Author Topic: Vipassana (Goenka's) - technique questions  (Read 3675 times)

pablostereo

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Vipassana (Goenka's) - technique questions
« on: October 27, 2013, 06:14:35 PM »
Hi all,

I've finished my first 10-days Goenka's Vipassana about 1 month ago. I've been practising, since then, every day (2 and even 3 hours/day). And I'm writing in order to have the advise of those more experiences on this technique because I have some doubts about my practice.

I'm sorry if, for logic reasons, I don't use the "technique" (Pali?) right words to express myself but I'm just a beginner.

Before exposing my doubts, I would like to tell you that I understand perfectly the idea of observing the sensations equanimously and I think that I apply it pretty much all the time.

In general I think that for being a beginner and discovering this technique for the first time I manage to reach an acceptable level of concentration pretty fast (I don't even need to start by anapana and I can start directly with body-scanning... some times being able to directly feel a free flow and sometimes needing to start by part-by-part scan). Sometimes I even manage to feel these kind of vibrations across a big part of my body at the same time (and sometimes even through my entire body at the same time!).

So, here are my doubts:

1) Since the moment when I started practising Vipassana (3rd-4rd day) that I'm having "the same" (I know... I know... not the same but you know what I mean...) kind of solidified gross sensations in the same area of the body: always in my forehead, from my eyes upwards and covering even part of my head. Sometimes those sensations "appears" as soon as I close my eyes and start to get relaxed. The sensations changes from one time to the other even if they are located on the same region: sometimes a very solidified sensations, sometimes a kind of pulsation, but the most often they are like "worms" moving across my face and head. Even if I'm able to feel some vibrations underneath these "worms" or those gross sensations they stay always there and I'm able to feel it even if I'm continuing the scan and that I am observing my feet... those head sensations are still there. I don't react on a particular way to them and I just continue my body-scan, I know also that ANICCA and that this will pass away but it's been a while since these sensations are still there on almost every sitting. Sometimes even after finishing my sitting some of those sensations persists along the day... it's annoying even if I try to just continue observing it even if I'm not meditating, but it's difficult tonot feel the famous aversion or something similar when you have the same strange sensation on your face during the whole day. So, the question is: is it normal? did anyone experienced things like this? do you think that maybe there is something that I am not doing correctly? how long can a sensation last before "passing away"?

2) The next question is also connected with the previous one and, even if I understand that the goal is to just observe and develop the equanimity, these sensations makes me wander if there is any kind of interpretation that we can do from those sensations depending on where they are located and the kind of sensation (pulsation, strong solidified, heat, "worms", etc, etc).

3) Regarding the "procedure": if I understood properly the idea is that, even if you are able to feel the free flow all along the body, after 2 or 3 scans its advisable to come back to the part-by-part scan. Regarding the speed: when doing the free-flow, how fast should we scan the body? And also for the part-by-part... how many time should it take to scan the whole body?

I thank you very much for your help!!!

With Metta,

P.G.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Vipassana (Goenka's) - technique questions
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2013, 09:47:59 PM »
Hi PG and welcome. I had the same phenomenon as you for quite a while. As best I can sum up I think that sensation is tied to beginning to be more aware of body sensations but searching for some sort of ultimate state. I've found the more I've let go of everything the more those sensations have subsided.

Just relax and take your time.

redalert

Re: Vipassana (Goenka's) - technique questions
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2013, 11:50:40 PM »
Hi all,

I've finished my first 10-days Goenka's Vipassana about 1 month ago. I've been practising, since then, every day (2 and even 3 hours/day). And I'm writing in order to have the advise of those more experiences on this technique because I have some doubts about my practice.

Do not hesitate to call a centre and speak with a teacher regarding doubts with your practice, they are there to help you. As you progress in this tradition it is helpful to develop personal relationships with others within this tradition, try to make a centre feel like a second home.

is it normal? did anyone experienced things like this? do you think that maybe there is something that I am not doing correctly? how long can a sensation last before "passing away"?

