Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 5 Months ago at 11/9/23 11:20 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/9/23 11:20 AM

Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
Hello everyone!

I recently did a 60-day retreat. I wrote up about 5 pages of detailed notes after the fact. Since it was so long, I decided to run it through chat-gpt to summarize it to make it more useful. Let me know if y'all want to see the full report/phenomenology.

Pre-Retreat: Leading up to the retreat, static practice, some head oozing, spaciness, and occasional head bobbing. General feeling of spaciousness. Increased meditation hours.
Involuntary Movements:
  • Days 1-5: Shaking, disconnected mind.
  • Days 6-30: Intense head drops, rocking body.
  • Days 30-40: Gradual lightening of movements.
  • Days 40-55: Energy ball oozing, jaw clenching, settling.
  • Days 55-60: Mostly settled, low-grade head bobbing.
Equanimity State Flips:
  • Days 5-15: Airy equanimity, late evenings, building.
  • Days 15-25: Extended periods in airy equanimity.
  • Days 25-35: Airy equanimity dies down.
  • Days 50-60: Periods of plain equanimity increase.
Misc/Health Issues:
  • Days 20-40: Sense door tinnitus, ringing, sparkly vision, body vibrations.
  • Days 40-60: Increased ear ringing with head oozing.
  • Days 10-30: Bad constipation, hemorrhoids, anal fissures.
  • Days 40-50: Constipation returns, adjusted magnesium citrate.
  • Day 43: Bad fever, exhaustion.

Main:
  • Days 1-5: Tough, back pain, slow time, restless sits.
  • Day 5-15: Detachment from back pain, jhanic energy, equanimity spikes.
  • Day 10-17: Mild jhanas, no-self experiences.
  • Day 10-30: Sense impressions change, unity experience.
  • Day 17: Third eye opening, decreased back pain.
  • Day 18-22: Attachment globs disappear.
  • Day 22-24: Light emotions, quick cycles.
  • Day 23: Craving break, lighter lust.
  • Day 27-28: Inner-voice volume shift.
  • Day 28-60: Time slows, continuous mindfulness.
  • Day 30: Oozy head flicker, relief.
  • Day 30: Intense leg pain vanishes.
  • Day 30-present: Continuous experience.
  • Day 31-32: Clear sensory perception.
  • Day 31-35: Unpleasant emotions spike.
  • Day 35-41: Progress slowdown, discouragement.
  • Day 42: Breakdown, low motivation.
  • Day 43-60: Low effort, unhappy camper.
  • Day 47ish: Attachments to mental states identified.
  • Day 53: Head oozing release, SE potential.
  • Day 53-55: Energized mind.
  • Day 55-60: Lack of drive to meditate.
Leading into the retreat, the practitioner experienced a static practice marked by head oozing, occasional spaciness, and light head bobbing. Despite increased meditation hours, there was a sense of stagnation since a previous two-week retreat in December. Involuntary movements played a significant role during the retreat, with intense head drops and body rocking dominating the first phase, gradually lightening up from days 30-40.

Throughout the retreat, the practitioner navigated intricate sensations centered around the head, where the prominent theme was the phenomenon of  “air bubbles” that felt oozing, full-head solid energy compression (generally pretty unpleasant and felt shitty), and a big ball (maybe the size of a baseball) of energy that felt like it was getting squished (very unpleasant and shitty). Initially experienced as a cloud-like, stuck energy causing discomfort, the oozing gradually evolved, leading to jaw clenching and teeth chattering. A pivotal moment occurred on day 17, marked by the sudden disappearance of back pain and the sensation of a third physical eyelid in the forehead, which twitched and then opened. This transformative event, akin to a third eye opening, coincided with the diminishing of the energy ball in the head, heightened sensitivity, and a significant reduction in back pain. The journey through these head effects showcased the dynamic interplay of physical and energetic shifts, contributing to the practitioner's evolving states of mindfulness and equanimity.
Equanimity state flips revealed two distinct states—airy equanimity and plain equanimity. Airy equanimity brought lightness, spaciousness, and visual acuity, while plain equanimity exhibited a remarkable plainness without psychic gripping. These states varied in duration, with airy equanimity dominating the earlier days and gradually giving way to plain equanimity, which took up approximately one-third of the time by the end.
Robert Lydon, modified 5 Months ago at 11/10/23 7:19 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/10/23 7:18 PM

RE: Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 77 Join Date: 6/19/23 Recent Posts
Mad props for doing such a lengthy retreat. Cool that used chat gpt to give a summary and breakdown of insights. 

