What was that? First ten day retreat

Lachlan Dale, modified 2 Years ago at 12/10/21 6:33 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 12/10/21 6:30 AM

What was that? First ten day retreat

Posts: 2 Join Date: 8/31/20 Recent Posts
Hey folks, I finished my first ten day meditation retreat a year ago. I still want to know what it was I experienced, and whether others have felt similar. I've been given no information, really. The retreat was in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin and Mother Sayamagyi.

Here is the report i wrote at the time (apologies for the length, but I don't really know what the important parts are):

When some people practise Vipassanā for the first time, they can feel an occasional sensation of pins-and-needles, or tightness somewhere in the body. Some find it difficult to detect much sensation at all. My experience was a little different. The first time I turned my attention to the top of my head I became aware of tens of thousands of sensations all throughout my body, constantly flashing in and out of existence, pulsing, shimmering, vibrating, sometimes rising and falling like waves. When I inspected the feeling of pain, I found the sensations pulsed at a different frequency to the feeling of heat. It was like I was able to see what our everyday experiences are really made of, and it was completely overwhelming. The sheer amount of information was too much for me, and these strange sensations had a particularly raw and visceral feeling to them. It was all rather unpleasant.After the session I experienced a few hours of high levels of anxiety - which is not something I ever really experience.
Over the coming days I became increasingly interested in Vipassanā practise. Through successive sessions, the sensations I observed as disparate, chaotic energy (like tv static) started to come into focus. I experienced chains of lightning, then eventually energy as a flux moving throughout my body. Over subsequent sessions the energy came further into focus as a pulsing, warbling whole. It seemed as though order had been imposed. When I moved to mind-body the sensation that was previously overwhelming was easier to deal with. A black disc formed at the of my mind’s eye, an grew to cover my entire field of ‘vision’. I was filled with a deep sense of calm.In following sessions it seemed as though I was slowly lighting each of my body parts on fire as I scanned through the body. The aim seemed to be to keep everything ablaze, and then, as we move to observe the whole of the mind-body entity, my whole form would burst into flames, and be filled with bliss. I would sit there, mind-body ablaze, and rest in this form. 
One night I had what seemed like deep meditative experiences in my dreams. I can recall a flash of white light, marked by an indescribable feeling. This happened again and again, and across multiple nights.
In one meditation I felt my body shuddering violently, and I felt like I was falling through space while being hit with waves of the strangest sensation that was both hot-and-cold, numb-and-sharp. A deep sense of peace lingered. Afterwards my body (both internally and externally) felt less solid, as did the external world. It felt hollow.
In my next session meditating felt so easy, so leisurely. There was no longer any rush or strain. I build the inner fire slowly and leisurely. When I moved to mind-body I relaxed even further. My reward was a building vibration of tiny particles and the most sublime and peaceful sense of bliss I have ever experienced. It was unspeakable beautiful. A gift.
Since that retreat I've never had much trouble reaching Access Concertration despite my lack of consistency. Most sessions I feel like im knocking on the door of the first Jhana, but lack the patience or discipline to stabilise entry into it.

Thoughts? Recommendations? I need to get my shit together and prioritise practise.
Pepe ·, modified 2 Years ago at 12/10/21 12:36 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 12/10/21 12:36 PM

RE: What was that? First ten day retreat

Posts: 730 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hi, welcome to DhO!

I would suggest you first define what are you aiming for with a meditation practice. If interested in calm-abiding or insight. You can have a good introduction for vipassana in Daniel Ingram's MCTB2 online book. For more resources, check Shargrol's books list. In this last link you can check the Centering section for pointers on calm-abiding and more. 

Regarding your phenomenological description during that retreat, you'll find helpful also (once you read MCTB2) this check list List of symptoms for ñana diagnosis and this section Arising & Passing Away

If you decide to start a daily practice, and you lack of a local face-to-face mentor/teacher, then I would suggest you start a practice log (check this section in DhO) as that helps in many ways, and you may receive feed-back from seasoned meditators.
Lachlan Dale, modified 2 Years ago at 12/13/21 5:39 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 12/13/21 5:39 AM

RE: What was that? First ten day retreat

Posts: 2 Join Date: 8/31/20 Recent Posts
Thank you. I'd read sections of MCTB when trying to understand what had happened, but I've just ordered a printed copy. It's great to know about the practise log as well.