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Too many sensations?

Anonymous, modified 6 Years ago.

Too many sensations?

Post: 1
Attended a 10-day Goenka retreat last year and was surprised at how easy it was to get into concentration on the breath, never having meditated much before. Had one night of heart-pounding terror, backed off for a few days but came out with a positive experience overall. Got back into it heavily back home but for the past few weeks I seem to now have too many sensations and I'm not sure how to get out of this.

When I do the body scans I very quickly get into the waves of sensation, even though I try not to become attached to them, and notice how quickly they pass and change etc., but I feel like I am becoming a sensation junkie and this is not where I was trying to go. Not just that, but when I get off the cushion, the vibrations continue. Just sitting here typing I can feel them tingling from head to foot. I've tried going deeper into the awareness of breath concentration, to see if I can just get past this, but find myself getting waylaid by the waves of sensation. I try the body scanning, but again, it's distracting and almost too easy. If feelings of euphoria were my goal, I guess I'd be patting myself on the back, particularly since I'm a female who has spent years living inside her head. But I would like to progress beyond this. How can I back on track here? Thanks!
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sawfoot _, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Too many sensations?

Posts: 507 Join Date: 3/11/13 Recent Posts
Dear Anonymous,

Hi.

Where are you trying to go? Where do you want to progress to? Where does the track that you want to get back to lead? It sounds like you have gotten somewhere towards those goals - connecting yourself more to your body and outside of your head. The thing about retreat is that it dumps you really far along the track, probably farther than you are ready for, and then its a struggle into integrate all the new stuff into your life. But I wouldn't worry about it. All those feelings of euphoria don't sound so bad...and I would guess that quickly it will start to fade and become less intense, and you will go back to normal, or thereabouts.
alison Seas, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Too many sensations?

Posts: 8 Join Date: 4/1/14 Recent Posts
Yes, I was trying to get into the Vipassana/insight meditation when I went on the retreat. But I've just started reading MCTB and I can also see the attraction of the absorption methods, which I seem to naturally gravitate towards. However, I think that might be a big distraction.

But is it possible to combine the two methods successfully, or will I be working at cross purposes? If I could have it my way, I'd hang out for a while enjoying the sensations and bliss, then next session get to work on my "meaning of life" questions. So maybe even spend half a session working on each! I agree, I think I came to far too quickly and am in danger of completely confusing my practice. I also feel that I'm about to take flight, but not sure where/how, if that makes sense. I can feel something in the pit of my stomach, like there is something almost within my grasp but maybe I'm too stupid to see it!
Alison
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Too many sensations?

Posts: 1311 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
alison Seas:
Yes, I was trying to get into the Vipassana/insight meditation when I went on the retreat. But I've just started reading MCTB and I can also see the attraction of the absorption methods, which I seem to naturally gravitate towards. However, I think that might be a big distraction.

But is it possible to combine the two methods successfully, or will I be working at cross purposes? If I could have it my way, I'd hang out for a while enjoying the sensations and bliss, then next session get to work on my "meaning of life" questions. So maybe even spend half a session working on each! I agree, I think I came to far too quickly and am in danger of completely confusing my practice. I also feel that I'm about to take flight, but not sure where/how, if that makes sense. I can feel something in the pit of my stomach, like there is something almost within my grasp but maybe I'm too stupid to see it!
Alison

Finish reading MCTB and then maybe reread it again...I got a lot out of it that way.
I would also trust in what is coming up for you. Why not spend the first part of your sit getting concentrated and focus on the bliss then move on to noticing whatever sensations come up? Note the sounds, sight, feelings/body scan, thoughts and even taste or smell if it happens. Whatever is coming up for you is probably what you need to work on at the moment....this has always been the case for me...what else would you focus on? See reality as it happens as clearly as you can...see what happens.
Good Luck,
~D
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Eric M W, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Too many sensations?

Posts: 288 Join Date: 3/19/14 Recent Posts
Try making a mental note of the euphoric sensations one by one as they occur. Absorption is only an obstacle if you get caught up in it and don't see it for what it is.
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Chris G, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Too many sensations?

Posts: 118 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I think it would be useful for you to have a discussion with a teacher or assistant teacher from the Goenka tradition. They'll certainly have some clear instruction for you. Try contacting the center where you did your course.

Even if you decide to go the MCTB route, I think it would be useful to hear what they have to say. Also, since it sounds like you've made good progress with this technique, you might consider sticking with it for a while longer to see where it leads. There could be a pot 'o gold waiting for you not too far off... :-)
alison Seas, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Too many sensations?

Posts: 8 Join Date: 4/1/14 Recent Posts
Thanks to all of you for the helpful suggestions. Things seem to have resolved in their own way, maybe just talking about it helped too. Anyway, back to careful observation and nothing unusual occurring. I guess, truth be told, I miss the sensations and now it just feels sort of blah. Actually might just take a few days off from it as I'm not feeling that inspired right now.

On a more interesting note, the book (MCTB ) is an eye opener! Who knew this was out there! I have no doubt I'll be feeling more inspired as I get more in to reading that and just take a few days off. I do recognize in future to have a more disciplined approach and know more where I'm heading as this is obviously powerful stuff -- and I know how much I don't know.

Thanks again!
al
Maher K, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Too many sensations?

Posts: 14 Join Date: 1/11/13 Recent Posts
Why do you think it is a good idea to take a few days off? I am a Goenka practitioner myself, and I've regretted all the "breaks" I've taken from regular practice. Now I practice an hour a day and have been trying to get back up to 2 hours, as recommended. I don't know how far you've gotten into MCTB, but from the way you were describing your sits it seems like you were in the A&P (waves of sensations, overwhelming, euphoric) and you have now passed into Dissolution (euphoria is gone, feels kind of raw, don't really feel like practicing, things feel done) They are stages 4 and 5 on the progress of insight section in MCTB.

Not practicing consistently always leads to a "regression" in my practice, and I've personally observed that when I don't practice I can feel my mindfulness and equanimity slowly but surely deteriorating. I'm sure there were times on retreat where you felt uninspired to practice, but you did it anyway. And I'm sure you're aware of how a "few days" of not doing anything can turn into weeks, weeks into months, etc.

Really helpful page about stream-entry from a Goenka perspective by a member of this forum: Stream Entry on a 10 day goneka retreat

Metta
Maher
alison Seas, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Too many sensations?

Posts: 8 Join Date: 4/1/14 Recent Posts
Thank you, Maher, interesting link and I see your point. Yes, strangely down today and first time not meditating for weeks and that was also how I was on about day 8 of the retreat when I felt like busting out. Having been poking around reading these threads and more, it seems I was naive in thinking I could just sit for an hour a day basking in my new-found equanimity and achieve great insights. It's obviously more of a roller coaster ride which I'm not yet in control of! I'm afraid of becoming obsessed with this and it affecting other areas of my life, I guess. I'll be too busy sitting to get any work done.

However, I have come this far and I should give it more of a chance. I'll get back on it tomorrow and just take whatever comes.

Al

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