Did you find noting dropping away when in equanimity? Did you sit in choiceless awareness?
shargrol, modified 5 Months ago at 11/11/23 7:00 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/11/23 7:00 AM

RE: Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Yeah, great job going to and staying on retreat!

Looking back, what advice would you give to your pre-retreat self?
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 5 Months ago at 11/11/23 11:01 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/11/23 11:01 AM

RE: Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
@you I came into the retreat doing more choiceless awareness/noticing. Like I was already to the point where I was noticing 20-40 moments per second

@shargrol well, the 60-day retreats are more marathons than sprints. Like I definitely physically fried myself. Between getting sick, intense movement every sit, and trying to make basically every walking period it was too much. After the fever around day 40, I started doing more periods of laying meditation, and I should have been doing that much much earlier. 
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finding-oneself ♤, modified 5 Months ago at 11/11/23 1:47 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/11/23 1:47 PM

RE: Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 398 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
I literally saw the title, 60 day Mahasi, and my brain's thought arose, quote: "HOLY SHIT!"
shargrol, modified 5 Months ago at 11/12/23 7:12 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/12/23 7:12 AM

RE: Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Geoffrey B
@shargrol well, the 60-day retreats are more marathons than sprints. Like I definitely physically fried myself. Between getting sick, intense movement every sit, and trying to make basically every walking period it was too much. After the fever around day 40, I started doing more periods of laying meditation, and I should have been doing that much much earlier. 

Ah, okay -- I was wondering about that. I hear you, I had my own experience with that and it was just a 15 day retreat. You're absolutely right that it is much more like a marathon and you don't really need to "try hard" -- just the consistency of being on retreat is enough for making progress.

Well, the good news is that getting fried on retreat hopefully beats the lesson into us: follow the moment, as it is, and work on a kind of relaxed intimacy with experience, not a kind of aggressive "get to the truth of the matter will all my effort" kind of ambition. (It's true that some people need this kind of intensity to get a practice going, but it rarely works on longer residential retreats.) 

So what's next for you? When I got fried on retreat, it took me a month or so just to get whole again and I didn't do any practice, just recovery. But then I knew I wanted to practice consistently again, without making the same mistakes again. In fact it only took several more months of home practice to reach SE. I'm just mentioning that as -- hopefully -- inspiration if you find yourself going down that road.
shargrol, modified 5 Months ago at 11/13/23 6:14 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/13/23 6:14 AM

RE: Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Bad spam bot, no clicks for you!
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Chris M, modified 5 Months ago at 11/13/23 7:29 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/13/23 7:29 AM

RE: Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Spam bot banned, post deleted.
shargrol, modified 5 Months ago at 11/13/23 7:48 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/13/23 7:48 AM

RE: Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Thanks!

They're getting pretty smart. Just as an FYI for others, this one was "someone" who just joined and it was their first post. The bot quote part of the replies upthread, added an @username-type reference, and then added a link to a online game site. 

If that was automated, that's a slightlier more clever bot than... well, than what I've seen, but I'm not online that much.


I for one welcome our new bot overlords. emoticon emoticon
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Chris M, modified 5 Months ago at 11/13/23 8:10 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/13/23 8:10 AM

RE: Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
That's become a common strategy for the bots here. Hopefully, they get deleted before people encounter them.
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 5 Months ago at 11/13/23 12:18 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/13/23 12:18 PM

RE: Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
So what's next for you? When I got fried on retreat, it took me a month or so just to get whole again and I didn't do any practice, just recovery. But then I knew I wanted to practice consistently again, without making the same mistakes again. In fact it only took several more months of home practice to reach SE. I'm just mentioning that as -- hopefully -- inspiration if you find yourself going down that road.

This is inspiring! I'm a bit burnt out right now dealing with some big family stuff. But I have a hunch I'm getting close, so I just need to keep up with some gentle investigation and consistency.
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Dream Walker, modified 5 Months ago at 11/21/23 2:45 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 11/21/23 2:45 AM

RE: Geoffrey's 60 Day Mahasi Retreat Log

Posts: 1687 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
For what it is worth, in my humble opinion.
Stream Entry requirements are jhana 4/EQ plus Progress Of Insight EQ.
This is speculation as n=limited sample.
Good luck,
​​​​​​​~D

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