Interesting experience at the very end of a Goenka retreat...

a person, modified 7 Years ago at 7/11/14 9:12 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 7/11/14 2:44 PM

Interesting experience at the very end of a Goenka retreat...

Posts: 27 Join Date: 11/12/13 Recent Posts

So, I posted a different thread awhile ago and my experiences were diagnosed as the stages of insight up until dissolution.

Since then, I've been to a Goenka Vipassana retreat and have been almost practicing daily.  The Goenka Vipassana retreat was a few weeks ago. This was my second one. It was pretty intense. My goal was to be as equanimus as possible. I think I did it pretty well...although I grew obscenely frustrated at times, I managed to accept most of my experiences. I spent a lot of my down time trying to think my way out of some mental problems, but eventually realized that process was fruitless and ended up relying on sensation observation to calm myself down.

Anyways. At the very end, I had two strange experiences. The first was "uniform subtle sensations" I believe, or something similar at least. I could go anywhere on my body with complete ease-of-access and see clearly what was happening on both a gross/subtle level.

This went away, and I tried not to crave it. As in, I tried to be mindful so that the natural craving that arose was experienced equanimously, and didn't lead to further craving.

During one of the final meditations...after noble silence had ended....I had another one of these "uniform sensation" experiences, but this time I was also observing what appeared to be all of the mental phenomena associated with my physical sensations. There was a sense of "I'm not missing a beat..." (although I may have been).  This was an extremely satisfying experience because I'd fallen into a world of effortless, and seemingly total mindfulness.  It felt like there was just a stream of various sensations (both mental and physical) and craving/aversion towards them.

Can someone diagnose this experience? There was also the sense that I could have penetrated my body and seen what was going on inside pretty easily, although I chose not to.
Daniel M Ingram, modified 7 Years ago at 7/12/14 5:25 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 7/12/14 5:25 AM

RE: Interesting experience at the very end of a Goenka retreat... (Answer)

Posts: 3226 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Most of those really nice experiences of strong, flowing, rapid, clear, effortless mindfulness are the A&P stage in some way: very common, very nice.

Equanimity is important, but investigation and honesty are more important. Higher levels of true, full-spectrum, wide, deep Equanimity come naturally sometimes from really well-done investigation and honesty much more often than by focusing on trying to be equanimous, which most of the time is actually some sort of enforced and somewhat dishonest passivity, tolerance, flatness, indifference, immitation of Equanimity, etc. Something to watch out for. Better to just notice every little sensation arise and vanish regardless of what it was rather than have too much of an adgenda for them, which attempting to be Equanimous is.

While opinions on Teal Swan vary, the point she made in this particular video to which my mom just sent me the link is useful in this context. It is the only video of hers I have watched, and I don't know much else about her, but the point about noticing really honestly and openly what suffering there is and what reactions to your emotions you are honestly having will serve you better in the long-run from a pure Vipassana point of view than by trying to be ok with everything: subte but important difference.
a person, modified 7 Years ago at 7/12/14 11:12 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 7/12/14 11:09 AM

RE: Interesting experience at the very end of a Goenka retreat...

Posts: 27 Join Date: 11/12/13 Recent Posts
Thanks for the response.  My efforts were definitely overly idealistic/dilluted at points...not all the time, but it would consistently happen.  For some reason, at this retreat I felt really compelled to work hard (which I couldn't help but feel proud of...ah, the ego...).  I'm not sure if "working hard" is even applicable to something like meditation, since that can naturally make you pretty egotistical in the process.

I also did try a lot of honest investigation...largely by trying to accept whatever I found, which tended to feel like it made my investigating clearer.  Does that make sense?  Was that an illusion?  There was a sense of emotional awareness, but it's hard to describe.

At my first retreat, I literally spent the entire time wanting to experience uniform subtle vibrations.  I don't know why I did this, since they repeatedly warn you not to do this.  So, I was trying to avoid that process this time around by consistently reminding myself to remain equanimous.

Also.  Do you have any recommendations for longer retreats?  What do you think of Goenka retreats?

Edit: oh, I didn't notice that video link...