Author Topic: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique  (Read 8737 times)

TheJourney

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Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« on: February 12, 2016, 03:12:55 PM »
Before I started Goenka's meditation retreat, I used to do Qi exercise and at night before falling asleep I would feel my body parts from head to toes, but not in block by block. I would feel the entire arms. Because of Qi exercise, I was able to feel my limbs, fingers and etc. I can also feel energy movement in my arms.

During the Vipassana retreat, I visualized my body parts then turned my attention to that body part. I was not very good with my torso part and the top of my head. The visualization is usually distorted from reality, especially the area below the shoulders. The process got so mechanical that few weeks after being home I had to stop vipassana for the following reasons. I just continued to do anapanasati meditation for the entire hour.

1. The more I do the more distorted is my visualization of the torso part.
2. The more I do the more my head becomes dense. For example, after one sweep of block by block, I tried to sweep but I couldn't. At the retreat, when I do the sweeping down, as I feel my upper lip at the front I can also feel the lower end of my ear lobe. Upper lip and lower end of ear lobe is approximately on the same horizontal plane if you cut across the face with a plane. However, few weeks since coming home, my sweep is not uniform anymore. In the front, I feel the upper lip but I cannot feel the lower end of ear lobe instead I feel the upper back of my head. It is like the front of a horizontal plane is moving down and the back is stuck. The plane is tilted not horizontal anymore. I cannot do sweep any more.
3. After first roundtrip, my head becomes more tense which explains item number 2.
4. Often, when you try to feel the top of the head, the sensation on the two sides (where temples are) is so strong that it is hard to feel the sensation from the top.
5. The meditation gets worse and more mechanical with increasing subsequent body scan. First scan, the mind may be silent but by 2nd or 3rd scans thoughts began to surface while scanning is going on.

I did my retreat on October 1-12, 2015. Last Friday, I went to a group sitting and try vipassana again. I reserved the last 15 minutes for vipassana. I tried not to visualize my body, but if I don't visualize then I will not feel sensation from the top of my head. I will feel sensation from the temples. Besides if you don't visualize the region, how do you know that the sensation you are feeling is coming from the top of the head and not from else where of the head. It is all there. It can be misleading to think this sensation is from the top of the head, so let me move on to the sides.

It is hard to break into 3 x 3 inch block. When this happens, you do end up visualizing the area. It is hard to visualize the area below the shoulder in 3 x 3. Prior to vipassana, I used to just feel the head, the face, the ears, the neck, the arms, the hands and fingers, the whole torso part, the legs and the toes. I would exhale first to relax my body and then feel their sensations. Once I feel them I would feel them as a whole at the same time.

Once I faced these problems with vipassana, I realized that I need to stop right away because it is not progressing for me in terms of mindfulness of body, feeling, mind, and dhamma. I signed up for one day course, near the end of February, to give vipassana one more try. I will ask the AT about these problems.

How are you all doing this vipassana? You are doing it without visualization of the body block by block? Do you get stuck when doing sweep as the front and back have different density of sensation? Love to hear from experiences from some of you.

Spiritually, I am advancing forward without vipassana. I have been doing mindfulness of breath every moment as I remember to do them. I can forget, but then I will remember and resume. My consciousness is stronger. I can look for a long time without a thought hijacking me away briefly. It used to be within 30 second and now it is within 10 minutes. I can sense emotion as physical sensations without the typical accompanying thoughts that swirl in the mind.  I have given up on TV, radio, Internet news and videos for 42 days now. I used to be a political addict, and now I don't read the news so I have adopted Buddha's teaching into my practice..clinging to no views.

Vipassana is just one of many paths, but to accelerate the path one needs to apply more tools. Vipassana is just two hours a day, so the rest of the days requires mindfulness breathing and insight meditation. Insight meditation is simply awareness of life experiencing, allowing the subconscious mind to see this so that the subconscious mind will wake up and abandon craving and delusion.


Pacific Flow

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2016, 10:04:55 AM »
I feel you are overthinking stuff. You just need to feel the sensations. Try to stop visualizing totally. Just feel. Sounds simple, and it is! Relax and just feel your body.

Quardamon

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2016, 12:53:45 PM »
Hello The Journey, and welcome.
It may sound strange, but I do not see your problem.
In my view, spiritual exercises are to put you on a path, and each school has an idea of what that path is, and what steps are taken.
The instructions are not the steps or phases that one goes through. The instructions might not even speak of the phases that one goes through.
Different schools do not use the same methods to guide one, even if it is through the same phases.
To me it sounds such, that the Qi exercises give you a body awareness that is different from the body awareness that Goenka vipassana gives you. That is confusing. It might be a reason why in the Goenka school, you are not allowed to do a second ten day retreat if you do not give up other spiritual paths.
I do not see a problem, because your Qi exercises and what you call insight meditation seem to go together well. It is OK to drop a tool if it brings confusion, like in your case.

TheJourney

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2016, 04:28:22 PM »
Thanks for the replies.

