Author Topic: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat  (Read 11934 times)

BioSpirit

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Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« on: April 10, 2013, 11:59:55 PM »
Hello everyone,

I did the 10 days Goenka's retreat 2 months ago, but I quit on the 4th day with unpleased feelings and confusion. Since that, I have this buzz in my head, and can't sleep well. I wake up every morning really tired, like didn't sleep at all. When I try to meditate, the buzz get louder, my heart accelerates and I can't go further. My concetration is worse than ever, and my mind is full of thoughts all the time. Sometimes I'm really depressed, sometimes really stressed, can't find a balance.

What can I do?



Dharmic Tui

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 12:05:56 AM »
Your answer could be very long winded. Just with the buzzing though, don't resist it, don't fear it, then you may find it's severity subsides. I can often spend hours during my daily activities with a buzz in my temples, someone may have a technical explanation for it, I just accept it as part of what I'm doing and move on.

Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 06:13:33 AM »
hi,

Better take a brake from meditation and observe the changes in you everyday.

redalert

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 02:29:03 PM »
Hello everyone,

I did the 10 days Goenka's retreat 2 months ago, but I quit on the 4th day with unpleased feelings and confusion. Since that, I have this buzz in my head, and can't sleep well. I wake up every morning really tired, like didn't sleep at all. When I try to meditate, the buzz get louder, my heart accelerates and I can't go further. My concetration is worse than ever, and my mind is full of thoughts all the time. Sometimes I'm really depressed, sometimes really stressed, can't find a balance.

What can I do?

It sounds like your 3 days of anapana practice brought some deep sankharas to the surface, they can be quite unpleasant at times and there is no way of knowing how long they will last. Its easier said than done but try to simply observe these sensations with the understanding that they will eventually pass away.

Did you recieve the vipassana training or leave prior to this? Sounds like you left right at the transition point. The vipassana training would have provided the tools to observe this unpleasantness.

I suggest calling the vipassana centre and talking with an AT they are there to help and support you and would be more qualified to give advice than myself in this regard.

If this is unagreeable to you than maybe seeking out the advice of a therapist with some of these issues would be helpful.

I wish you well.





Quardamon

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2013, 06:06:21 PM »
It sounds a bit like what was discussed in:
   Persistent ringing in ears after vipassana
see:
http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,843.25.html
I hope that helps.

redalert

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2013, 11:43:48 PM »
It sounds a bit like what was discussed in:
   Persistent ringing in ears after vipassana

I read this thread Q and I think I have this same ringing, and I too became aware of this in my first vipassana course, it does not seem to be as strong as what biospirit describes I would not describe it as a buzzing just a constant frequency. If I concentrate on it, it can become quite intense but I was told to give it no importance by one of the AT's on course and that is what I have done. I can see if one was adverse to this it could be quite a problem, I have come to view it as a kind of nimitta for concentration so I have put a positive spin on it and find it a pleasant companion.

I may be way off but maybe biospirit has naturally strong concentration and is experiencing this at a very magnified rate. Could be a blessing in disguise.

windaub

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2013, 01:18:31 AM »
Maybe you should go back and finish it, if it's allright with you of course, or if you can't, try to meditate on this buzz, get inside it, accept it just for what it is, a sensation, and relax, as long as it takes for it to stop. I've heard some weird things, like a man who was blind of one eye for half a day, the instructor told him to continue tu meditate, and then it stopped. In my course, for several hours, I had waves in the right eye. All my vision from this eye was fluctuating, it was so weird.

BioSpirit

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2013, 06:16:18 AM »
Thanks everyone for the answers, its a great help!

I quit the retreat after receiving vipassana. Actually was at that time that the symptoms apperead. I felt like in a trance state, sleepy, and lot of images in my head, and sensations of a panic attack. I thought it could somehow damage my mind. I left there really confused, feeling "out of ground"( I almost had a car accident driving in the opposite way). Since then I have this ringing in my head (like television static), that get worst before and after sleep. I  am trying to just accept this in my meditations, but sometimes is so strong that really bother me.