It is possible that tension in another part of the body is causing these head sensations, we tie ourselves into very complex knots and the process of untying these knots can produce different effects. Untying one knot can open up a different part of the body and this can seem strange to us. This is where the bodyscanning technique is very helpful, as you were taught keep moving your awareness from part to part, really look around and relax the tension you encounter if possible. If you notice you are clenching your teeth even slightly relax the mouth area , if you notice tension in the forehead relax the eyebrows, observe the neck and shoulders and learn to relax and unwind these areas. Do this throughout the body, and do not skip anywhere, as the tension created in the smallest part of the body can set off a chain reaction. As the body unwinds this freeflow will occur in the open areas. You should notice your posture improving as the knots untie, but with each subtle posture change, a new set of knots appear to become untied. These knotted up areas can be very complex and can take some time to work through, the same basic technique you learned is all that is necessary.
 
2) The next question is also connected with the previous one and, even if I understand that the goal is to just observe and develop the equanimity, these sensations makes me wander if there is any kind of interpretation that we can do from those sensations depending on where they are located and the kind of sensation (pulsation, strong solidified, heat, "worms", etc, etc).

This question will answer itself as your practice develops.

3) Regarding the "procedure": if I understood properly the idea is that, even if you are able to feel the free flow all along the body, after 2 or 3 scans its advisable to come back to the part-by-part scan. Regarding the speed: when doing the free-flow, how fast should we scan the body? And also for the part-by-part... how many time should it take to scan the whole body?

Fast enough that you don't get bored and slow enough that you don't skip areas of the body.

pablostereo

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Re: Vipassana (Goenka's) - technique questions
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2013, 02:28:23 PM »
Thank you all for your answers! Very relevant and useful.. I will try to improve. Usually I try to detect that tension... at the beginning I use to find myself pretty much tensioned when struggling with blind areas, nowadays I try to just relax and move forward...

I would like to have a centre near home where I meet people, the problem is that because of my job I'm constantly travelling... but I will try to establish some contacts even if later on I'll have to keep the communications through Internet.

Another thing that I've identified is that when deciding the speed of my scanning... that I can do it fast enough to feel "anything" but when I stay a little bit longer then I can feel the arising and passing away phenomenon... so I will keep on trying to find the right pace!
 
Thank you very much REDALERT and DHARMIC TUI once again!!!

Metta!

Rationalespirituallity

Re: Vipassana (Goenka's) - technique questions
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 03:47:03 PM »
Hello Pablostero,

I've finished my first retreat 1 week ago so don't trust too much, but maybe this sensation is related to your eyes. Do you move your eyes when passing your attention troughout the body? I developed a very gross sensation at the upper part of the nose and all the area in between the eyebrows because i couldn't relax my eyes. I don't know, maybe it's this. I also had pulse sensations sometimes, and most of the times i felt like somebody was putting her hand on this area and pressing. Have you overcome this sensation already?

lifeform6

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Re: Vipassana (Goenka's) - technique questions
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2014, 06:03:35 PM »
It's been exactly one week since my 10 days retreat with Goenka technique here as well!

I found a way to reduce the movement/and tension of the eyes, just yesterday in fact.  First minutes of sitting, there will some movement of the eyes or the other depending on the agitation of your mind. That is normal, first thing to do is not to fight it. I found that the more I concentrate on the eyes area for a long time the worse it gets. So I keep my focus on the breath and only go the eyes area long enough to tell it to relax. Ignore the eyeballs and start with the area all around. Make sure your eyelids are naturally closed and that there is no tension in the eyebrows nor any frowning. It's worth it to check the whole face and jaws as well. When the surrounding areas are a bit more under control, try to look straight ahead and "see". You eyelids are still closed, but just look at them straight ahead, even past them. During the small relaxed periods you will notice it's darker than usual as if staring into dark space. This looking exercise helps you to stabilize the eyeballs. While you are "looking", beginners like myself can have the whole eyes area relaxed, but the blinking habit still want to kick-in in every couple of seconds, making some muscles twitch now and then. This is easy to overcome by ignoring it and doing body scanning. You're doing great if only the blinking urge remains. 10 minutes later when you come back to the eyes area you will find it completely tame and relaxed, making you wonder what was so difficult in the first place. =)

Hope it helps!

 

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