Quick Retreat Report

K Vassili, modified 3 Months ago at 4/19/22 11:45 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 1/14/22 3:07 PM

Quick Retreat Report

Posts: 8 Join Date: 12/10/21 Recent Posts

Following the suspect of being in the PoI and crossing A&P the first time 8 y ago. I decided, as a complete newbie, to give Insight practice a fair shot in orded to gain a better picture. With “practical Insight meditation” by Mahashi instructions at hand and 2 free weeks I departed to a little apartment on the swiss Alps.

First days:
I belive A&P started already at the end of day 2. The maniacal energy and concentration were evident. Easy to imagine how difficult was to sleep. The next 3/4 days things got undefined with A&P like sensation and cool experience at time, tougher and some equanimeous moments also alternating. Difficult to say if they were PoI related or just normal retreat challenges.

I was only able to mediate formally for an average of 7 hours a day since head pressures started to get bad in the evening. I tried to maintain an object in my momentary attentional structure from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep, but I wasn’t always going in super slow motion. I also used the  “The Hierarchy of Vipassana Practice “(https://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2472907 ) as a practical reference in monitoring my Vipassana skills.

Post Teacher Advices:
Speaking/Checking in with Stephen Procter on the 6th day was a turning point. He really helped giving me direction and transforming a process that started feeling like a battle into something healing and freeing.
He instructed me to, after deconstructing a sensation, look for her vedata and then for the correlated aversion/clinging. Then to soften the clinging and aversion using softening skill part of his meditative system( https://midlmeditation.com/ ).
Soon after I added this to my practice I started going though stable and distinct light version of the first 4 jhanas just by softening during noting. Are this the vipassana jhanas? Does this mean that I was reaching EQ?
6th 7th 8th days mornings, by the 2nd or 3rd sit, the jhana cycle arised. By the 8th day I was sure about being in EQ and I noticed that the 4th jhana remained after that jhana sits for the rest of the day if I kept momentum going. Every day I was going a bit deeper in EQ, the further I went the less reactive my mind become. Is this a common manifestation of the PoI or I’m mistaken in some way?

Covid-19:
The 9th day I needed to change location and the travel was going well. I practiced walking meditation at the train stations and thanks god it was Christmas so almost nobody was around J.
Too bad I was exposed to Omicron during the travel and I developed High fever in less than 12 hours.  Head pressure and high fever aren’t a good combination. I stopped the retreat and practice in general in order to get some good rest and heal.

I didn’t experienced cessations but I have to admit that, when I was in something that resembled EQ or high EQ, I always tried to make things happen instead of letting the process unfold. I consider the retreat a success as I have now a little bit more of an understating about how to perform vipassana and I can now see the value of insights. Even if I didn’t land stream entry, my relationship to my experience changed in a freeing way. I think that the freeing happened especially during the times that my mind got spooked when seeing the automaticity of my internal processes. My mind felt a bit quieter, a bit more spacious after the retreat. Her non reactivity during the high fever impressed me, but of course this was also the retreat afterglow.

Can someone explain to me how the PoI and “The Hierarchy of Vipassana Practice “relate? Can someone land streamentry from step 5? Or does one need to work from step 9 when in EQ in order to make knowledge of Conformity happen?

Im now focusing on finding a sustainable samatha structure to support a vipassana practice. I m slowly finding way of practicing that don’t trigger my head pressure too much (Im writing a detailed post on this).

I can't wait to retry the opera with some vipassana skills under my belt. Probably next October I will have 2 free weeks again.

Cheers,
Vassili K
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago at 4/21/22 7:03 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 4/21/22 7:03 PM

RE: Quick Retreat Report

Posts: 931 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Hello,

This goes without saying but I'll say it anyways: In "The Hierarchy of Vipassana Practice" you need to be solid 10 emoticon
Also it does not relate to PoI directly. It relates only in this way that in order to get to High EQ needed for fruition you need to be able to do vipassana well.

One could probably create some kind of graph where it would be stated that in order to get to this nana this level of skill is needed, something like that. But practicality of such endeavor would be extremely dubious and would only serve to confuse people. The key information is stated in the 10th point. Simple as that and most useful.

Besides you should not focus on such things. What you should focus on are sensations!

And this actually brings me to one interesting tidbit about the mind:
Goals that you define in your mind have profound effect on the mind and where its focus goes.
If you define your goal as "Attaining 1st path fruition by finishing PoI " then obviously mind will focus on where on the map it is, what are other useful maps, how they relate, etc. and this is because these things can be known if you read about them or ask about them. Thus mind tries to get information that it feels is vital for realization of the task. You also practice and obviously you notice sensations but part of minds focus goes to hardly useful activities to get hardly useful knowledge.

Instead if you made your goal something like "Understanding why the the experience have these specific sensations and not some other arbitrary sensations of my own choosing" then even without any maps or instructions on how to practice you would figure out how to practice and how to have arbitrary sensations rather than ones you normally get and with such insight and the way you got it it would mean you would attain not only 4th path but Buddhahood. Just by setting yourself right goal emoticon

But let's make it something more down to Earth and closer to current goal.
This "The Hierarchy of Vipassana Practice" list has nice points which can be used as goals. You could set your goal to get to skills from 10th point and split it to smaller sub-goals for previous points. My advice is however to not set fruition itself as the goal. Only skills needed to have it. Why that is I hinted at already but it might be useful to ponder about it for a while as it can lead to useful insights which scope is much larger than just the meditative path.