In the future I wil return to a vipassana course, but Goenka's retreat, no more!!

redalert

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2013, 12:52:36 PM »
Hey bio,

I was helping the AT on one course and the night before the vipassana training I was given instructions to keep an extra close eye on the students as it is not uncommon for some to have reactions like this after vipassana instructions. One young man I was told ran outside afterwards and climbed the tree outside the meditation hall, it took some time for him to come down. This young man has gone on to sit many additional courses and has become a great benefit to the program. I personally witnessed an old ex soviet military man a real tough guy just broken down into a child and he began crying uncontrollably. When you work as seriously as you probably did you just don't know what is going to come to the surface. People who have sat the longer courses have said that the effects of those courses have stayed with them for months and months.

I do strongly reccomend contacting an AT at the centre, this may seem very unappealing to you at this moment but it could really help you and they will not try and convince you to sit another course. They have seen so much in the way of these difficulties and can probably help you a great deal.

Good luck

g420677

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2013, 01:35:35 PM »
I've had this for many years, my first Goenka retreat was six years ago. Ajahn Sumedho calls it "The Sound of Silence" and he recommends meditating on it.  Ajahn Amaro has written a book " Inner Listening" that describes the process. It is available for free on line at  http://www.holybooks.com/inner-listening-by-ajahn-amaro/

Sylvia1982

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2013, 02:59:18 PM »
Thanks g420677

That was a good read.  Call it coincidence or what, that is what I have been practising for past weeks. Now I know. Good to know I am on the right path.

Lokuttara

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2013, 09:19:49 AM »
I was helping the AT on one course and the night before the vipassana training I was given instructions to keep an extra close eye on the students as it is not uncommon for some to have reactions like this after vipassana instructions. One young man I was told ran outside afterwards and climbed the tree outside the meditation hall, it took some time for him to come down. This young man has gone on to sit many additional courses and has become a great benefit to the program. I personally witnessed an old ex soviet military man a real tough guy just broken down into a child and he began crying uncontrollably. When you work as seriously as you probably did you just don't know what is going to come to the surface. People who have sat the longer courses have said that the effects of those courses have stayed with them for months and months.

I have also personally experienced a lot of very unsettling feelings on day 4, when the big operation starts. This is really the transition point, and when Vipassana starts, a lot of things come to the surface. You want to run away! I think if I was an AT, I would almost force students to stay until at least day 6, when things start to settle down a little. Leaving on day 4 is not helpful for the reasons described in the original post.

BioSpirit, I hope you find the time to complete the full 10-days and then you can learn to work through the body and observe everything equanimously.  This will help you greatly.
"One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead." Krishnamurti

Sylvia1982

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2013, 02:53:42 PM »
I have been thinking about this for few days.. that is it was insensitive of me to post a comment which is irrelevant to the question posed and did not answer the orginal question.

Matthew

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2013, 10:15:54 PM »
... What can I do?


Try another method. Goenka method is too pressure cooker for many. This is why it had left you in such a state: the method lacks relaxation, an essential ingredient of establishing calm and concentration that is not forced or fabricated.

Another Goenka retreat is not indicated for you.

Kindly,

Matthew
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redalert

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2013, 11:06:11 PM »

 Goenka method is too pressure cooker for many.  the method lacks relaxation, an essential ingredient of establishing calm and concentration that is not forced or fabricated.


This is true and is not true, I was talking to an AT and she said that the evening discourses were designed for Indian/asian students. The students from this culture tend to be much more relaxed when it comes to meditation practice. In india they have many dhamma workers assigned to just go around and stop people from talking, also people from these cultures tend to fall asleep instead of meditating(too relaxed). This is why in the discourses Goenka is constantly harping to work in silence and to work more and more in the seated position, because he is pushing the people from this culture to work seriously.

People from the "west" do not typically suffer from this to relaxed attitude, the hectic schedules, busy lifestyles, and driven to succeed nature, produce people with quite the opposite charachteristics. "westerners" will typically push themselves extremely hard naturally, and then to compound this problem you have Goenka harping on you to work seriously, and not to lie down for more than 5 min at a time during meditation periods. This is often problamatic, most AT's will tell you to relax or work in a more comfortable position, or to just go take a nap during meditation times if they feel the individual has been pushing themselves to hard.

The system is not perfect, and the AT's cannot reach everyone. How do you get someone to look at the "thing" that habitually they are conditioned to ignore, without stepping on a few toes.

There are more relaxed approaches to learning the Dhamma, and for some these are a better fit. But, I feel it is incorrect to say the method lacks relaxation, relaxation is taught, it is just not emphasised as much as in other methods. Once one learns to work they become their own teacher/master and the centres are there to provide the environment for one to work as seriously as they are capable.

