Vipassana dissolving balls of energy

Patrice Berube, modified 13 Years ago at 9/15/10 6:09 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 9/15/10 6:05 PM

Vipassana dissolving balls of energy

Posts: 39 Join Date: 9/15/10 Recent Posts

I went to a vipassana 10 days retreat last year. (the only one i did)

after the 6th or 7th day, I began to have a migraine.

I had severe migraines for all of my life since i was 3 years old.

After talking with the teacher, I was told i will not have any medication.
The fear of the migraine was intense.

So i sit there in the meditation hall with my migraine.

I sat there and I started freaking myself out and crying "I'm going to pass out, i will throw up..."
So the migraine was getting more intense.
I realized that my fear of it was feeding it. The migraine was one thing, and the fear that it would grow was almost it's reason for being.
So i put myself together and thought,"well if im going to survive this, i must calm down".
The teacher told me to scan (body scan) toward the extremities so this is what i was doing.
He also told me to avoid scanning the head but for some reason (I really dont know why i did this) i didn't listen to him and i was scanning the head.

The foggy cloud of pain in my head dissipated and i could "see" the migraine itself very clearly. not with my eyes but i could just see it with my consciousness (if that make any sense). It was between my eye balls and about an inch and half long, like a electric worm.

I think because the intensity was so high, i ended up completely detaching myself from it.
So i could observe it without being involved with it. I remember thinking, realizing: "you can get as big and intense as you want to, you can never affect me. it could even grow and engulfe my entire body it could not affect me."
Like at this moment I was my consciousness only and not my body anymore and anything happening to my body couldn't affect me.

The whole time i thought that maybe if i am clam and relax, maybe i will be able to survive the migraine for a few days without going insane, i would have never even imagine that it could actually dissipate and disappear completely!!

It sound trivial maybe but it was an amazing experience of liberation, of truly letting go of my fear and desire to control the thing.

5 seconds later, it completely dissipated. the electric worm, the enormous intense migraine was not there anymore.
this, obviously never happened before. it was unbelievable.

Right after, somehow i knew what i had to do, i kept scanning my brain for more of these, and i found many (small ones) and i could look at them with perfect equanimity and they dissipated.

after this session, i went back to my room, on my bed to and reflected on what just happened.

I couldn't really believe what just happened ("is this really true?") so i tried again.

I just realized that there were some small ball of energy, uncomfortable, just below my rib cage on the left side of my stomach.

So I used my attention to look at it, and again i could see the ball of energy so well, not with my eyes but i could just see it.
So i stared at it with my attention like a laser beam and keep repeating "equanimity, equanimity", not even really meaning it, and it dissipated.

so i kept scanning my body for the rest of the retreats, thinking that i had to "burn" as many of these things as possible.

Somehow i felt like this was the right thing to do, i felt that these things that i was "burning" would never come back.
somehow it just felt right, and i wanted to make more of them arise so i would have the opportunity to dissolve them before going back home.

(i was using my awareness like a concentrated laser like i told you, it was so weird i almost thought it was a super power and jokingly, i even tried to make the window curtain move with it... unsuccessfully obviously ;)

I would like to be able to do this again

but i lost the ability of doing this. because i didn't meditate after the retreat. I never discussed this with the teacher "in retrospect i think that i should have".

So what the heck happen? is this normal? Why nobody else is talking about this?

Now, I feel stress and these sensations in my body but the are less defined, like a cloud instead of a concentrated ball of energy.

I obsess about trying to do the same thing again without success. I think this lead me astray.
Should i not pay attention to this and forget that ever happened?

Im lost, please help me if you can!

thank you for reading this if you took the time.
Bruno Loff, modified 13 Years ago at 9/16/10 3:48 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 9/16/10 3:42 PM

RE: Vipassana dissolving balls of energy (Answer)

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Patrice my experience is very similar, I also had such a headache during my first 10-day retreat, and I also stick with it until it dissolved. The idea that that "thing" was there every waking moment of my life for god-knows-how-many years, and that it had now finally dissipated, was incredible to behold.

In fact all my progress in insight meditation can more-or-less be accounted by such dissolutions that you speak of. But a super-powerful mind, like the kind you acquire on a 10-day retreat, is not necessary to clean those things out, nor is it a good idea to purposefully and forcefully dissolve these blockages, as they will dissolve themselves if one does insight practice correctly (or at least do for me). Basically, there doesn't seem to be any sure way of knowing which impurities are "ripe" to be dissolved, and forcefully dissolving a blockage can lead to a lot of pain, unbalance with other blocks that are still there (since some blocks have been caused to "compensate" for others) and other nasty stuff (I speak from experience).

