Goenka retreat overnight buzz

Dave Evans, modified 6 Years ago at 3/7/16 8:40 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 3/7/16 8:34 PM

Goenka retreat overnight buzz

Posts: 3 Join Date: 3/7/16 Recent Posts
First post here, what an incredible resource to find, thank you all for your contributions. I have a lot of reading to do.

Last year I did my first retreat, a 10-day silent S. N. Goenka retreat in Massachusetts in the US. Something amazing happened and I feel like this is the right place to bring it up and perhaps figure out what happened with me.

A bit of background by way of introduction. My dad taught me the basics of Vipassana when I was 16 and I had no idea what I was doing. I had a few sits as a teenager that I would consider wonderful gifts of the “burning bush” variety. Between 2005 and 2012 I was a sporadic meditator, often with periods of a year or more in between hitting the cushion.
In 2011, for a period of a month or two, I was sitting more often than not for 45 minutes, often at night. Several times in that brief period, at around the 40-minute mark, my entire body would get extremely tingly and fuzzy, a coarse, incredibly blissful feeling, slightly overwhelming. Each time my mind wandered the feeling would decrease, and refocusing would bring it back. I'd stop at around the one-hour mark, as my focus waned and the feeling abated, and that was that. Some sub-level of the First Jhana perhaps?

Last year, on day 4 of the Goenka retreat, at around 9pm after receiving Vipassana instructions, I decided to sit on my bed and meditate. Immediately, my entire body started to buzz, reminding me of the previous coarse blissful feeling from 2011, but with more buzz and less bliss. Side note: During the instructions, when Goenka said to start focusing at the top of the head the first time, the crown of my head felt like it was burning on fire with a lot of pressure around the skull, all from watching a video of him, amazing.
Instead of a fleeting feeling, the buzzy feeling stayed with me for three hours, and continued when I woke up at 4:30am the next morning.
After an hour or so, I was in awe and not knowing what to do, I started experimenting with my breath and focus, trying to see inside my body, doling my breath, thinking about random thing, and then finally seeing if I could shift into another level. But nothing happened. What I do remember is that I could think of anything at all without the buzz decreasing in intensity. I felt like I could sit in that state forever, but it actually got boring after a while. It was frustrating to be stuck in this deeply altered state, far deeper than I’d ever been, and not having the knowledge and tools to work with it or progress further.
Finally at around midnight I decided to go to bed, as I had to get up at 4:30am to start meditating again. The feeling continued until I finally fell asleep. When I woke up, I was right were I left off, a gross-buzzy feeling, not a lot of bliss, but excited that I still felt that way. After a shower and walking to the meditation hall, the feeling disappeared. I felt "normal" again, no residual effects to speak of.

What happened to me?
I know this is not a lot to go on, I lack the experience and vocabulary to describe what I went through. I’ll continue to search through the diagnostic forum for additional ways to explain what I felt and see if any other posts resonate. I wanted to get this out there to see if anyone could tell me what happened.

Thank you for reading, appreciate any feedback you might have.
neko, modified 6 Years ago at 3/8/16 3:24 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 3/8/16 3:24 AM

RE: Goenka retreat overnight buzz

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Hello Dave! Welcome emoticon

What you have gone through is most likely the Arising and Passing Away



With a little bit of wandering off into jhana / the corruptions of insight. In this map


notice the arrow going back and forth between the A&P and second jhana. I am saying second, not first jhana, because it was obviously stable, given the duration.

The "more buzz and less bliss" phase might be the entrance to the Dark Night

Dave Evans, modified 2 Years ago at 12/9/19 4:13 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 12/9/19 4:13 PM

RE: Goenka retreat overnight buzz

Posts: 3 Join Date: 3/7/16 Recent Posts
Neko, sorry that I never thanked you for your response back in 2016. My apologies, as your response was quite helpful. Now its 2019 and I'm re-reading what I wrote and your response, and wondering if there was anything you would change/add to your response back in 2016.

These types of experiences are simply signposts along the way, showing me that I should keep going with my practice, and yet I'm still curious about that particular night. To be clear, many other signposts have appeared since then which I don't think much about, it's all just part of the process. Something about striving too hard vs. letting things happen, I'll continue to work on that.

Thank you so much,