Author Topic: Little summary of my experience at a Satipatthana Suta retreat in Thailand  (Read 4527 times)

Pacific Flow

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I just came back from an 8 day Satipatthana Suta course in the Goenka tradition conducted in Thailand. And what an inspiring experience that was!
Three days Anapana. Very tough for me as always. I usually can't sit still without changing my position for more than 30 mins during Anapana. And it was very hot. But i managed to use every minute of the meditation periods. At the end of the 3rd day the mind was well focused. While in the beginning i couldn't keep the attention on the breath for even half a minute without interruption, it was now there for 5, 6, 7 minutes straight.
So i was confident to change to Vipassana practice. But then nothing happened for days. I was getting a bit disappointed, and tried too hard. Forced myself into a half lotus position, to create more pain to observe on day 6. After the second group sitting in that positition i couldn't walk properly even half hour afterwards. I seriously banged my head into my own wall of ignorance. I finally realized i was craving hardcore and was able to let go that evening. I was ready not to expect anything in return for my efforts anymore.
Then the 7th and last full day of meditation started, which happened to be my birthday. I sang a little happy bday song to my 5 aggregates in the morning and began meditating. Again nothing special happened. Was just observing ordinary, boring body sensations when around 4 o'clock pm a pretty mindblowing thing happened.
I remember saying to myself....there is only now. Past is past, future hasn't happened yet, so if you want to live, be here, be now. Observe the sensations of the present moment because that's the reality.
Suddenly swoooosh, my state of awareness totally changed. Time started to stretch, the sounds of the crickets and other animals from outside that were always hearable in the meditation hall slowed down and sounded like a chewy, slow machine sound. My awareness was suddenly super present, feeling every little sensation in the body at the same time. Awareness seemed like a hot, wide red stream of lava that reaches everywhere. It was very pleasant. Scarily pleasant. So far in my meditation live, i had been dealing mostly with unpleasant, solid sensations. So after about a minute or so, i told myself to go back to Anapana first to calm down and make sure i observe this very pleasant phenomena with the same equanimity i would try to observe the unpleasant ones in order not to run into my own wall of ignorance and craving again.
After that i went back to body scanning, and the experience continued another 45 mins or so untill tea break bell.
I think i managed to stay quite equanimous with it. I went outside to the pond to have a look at that and see if my consciousness had changed with open eyes as well. And yes it did. The sun, which i formerly found mostly a hot disturbance wasn't unpleasant anymore. It was just what it is, warm radiation. I walked the path along the pond with the sharp pebble stones barefoot. The days before it hurt too much and i couldn't walk there. Now there was no pain. Yes there was still this feeling of the edges of the stones cutting into the feet. But it wasn't my pain. It was just another sensation in the universe of sensations.
I was aware this experience wouldn't last forever, and indeed it was gone after the tea break.
But it was a truely inspiring experience of Anata and Anicca that showed me i am on the right track.
I also realized the great danger that is immanent to these kind of pleasant experiences. It won't be easy not to crave for something like this, but i know that is the true lesson.


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Great account, but looks like there is still clinging to specific experiences to be had in meditation? Also, I think you did not mention anything about learning the Satipatthana Sutta itself, which is the most essential aspect of the 8-day retreat. Hope you were able to study the Sutta as well.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Pacific Flow

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Oh yeah of course there is still clinging and aversion. I am far from being beyond that  8)
However i think it was a real eye opener, and very motivating to keep going on the path.
Satipatthana Sutta was an interesting read during the breaks indeed. Very inspiring too, but it wasn't like it was
the most important thing about the retreat. The discourses weren't really as good as i was hoping. But it didn't matter.
I think at that stage most people will know what they are doing and will be able to understand the meaning of the Sutta
better based on their experience.
To me the most important thing was the fact that there were only more experienced meditators present, and mostly
Thai. They were very very focused and silent. That made it possible to meditate very seriously and in silence.


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Happy to know.

Continue the work.

Pacific Flow

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😊😊😊 for sure


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