If you want to get buddhist enlightenment, then it is a good idea to do insight meditation and let these things dissolve when they naturally do. You can check out this thread in order to know what it means (imho) to get an established meditation practice.

Take care,
Patrice Berube, modified 13 Years ago at 9/17/10 10:00 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 9/17/10 10:00 AM

RE: Vipassana dissolving balls of energy

Posts: 39 Join Date: 9/15/10 Recent Posts
Hello Bruno, thank you for taking the time to read through my post and write an answer!

Thank you for the advice, it sounds very spot on and i do need to established (a different) meditation practice so i appreciate your link and I will study it when i get a minute.

thank you very much again!
Patrice Berube, modified 13 Years ago at 9/17/10 10:23 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 9/17/10 10:22 AM

RE: Vipassana dissolving balls of energy

Posts: 39 Join Date: 9/15/10 Recent Posts
Hello Jeff! Thank you for taking the time to read through my post and give your opinion and advices!

Jeff Grove:
I too have suffered from migraines throughout my adult life but have learn't through the years that for me the way I managed it has decreased the frequency and intensity. I have learn't to know the conditions that trigger them or to identify them early and medicate with over the counter drugs if needed before they progress in intensity.

This is exactly how i use to deal with it.
Being too tired was my main trigger for migraines so i had to bend my life around to avoid the triggers and accommodate the migraines, add the medication, the fear of getting caught off guard (like when driving and having to stop and rest on the side of the road) and it was not much fun.

Jeff Grove:
For me Migraines would be at the top of the worst pain I have had to endure.

yes indeed, this is how we can recognize someone who has had experiences with migraines ;)
I always thought, if i could give my migraine to someone who has never had a migraine before in his life, this person would freak out and call 911 because he would think he would be dying of some aneurysm or something ;)

Jeff Grove:
Pressure may occur but with practice you can learn to recognize any potential for a problem just as you have when doing other activities so there is nothing new to fear. (Of cause speak to your doctor if you have concern). You may find meditation a new tool in the management of your migraines as you have described above. Trust your judgment with this as you are the one who has to live with it.

Like i tried to explain in my first post, this is exactly what i thought was possible to achieve with meditation.
I would have never guess that the migraine would actually completely dissipate and never come back! (somehow i knew it would never come back to, i think i know i could create others, or others that were burried could rise to the surface, but this one would never come back)

I've had a few head aches since but no migraines. and I've been pressing all of my migraines triggers emoticon
My doctor who followed me since i was 3 was quite interested... didn't believe me at first.
One of my first memory is to be sitting on a hospital bed when i was 3 or 4 years old, and having a doctor inserting maybe 50 electrodes in my head to somehow try to find the cause of the migraines. (it's like some kind of little nails that he had to push through my skull forcefully, i remember i could hear the sound of the little nail while they were being inserted into my skull)...

Jeff Grove:
You hear stories such as Mahatma Ghandi at age 77 having an appendix operation with no anesthetic. During the operation he held a conversation as if the stimulus of pain was not even there. He said that you are truly free when your wisdom guides every reaction, including those reactions you thought were impossible.

I can understand this, that moment when i was sitting and i truly let go of wanting to control the "electric worm" migraine, of truly let go of trying to prevent it growing and killing me, i could the simply observe it (it was kind of beatifull looking back).
It was as intense as possible but it was no more pain, it was just energy. It could have engulfed my whole body and destroy my body and it would not have bother me the least.
At that moment i could have set fire to myself and be able to simply observe without being afraid...

Jeff Grove:
You stated this was your first retreat, set the pace that works for you, experiment, there is an opportunity to gain further insight into a physical process.

Investigating the source of the pain will reveal the impermanent nature of the sensations or vibrations, the aversion to the experience.

Another method that helped was to softly focus my attention on the dantein area (just below the belly button) and this relieved the pressure in the head, as energy/Qi follows intent.
Tonglen is another technique of accepting the pain, taking it in and transforming it.

thank you for these advices!

During this last year i searched for people who had a similar experience and found that Ajahn Brahm was describing something very similar with his tooth ache.
you can read it here if you are interested