Another confused newcomer

Noah 42, modified 12 Years ago at 4/12/10 4:50 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/12/10 4:50 PM

Another confused newcomer

Posts: 19 Join Date: 4/12/10 Recent Posts
Hello fellow practicioners,

I've been meditating goenka style for two years now, but i'm a little confused as to where i am and where i should go next. I'm posting in the hopes that someone with experience could help me give some direction to my practice, or relief some doubt. I feel somewhat like a little mushroom ;)

I'm not really short with words, so in advance I'd like say I'm grateful to whoever is taking the time to read my post. Thanks to you. Please feel free to respond to any section of my post.

I'll summarize my experience so far:
I've done 5 10-day Goenka courses, and the first one was the most impressing experience i've had in meditation. On the last few days I felt a glow over my whole body that was oozing in a slow pace, wich felt extremely nice. When the bell rang, I could feel the sound tingling all over my body. My my mind was really quiet, and every now and then I'd notice that my 'thought organ' was uttering some nonsense in lack of me giving it direction (quite funny, that). I was totally amazed by the fact that i could experience something like I was, and I was in total bliss.
When the course ended i felt extremely light, happy and loving like I hadn't felt in years.
In fact I had been fairly miserable and I had forgotten I could feel this good about myself.
So at the last day i decided to fully dedicate myself to vipassana.

Any idea what it was I experienced during that first retreat?

After that, it took me two more courses to stop craving for that first experience to return (wich it didn't, by the way). It took me another course to stop trying to talk myself into equanimity (I was intellectually trying to figure out how to be equanimous). And the last course i finally dropped relating my meditation to my stuff and stories.

Maybe I should add that I'm still mentally quite miserable. I'm having mild depression, lots of fear (social anxiety), guilt and low self esteem. This might add to uncertainty wether I'm doing the right thing or making progress. However I'm trying to fix this all with wordly means (e.g. therapy), and regard it as stuff and try to ignore it during meditation. I hope that is a fruitful perpective with respect to meditation?

So then, where am I now? I read Daniel Ingrams book, but i cannot relate my experience to any of the first vipassana ├▒anas with any certainty. I'll try to describe it.
When in meditation, but also somewhat during daily activities, I feel this tingling feeling over (parts of) my body, somewhat similar to the feeling of a numb foot. Sometimes it oozes a little. Incidentally, I feel bubble-like sensations, like as if my skin was water and air-bubbles reach the surface. More frequently I feel sensations like a small muscle contracting really quickly a few times, not necessarily in places where there actually is a muscle. Sometimes there's a litlle more movement to it, like a very small snake or worm crawling under my skin (i'm tempted to relate these last sensations to me being equanimous with negative thought, as there's a sense of relief to it, but I hesitate to draw such conclusions).
Sometimes I have area's of a few centimeters wide that feel hard like rock, pressured. These come and go on my head, face, my legs or my arms, and I feel them throughout the day, not just in meditation. They come and go for a few days, and then I don't feel them for a week. I have the sense that they are hurtfull, yet i don't seem to mind them. Sometimes I feel other kinds of bodily pains, like a sudden sting for example. I also have quite tensed face muscles (jaws, eyes).
Also, when in retreat, after a day or two there comes a buzz in my ear, and after the last retreat it stayed with me. The buzz strengthens when in meditation, but also when doing activities that require concentration, like reading a book.

Well, that more or less summarizes my experiences.

So my question is: what is all this?Where am I and what should I focus on?
I'm thinking maybe I should focus first on mastering the concentration jhana's to support vipassana practice, since i feel my concentration isn't very well developed despite two years of practice. With that in mind, is it worthwhile to just do anapana at home ( I aim to meditate 2 hours a day)? Or is it improbable that I develop enough concentration when engaged in society (and without direct guidance), and should I keep combining anapana with body-scanning, leaving the jhana goal for a special retreat? And if so, am I on the right track for reaching the A&P event and aim further for stream entry?

Any advise is very much welcomed.
And again thank you for taking the time to read my post.

Greetings and metta from the Netherlands,

Daniel M Ingram, modified 12 Years ago at 4/13/10 11:40 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/13/10 11:40 AM

RE: Another confused newcomer

Posts: 3230 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Welcome to the DhO.

Bliss, tingling, first big wow experience, want it back, etc. screams "I was the A&P!" ;)

Dark Night follows.

Get stream entry. Jhana can wait unless somehow you somehow can't wait for whatever reason.

I suspect more will chime in.

Noah 42, modified 12 Years ago at 5/22/10 3:21 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/13/10 3:19 PM

RE: Another confused newcomer

Posts: 19 Join Date: 4/12/10 Recent Posts
Hi Daniel,

Thank you very much for your response to my post. It's much appreciated.

So then I'm probably in Dark Night. Wich might explain to some extend why I'm feeling all this apathy, fear and what else is in the spectrum of negativity, despite me finally getting my life together.

Knowing this puts my mind at ease a little. I guess i could just focus on functioning in society acceptably and not strive for utter happiness from that part of life, at least for the time being. The misery is bearable (most of the time).

Meanwhile I'll keep going and aim to get stream entry and leave the concentration jhana's for what they are.
I understand noting-style vipassana is favored by many experienced practicioners, also as a means to get stream, right?
I'll see if a can find accomodation and guidance for that as accessible as the goenka centre.

Thanks for your advise and incentive. I'm glad I found this place :-)

I'll read more into dealing with dark night and how to go from there.
Any word of advise coming up is still very much welcomed and appreciated.


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