Author Topic: Mr. Goenka retreat - Experiences and questions  (Read 2966 times)


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Mr. Goenka retreat - Experiences and questions
« on: April 14, 2014, 01:44:59 AM »
Hi there. I have attended Mr. Goenka meditation retreat  three months ago and since then I have been practicing regularly. I have a few questions regarding the technique but first my experiences.

For three and half days I followed the instructions and concentrated on my breathing and finally on the upper lip area. I did not have any sensations in that area other than once in a while feeling the warm air passing over while exhaling. I was told to hold breath for few seconds and feel for sensations in that area. I tried that but still no sensations.  I remember laughing to myself thinking that I have a gross/dull mind. But on third day, I briefly went into a trance like state for a few minutes and when I came back out of it, I could feel the burning sensation at the upper lip area below the nostrils. I took that as a sign of graduating to be eligible to do Vipassana practice.  :)

While scanning the body part by part, I could not feel any sensations in the area I was focusing on but could feel sensations elsewhere in the body.  Scanning part by part did not work for me at all. Focussing on the whole body was much easier and could feel sensations arising and passing all over my body. On 7th day, at the start of a session when I was observing the breath, I again went into a trance for a few minutes and when I came out of it, I felt like my head was attached to a balloon filled with water with pressure of water exerting on my skin. No gross pains anywhere except the knee. The moment I thought of the knee pain, a gush of pleasant subtle sensations flowed towards my knee and completely dissolved it. I sat there in that state for a few minutes and gross sensations on my lower back, knees and other usual places returned.

My next couple of sessions were a write off as I tried to recreate what I did before to get that state of water balloon sensation. I could consistently get only part of body to get to that state of subtle pleasant sensations but not all. I figured out that I was craving for that sensation and tried to stop wanting it but couldn't and needless to say I could not recreate that again.

On day 8, I was happy with the progress I made on day 7. Once again while focusing on the breath, I went into a trance, and this time when I came out of it, I experienced  a very unpleasant feeling. I felt like somebody got hold of my brain and started wringing it. I was totally helpless and waited until my brain was let go and I saw a couple faces flash in front of my eyes. I know exactly that scene from my past which was very unpleasant. Strangely, I felt very relieved after that experience. Nevertheless, I was afraid to attempt to go into a trance again fearing my brain would be wringed again. Days 9 and 10 was uneventful  as I did not work hard.

In summary, I experienced all the three states that Mr. Goenka described i.e gross sensations, part gross and part subtle sensations, and subtle pleasant sensations all over the body. I experienced  free flow, and I also understood craving does not help recreate pleasant sensations. I also experienced the unpleasant sensations (deep sankharas surfacing from my past).

I practice almost everyday for one hour but did not have experiences similar to the ones in the retreat.

My questions are as follows:

First time I went into trance and came out of it, I felt burning sensation in the upper lip area and not the pleasant water balloon sensation. Apparently, I got the water balloon sensation after I heard Mr. Goenka mention in one of evening discourses.  Are these two experiences relate to and are dependent on external suggestions and therefore not genuine or real?

I could never get the scanning part work as per instructions but still experienced the three states as described? Again was that real or just in my head due to external suggestions?

If there were to be no evening discourses telling me what to expect, would I have had different experiences?

Thanks in advance for your feedback and responses.

Best regards,

« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 01:48:29 AM by Middleway »
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.


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