Feeling of emptiness and detachment on vipassana retreat

M, modified 2 Months ago.

Feeling of emptiness and detachment on vipassana retreat

Posts: 41 Join Date: 3/25/20 Recent Posts
I recently had an odd experience while on a Goenka vipassana retreat. After several days being equanimous towards body sensations while experiencing a mix of intense sexual fantasies and trying to figure out a way to salvage a romantic relationship in my life, I felt like I temporarily cut through all lust and my desire to be loved. For about 12 hours, I felt like I was floating through the world. It was neither pleasant nor unpleasant. If it weren't for the strict schedule, I wouldn't have known what to do with myself.

These are a few things I wanted to note about the experience. What was this? Is this a normal part of the path? I would appreciate any input and/or guidance. 

  • When I contemplated the idea of sex or pursuing a relationship, there was no craving or aversion for it -- just this odd sense of "Why would I do that? What would be the point of pursuing those kinds of impermanent sensations?" 
  • Occasionally, grief crept into the emptiness. When I decided to pursue a path out of suffering, I don't think I realized it might mean fully giving up the desire for a relationship or sex. I asked myself - if I continue on this path, will this emptiness solidify more fully? Do I want that? 
  • I felt some relief. Without the desire to be loved or to have sex, I did feel like I suffered less about the relationship I was upset about. 
I'm a couple days out of the retreat and still largely feeling this way, though less intensely. I'm not really sure what to do with myself. Keep meditating?
Eudoxos ., modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Feeling of emptiness and detachment on vipassana retreat

Posts: 87 Join Date: 4/6/14 Recent Posts
Hard to say without context, but to me it sounds like A&P (enjoyable, "equanimous", sexual) and then dissolution: feelings of loss, disconnection, disorientation (in space, time, and everything), doubt (what is the point of...? also about meditation itself), bits of sadness/grief, also ease in a way. Know anyway that everything is subject to change, so try not to make big conclusions about momentary body/mind-states. They will change. Keep practicing / noting and see what happens. Good luck!
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Feeling of emptiness and detachment on vipassana retreat

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
M
I recently had an odd experience while on a Goenka vipassana retreat. After several days being equanimous towards body sensations while experiencing a mix of intense sexual fantasies and trying to figure out a way to salvage a romantic relationship in my life, I felt like I temporarily cut through all lust and my desire to be loved. For about 12 hours, I felt like I was floating through the world. It was neither pleasant nor unpleasant. If it weren't for the strict schedule, I wouldn't have known what to do with myself.

These are a few things I wanted to note about the experience. What was this? Is this a normal part of the path? I would appreciate any input and/or guidance. 

  • When I contemplated the idea of sex or pursuing a relationship, there was no craving or aversion for it -- just this odd sense of "Why would I do that? What would be the point of pursuing those kinds of impermanent sensations?" 
  • Occasionally, grief crept into the emptiness. When I decided to pursue a path out of suffering, I don't think I realized it might mean fully giving up the desire for a relationship or sex. I asked myself - if I continue on this path, will this emptiness solidify more fully? Do I want that? 
  • I felt some relief. Without the desire to be loved or to have sex, I did feel like I suffered less about the relationship I was upset about. 
I'm a couple days out of the retreat and still largely feeling this way, though less intensely. I'm not really sure what to do with myself. Keep meditating?


In some contexts A&P doesn't fully match up. I remember being in a group of people while on retreat and feeling this wave of good will and loving kindness. We all looked at each other and said "did you feel that?" It kind of led to a passive detachment. So maybe it is Maitreya energy that comes down during retreat.
M, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Feeling of emptiness and detachment on vipassana retreat

Posts: 41 Join Date: 3/25/20 Recent Posts
Would you mind explaining what you mean by Maitreya energy? I googled it but the results aren't that clear. 
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Feeling of emptiness and detachment on vipassana retreat

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
It can come in many forms, but think of it as a means of ordering the senses. You get a burst of something special that doesn't fit on any maps, and boom! you can now interpret people's advice as to how to practice. Ever sense that time I can visualize what sense goes in what order. It just takes a leap of faith perhaps.
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Feeling of emptiness and detachment on vipassana retreat

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Also, 8 years prior to that, I remember getting my wisdom teeth out. When they put me under, I experienced the same kind of equanimous, uplifting joy as they were putting me under. The doctor and everyone seemed happy and yet I was passive. Another hint at Maitreya perhaps? I am no doctor though. 
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Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Feeling of emptiness and detachment on vipassana retreat

Posts: 69 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
Hey M, sounds like A&P indeed, although not 100% attempt to diagnose you. Floating through the world could be Dissolution, but again - not attempt to correctly diagnose you, so take it with a pinch of salt.

If you haven't read MCTB, here is a short summary video of the stages of insight. If you have, this is covered there.
https://vimeo.com/69793499

If you have indeed hit A&P, you will likely be entering Dark Night soon, or might have entered already.
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As mentioned also in the other topic, if you have hit A&P, it means you are on the Path! This is a great milestone and opens up a great opportunity to awaken to your true nature (centerless luminous interconnectedness), but you still have some way to go emoticon My advice would be to use the great experience that you have had as a spring-board, establish a daily practice (45 min at least recommended + upper bound could be whatever you feel comfortable with), see how things progress for you in the coming weeks and take it from there. DhO is a great place where you can find advanced practitioners to help, provide resources, advice, etc.

Let us know if you need specific advice on where you are, what practice to do, etc. Good luck!!! emoticon

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