened that “I” didn’t experience. Anything else would indicate at least some part of existence is both in and out of the PCE, right? Can't that thing be some sense of "me"?


a PCE isn't like another self taking over your body and doing stuff with it against your will. (part of) what is dropped in the PCE is clinging to consciousness - the feeling of being. but what remains is pure consciousness. and there pure conscious experiencing, and later, memory of pure conscious experiencing. no 'me' there, but there is experiencing still.

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
8/2/11 1:21 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
ed c:
This might help clear it up for me. When not in a PCE is the any sense of perception that is not 100% “me”? If out of a PCE the mind/body perception of being, of reality is 100% “me”, and in a PCE “I” am 100% gone, there must be a sense of lost time with just memories of something that happened that “I” didn’t experience. Anything else would indicate at least some part of existence is both in and out of the PCE, right? Can't that thing be some sense of "me"?


a PCE isn't like another self taking over your body and doing stuff with it against your will. (part of) what is dropped in the PCE is clinging to consciousness - the feeling of being. but what remains is pure consciousness. and there pure conscious experiencing, and later, memory of pure conscious experiencing. no 'me' there, but there is experiencing still.


Hi Beo -
The part in bold is what I'm trying to clarify. When "I - feeling of being" leave for a PCE to happen and then come back after a PCE is done, there will be memories of things that were experienced by "pure consciousness" that "I" will not remember experiencing at all, because by definition "I" wasn't there, right? How else could “you – the feeling of being, the watcher” know what “pure consciousness” experienced while you were gone, except by memories?

I must not be explaining myself well, there is some part experience that is part of the PCE and non PCE that bridges this gap, or maybe this can be explained logically? I'm actually somewhat OK with that. It’s most likely that what “I” mean by “I” is different than what you mean by “I”. It's also very possible that I am going to delete this whole thread in shame when I realize how obtuse I was being…
Thanks
Ed

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
8/2/11 3:18 PM as a reply to ed c.
hi Ed,
i think you're trying to ask a question that doesn't exist...

ed c:
and in a PCE “I” am 100% gone, there must be a sense of lost time with just memories of something that happened that “I” didn’t experience.

it's more like: memories of an experience that "i' didn't distort.
if this 'i' you're talking about is the feeling entity, or identity which stops operating in a pce, you seem to be assuming that it's this identity that experiences (sense contact and thoughts) when it doesn't. sense contact happens, and the feeling 'i' claims possession of it, feels things about it, and distorts its clear perception. that's why a pce is not "an experience that 'i' wasn't there to experience" but rather "an experience that 'i' wasn't there to distort".

ed c:
Remember, yes. But there can’t be any sense that “I” experienced that PCE or it wasn’t a PCE, right? There must just be memories that can be accessed that “I - the feeling of being, the watcher" don’t recall experiencing, only I know it must have happened because memories are there.

to put it accurately: the feeling being feels something about how it wasn't there in the experience recalled. it's not the feeling being that recalls and remembers things. the feeling being just generates feelings and takes ownership of stuff it's attached to. forget the pce--the feeling being is unable to "recall experiencing" anything ever, because it is thought and memory(brain?) that do the recalling and recognizing of sense experience, and the feeling being is juxtaposed with all that experiencing, giving everything a mood, personal interpretation and evaluation.
because the normal pre-path perspective holds the me-identity as body, thinker, feeler, watcher, planner, decision maker, reactor, sufferer, enjoyer, and some kind of experiencer and rememberer of all the sense contact and thoughts, path is useful because there is a lot in this 'me' that can be deconstructed to more easily identify the bare feeling identity. otherwise, it's hard to reduce the perspective of the 'i' to only the 'feeling entity' or 'identity' that actualist practice points to. vipassana can help deconstruct all the different aspects of 'i' to keep stripping it down.

ed c:
This might help clear it up for me. When not in a PCE is the any sense of perception that is not 100% “me”? If out of a PCE the mind/body perception of being, of reality is 100% “me”, and in a PCE “I” am 100% gone, there must be a sense of lost time with just memories of something that happened that “I” didn’t experience. Anything else would indicate at least some part of existence is both in and out of the PCE, right? Can't that thing be some sense of "me"?

i think there's a big spectrum of self-ing, and the configuration of what objects are taken as self probably vary from person to person (how much of body, mind, thought, feeling is taken as 'my identity'). with insight practices that initial "everything here is 100% me" gets deconstructed, and different insights related to impermanence and not-self will come, like shades of that experience you had when you said there was "very little sense of me". i wouldn't describe the grey shades as "some part of existence is both in and out of the pce" though, as the p in pce stands for "pure".

jill

RE: Goenka Vipassana, novice meditators with an AF goal.
Answer
8/2/11 5:20 PM as a reply to Jill Morana.
Got it!
The flaw is absolutely in considering “me” the “experiencer” now! “I” am giving myself characteristics or abilities that “I” do not have.

If “I” were truly the experiencer now, after a PCE was done, there would be a gap in experience that only memories could fill. But since there is not, it’s actually the proof “I” was never the experiencer to begin with. Further, as you say, when back, the feeling being feels something about how it wasn’t there for the experience so it’s clear something happened while “I” was away and the mind/body were free of “me” but the experience is not just a memory. From my current perspective of the “experiencer” that does not make fully sense, BUT it is understood now in the context of the illusion!

The PCE is what provides the rock solid experiential proof that “I” do not have control, “I do not think, “I” do not make decisions, “I” do not experience, etc… I just “feel” that “I” do. Awesome! I know I’ve read that a dozen times but I never considered that in relation to a PCE until now.

Anyway, this should be it to rest for now and what a PCE should be very clear when it happens. From this lens I still do not think my July 3rd state was a PCE, but very valuable nonetheless.

Perhaps "I" should feel ashamed, but "I" am blaming this on intellect, which is not me. It's always letting me down. emoticon

Ahhhhhh…Thanks for sticking with me!
(sorry, beo i think you were saying the same thing. Makes sense now)
Ed