Whatever works to get your foot in the door, for some it's goenka, for some it's another technique. It depends on your past conditioning which technique will best suit someone. Each valid method is leading one to the same goal.

Matthew

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2013, 11:32:19 PM »
Yes redalaert and it is clear form Biospirit's original post that Goenka method does not suit. Your long post indicates clinging to the method. It is the fruits that count, not the method.

As I wrote earlier:

...
The breath is the anchor that allows you to embody yourself and move away from the head-centric over-thinking conditioned state that is the norm in today's world. The breath is a present moment experience. Just stopping for a few moments in the ways I described above (second para of my post you quoted) you can bring your mind back under control when it goes off track.
...

The problem with Goenka method for "head-centric over-thinking conditioned state that is the norm in today's world" is that it activates the Trigeminal nerve and focusses attention on the head alone for three days: this is the pressure cooker that sends people over the boil. If meditation is practised according to the Budha's teachings and not these recent mistaken interpretations (based on a basic misunderstanding of Pali/Sanskrit) this does not happen, instead the Vagus nerve is fully activated embodying experience in bodily sensations and employing all aspects of the nervous system towards calm.

This is the fundamental reason that a meditation teaching of 25 year old VHS cassettes based on a bastardised and misinterpreted teaching sends a fair number of people mad and even suicidal.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 11:35:11 PM by Matthew »
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Matthew

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2013, 11:39:47 PM »
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html

^ That is where the essential not optional nature of calming/relaxing is fully evident in the teachings. Under emphasising them is failing to teach the Dhamma.
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redalert

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2013, 12:34:41 AM »
This is the fundamental reason that a meditation teaching of 25 year old VHS cassettes based on a bastardised and misinterpreted teaching sends a fair number of people mad and even suicidal.

Matthew buddy, you are completely misinformed!!!

Now the courses use new modern DVD's of 25 year old bastardised and misinterpreted teaching.    ;)

How long ago was it that you sat your course?

redalert

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2013, 11:10:35 AM »
The problem with Goenka method for "head-centric over-thinking conditioned state that is the norm in today's world" is that it activates the Trigeminal nerve and focusses attention on the head alone for three days: this is the pressure cooker that sends people over the boil. If meditation is practised according to the Budha's teachings and not these recent mistaken interpretations (based on a basic misunderstanding of Pali/Sanskrit) this does not happen, instead the Vagus nerve is fully activated embodying experience in bodily sensations and employing all aspects of the nervous system towards calm.

This is the fundamental reason that a meditation teaching of 25 year old VHS cassettes based on a bastardised and misinterpreted teaching sends a fair number of people mad and even suicidal.

A goenka retreat is a serious undertaking, it is described as a mental surgury. Repeated warnings are given as to the dangers of leaving in the middle of the surgury, and one is given plenty of opportunity to leave if they are not willing to follow the course schedule, guidlines, and stay to its completion.

The "problem" is not the method, it is quite simply craving. Craving for things to be not as they presently are but in some way different. You keep talking of relaxation as the key, Goenka teaches equiminity and awareness.

When the surgury begins it is similar to cutting the wound, the puss begins to come to the surface. Anapanna is the knife, the sharper the mind the deeper it cuts. As Biospirit was working correctly the knife cut into the wound and the puss began to come to the surface. This can be extremely unpleasant and most times is. It is important to allow this puss to exit the wound, only then are we freed from it. Unfortunatley when this puss comes to the surface many forms of meditation teach us to supress this poison, we are not liberated from this poison it will keep bubbling to the surface again and again.

On day 4 vipassana instructions are given, this is the method to simply observe this puss as it exits the wound, the idea is to allow this puss to exit without creating additional puss(additional suffering). This is where one must learn to "relax" but it must be done through non-reactive observation not suppression.

 On the 10th day silence is broken and a day of Metta(loving kindness) is experienced, this is described as the balm that is applied to the wound.

It really is such a simple and beautiful technique. Due to its purity and simplicity, it can be taught with the use of 25 yr old video tapes. Incredibly amazing don't you think? And due to it effectiveness it is spreading almost effortlessly throughout the world.

Biospirit, if you stop picking at the wound it will scab over and you will be the same as prior to the course. Which is a state like most of us full of impurities.  :)
My advice stands, contact your centre and talk to an AT, as I stated they will not try to force you to come back and sit another course they have experience with these situations and can be very helpful.

