Author Topic: "Reading" sensations and letting go of the past  (Read 2494 times)

conduit

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"Reading" sensations and letting go of the past
« on: December 19, 2013, 06:10:18 AM »
I began my Vipassana practice in September, when I attended one of Goenka's 10-day courses. I felt it's been immensely helpful and positive change in my life, and I continue to practice daily, although I haven't been able to maintain a  2-hour minimum suggested at the instruction. One of the reasons I took the course is significant negative change in my personal life. With respect to that:

I'm having difficulty letting go of emotional pain from past events. These feelings often surface during and after my practice, and while I know this is an opportunity to heal  these negative emotions, I don't know how to do that.  I expect the answer is probably to "observe equanimously" and form no craving or aversion towards this feeling or that feeling. At night I dream of specific times I felt this pain, and during the day I'm anxious and haunted by a mild sense of despair and depression. I'll feel this way for a few days to a week, then feel great for the next week, before slipping back into another cycle of dwelling on past mistakes and pain.

Something I think is related is a hard lump in the throat, like a stone or hard pressure, right below the adam's apple. I can often feel this sensation throughout the day. When I bring attention to this area, it triggers feelings of nausea and sadness. I don't know how to find the meaning of this sensation.

I did some reading about chakras, and most of that information indicates there's  something I need to say/do that I'm currently holding back, but I don't know to find out what that is.

Pacific Flow

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Re: "Reading" sensations and letting go of the past
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2013, 01:50:58 PM »
It seems to me your doing the right thing and you have understood the basica of Vipassana properly.
However i think your maybe expecting too much too fast. In my case my first 10 day course was pretty smooth. The really rough, unpleasant stuff from my past came up on the second course. I was able to observe it and the tension eventually passed on the 8th day or so.
After the course, i still had to get something done to finally close an unpleasant chapter of my life. But after having dealt with the matter during the course, it was so obvious what needed to be said, to whom, and in what way. It became very easy really.
Keep going, it sounds to me like your digging your way through the soft layers and will soon (latest on the second retreat) hit a tough layer of rocky ground.
The more you will feel reliefed once you made your way through it :)

All the best

conduit

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Re: "Reading" sensations and letting go of the past
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2013, 04:39:18 PM »
Expecting too much too fast...that sounds about right!
Like you, my first retreat was pretty smooth. Nothing difficult came to the surface, and I  spent the whole time working on learning the technique. At first, I was disappointed with the experience, because many other students raved about how "life changing" it was for them, and I didn't feel anything special. It wasn't until I got back in the "real" world that I began to feel the difference and witness the benefits.

I suppose I have something to look forward to, both in my practice and my second retreat. Working through the soft stuff is still challenging, but manageable because I know from experience that it'll pass, at least temporarily. Once I get through that, I'm curious to see what happens. Did you attend your second retreat because you'd hit that rocky ground, or did it just surface on its own once you were there?

Dharmic Tui

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Re: "Reading" sensations and letting go of the past
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2013, 06:49:38 PM »
In my opinion body sensations like what you are experiencing are resultant either from practising concentration of sensations, or tension in the body relating to an anticipation of an attainment of some sort of state.

It's early days for you and people will transition at different paces in different ways, but ultimately what you should aim for is a state of letting go, seeing phenomenon rise and pass away and not grasping at it. Put in your time, remove your expectations and just relax with whatever presents itself to you.

redalert

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Re: "Reading" sensations and letting go of the past
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 08:45:32 PM »
I began my Vipassana practice in September, when I attended one of Goenka's 10-day courses. I felt it's been immensely helpful and positive change in my life, and I continue to practice daily, although I haven't been able to maintain a  2-hour minimum suggested at the instruction. One of the reasons I took the course is significant negative change in my personal life. With respect to that:

When I finished my first course I could not manage the two hours daily, do what you can. I highly recommend Dhamma service if you have the time, even if for only a few days, it was and remains a valuable part of my vipassana practice.

How did the teacher at the centre advise you to handle these sensations away from the centre?

Pacific Flow

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Re: "Reading" sensations and letting go of the past
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2013, 01:21:58 AM »
I just hit the rocky layer during the second retreat, not before. It really was a very bumpy ride, extremely unpleasant sensations but also extremly unpleasant states of mind arose. I had hit a layer of severe tension that was associated with aspects of my past and present personality and social life which i had been surpressing for a few years. On that second retreat it all came up on the surface with full force. Manifesting itself in unpleasant sensations...mostly pain. Those sensations often choose a pysically weak spot of your body to manifest themselves. A spot where you had a surgery or injury for example.

However it is also important to keep in mind that the experiences your going through as you progress on the path aren't linearly moving from gross to settle. Even after states of very settle sensations you can always go through a layer of gross experience again. Don't be tempted to measure your progess in terms of the kind of sensations your experiencing. Be aware and equanimous, and let nature do the rest.

I agree with what Dharmic Tui and Redalert said. Different people move at different paces. Everyone has their own, specific and unique bundle of tensions and impuritities. Therefore don't compare your progress to those of others too much. I also agree that Dhamma service is very helpful. However i think it's most fruitful once you feel Dhamma has helped you in your life for real, when it has made a serious and undenieable difference to the better.
With Metta
Mogo
« Last Edit: December 20, 2013, 05:29:03 AM by Pacific Flow »

conduit

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Re: "Reading" sensations and letting go of the past
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2013, 04:14:57 PM »

How did the teacher at the centre advise you to handle these sensations away from the centre?
His suggestion was not to be concerned with the meaning of the sensation, only to continue my practice, observe, and not form attachment or aversion. I know the "meaning" of the sensation isn't necessary to get me through the issue, but of course I still want to know!

I love learning how things work, and seek intellectual understanding. In certain situations, like this, it may not be appropriate, but I struggle with this because I always wonder if the meaning could help me resolve the issue.

redalert

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Re: "Reading" sensations and letting go of the past
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2013, 05:07:28 PM »
I still want to know!

"I still" simply knows.

I love learning how things work, and seek intellectual understanding. In certain situations, like this, it may not be appropriate, but I struggle with this because I always wonder if the meaning could help me resolve the issue.
Me too! and I am not convinced it is not helpful, in an observing way, maybe just lighten up on the "seek" part. ;)

 

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