Matthew the method does not send people mad and make them suicidal, our blind reaction towards the impurities within, and the constant creation of new impurities is driving people to madness. This is why the centres use a gradual process, begin with several introductory 10 day courses before one can sit longer and more deeper surgical courses. The surface wounds should be cleansed before going after the deeper wounds.

Mpgkona

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2013, 10:09:41 PM »
At the course I attended they had a Blu-Ray Player, so yes, they have modernized considerably!!!

On a more serious note though, re-debating the virtues vs. basterdized styles of a Goenka course is not going to help anyone along the path. From reading old topics and posts from years ago it appears there was a "Goenka War" already. Another one would not be fruitful for anyone. Goenkists and non-Goenkists should just agree to disagree. The fruit of meditation, any Vipassana meditation, is to gain insight and hopefully wisdom from that insight. Lets stick to meditation instead of comparing sizes.
When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.

Matthew

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2013, 12:17:40 PM »
That's why I have not responded Mpgkona. No point re-hashing old stuff.
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redalert

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2013, 09:19:23 PM »
I guess I'm a little confused Matthew.
 If you are really against the Goenka method then speak up don't supress this. You won't offend me, speak openly and honestly and I would welcome the discussion.
But I don't see the point in making comments like "bastardised and misinterpreted teachings", and then refusing to discuss them. Maybe you just missed your cup of earl grey the other day, I know how crabby you pommy bastards can get if you skip tea time. ;D

We all have "old stuff" that needs cleared out of the basement. If we don't clear it out it will keep bubbling to the surface, and that is not good for anyone. Thats when a discussion can turn to an argument, when there is to much attatchment to views.



 

Mpgkona

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2013, 10:22:42 PM »
There are literally hundreds of posts from others and especially Mathhew over the YEARS about Goenka's course and method. I believe Matthew is not engaging you for a couple of reasons: whatever he has to say is already in the forum posts, and two, this is not a Goenka forum. Also, this thread is beginning to stray from its original purpose.

When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.

redalert

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2013, 01:08:41 AM »
Also, this thread is beginning to stray from its original purpose.

What is the purpose of this thread, if not to discuss the cause of biospirits difficulties during the retreat?

Some are questioning the method, and some feel this method is designed to bring these difficulties to the surface for one to examine.

Masauwu

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Re: Buzz in head after Goenka's retreat
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2013, 03:04:41 AM »
It would help if BioSpirit could describe in detail a meditation session and how this thing manifests itself. I don't know if it's the same thing but i can also experience a sort of "static buzz" in my head anytime i focus in that area; in my perception it's not an audio sensation but some sort of biofeedback (bloodflow or brainwaves via nerve data? no idea). Whatever it is, its frequency accelerates if i concentrate hard and it relaxes and eventually fades out of focus if i don't pay attention to it; i know it's always there but i'm used to it and it doesn't bother me.

It could be all in the manner you treat it, as any object of meditation. You can notice it, acknowledge it as an external insatisfactory impermanent sensation, (same for the feelings it brings up when it does,) return to the object of meditation. Most of my objects that bother me and made me feel miserable in meditation were not because they existed, but because i reacted to them, angered that they bothered me, even clinging to them in the process without realizing.

Also anecdotal evidence suggests that headaches and tension in the head area come from trying too hard to concentrate; we should maybe look at the meditation object as a relaxed observer and not try to grasp it.
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"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were too taut, was your vina in tune & playable?"
"No, lord."
"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were too loose, was your vina in tune & playable?"
"No, lord."
"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were neither too taut nor too loose, but tuned[1] to be right on pitch, was your vina in tune & playable?"
"Yes, lord."

"In the same way, Sona, over-aroused persistence leads to restlessness, overly slack persistence leads to laziness. Thus you should determine the right pitch for your persistence, attune[2]the pitch of the [five] faculties [to that], and there pick up your theme."
"Sona Sutta: About Sona" (AN 6.55), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight
And mind wandering, sleepiness and mental imagery are usually caused by lapses in mindfulness; establishing mindfulness, staying aware in the present moment is the key to meditation.
Quote
setting mindfulness to the fore.[1] Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'
"Anapanasati Sutta: Mindfulness of Breathing" (MN 118), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight
« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 03:19:34 AM by Masauwu »
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