There is no conflict with Qi. I was only trying to point out that with Qi I do a large region of awareness.
AT even told me that doing Tai Chi does not conflict with vipassana. However, since May 2015 I have been totally devoted to mediration.

Vipassana breaks that down to small blocks.

My question is that does everyone visualize the spot and wait for sensation. The technique says start from the top of head dividing it up to roughly four parts.

If you just wait for sensation, you will get sensation from else where. You have to have intention for sensation to be from the top. Without a bit of localization where the top is, your sensation can still be somewhere from the temple or forehead. 

Pacific Flow

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2016, 06:31:08 PM »
Directing your attention requires an intention to do so, yes. It does not require visualization of the intended area of attention.
I know most people do that in the beginning and it can become sort of annyoing. I also visualized my body (parts) when i started out with Vipassana. But as you progress you are able to let go of it.
It is possible to direct your attention to a certain spot without visualizing it.

TheJourney

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2016, 02:33:07 PM »
Yes, I did that in my group sitting two Fridays ago, but for chest area I resorted to the whole area .

Vivek

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2016, 07:19:43 AM »
It is best not to use any sort visualization or imagination even when one is starting out on Vipassana. For some it can be habit and could be hard to relinquish but one should make every effort to not resort to habitual patterns while meditating. Be with whatever sensations that arise. If no sensations, that is fine, just move on.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

TheJourney

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2016, 06:21:17 PM »
Vivek,

I agree with you about visualuzation, but your comment is more aligned with another type of vipassing meditation.

Acording to Goenka's instruction, you divide the body into roughly 3 x 3 inches block. When an area is small, you need to visualize the area to direct the intention to wait for sensation from the area. The mind has to direct it to an area; otherwise, you will feel sensation from other areas other than the area that you are waiting for.

The other vipassing, as taught in many PDFs, teaches one to wait for sensation from where ever it comes from, even sound from outside, and follow the sensation to its cessation then wait for the next one. You are referring to this type.

I am trying to give Goenka's version one more try before I proceed with the one that you follow whatever is there.

Goofaholix

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2016, 09:01:47 PM »
Acording to Goenka's instruction, you divide the body into roughly 3 x 3 inches block. When an area is small, you need to visualize the area to direct the intention to wait for sensation from the area. The mind has to direct it to an area; otherwise, you will feel sensation from other areas other than the area that you are waiting for.

You don't necessarily need to divide the body into roughly 3 x 3 inches block it depends on how calm and sensitive the mind is.  Sometimes the area will need to be much bigger sometimes much smaller, but ideally you are working towards a free flow where the mind rides the sensations freely like surfing on waves.

You don't need to visualise an area in order to wait for a sensation, yes the mind naturally tends to do this and it's good to be aware when it is doing it but the visualisation is unnecessary and just slows things down.  If you step on a nail do you need to visualise your foot first before feeling the pain? of course not.  The mind is capable of being aware of the body as a field of constantly changing sensation and visualising the component parts just gets in the way of this.

Vivek

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2016, 05:20:19 AM »
Quote
The other vipassing, as taught in many PDFs, teaches one to wait for sensation from where ever it comes from, even sound from outside, and follow the sensation to its cessation then wait for the next one. You are referring to this type.
That is not the case. Maybe I wasn't clear enough. I am talking about Vipassana as taught in the tradition of Goenkaji. And my instruction is specifically on not using any sort of visualization/verbalization/imagination while one practices Vipassana.

And I second what Goofaholix has written above.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

TheJourney

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2016, 05:08:34 PM »
Thanks to everyone who has provided me feedback and comments.

Goofaholix and Vivek, “The mind is capable of being aware of the body as a field of constantly changing sensation and visualising the component parts just gets in the way of this.”

I don’t disagree with your statement, but this happens when you are doing pure awareness. I have been sensing my body (just before falling asleep) a year before the vipassana class. I certainly can feel the wave in my arms every time. However, if you read on to where I talk about Goenka’s instructions, he clearly did specify block by block. Although he didn’t say to visualize or imagine, I just don’t see how that is doable without the mind being aware of the area from which the sensation will come from.
Although one can be aware of sensation without visualization, there is a limitation to that. The following illustrates my point.

Pure Awareness without Any Intention

When one is in pure awareness, the following happens.
1.   The arising and cessation of sensations occur randomly.
2.   The sensations are localized to certain regions and do not occur in all parts of the body.

Goenka’s instructions, pertaining to the discursion, are summarized as follows:
1.   Scan block by block to ensure coverage of the whole body
2.   Do not scan a large area because one cannot feel subtle sensations in a large area. For this reason, an area is divided into blocks of which each is about 3 or 4 inch square size.
3.   The AT even mentioned to our group roughly the size of the block.

My Observation of Trying to do the Goenka technique:
1.   There are some areas one can be aware of the sensation just by mental intention to sense from the general area where the block is located, but not all areas. Typically, the limbs, the ears, the nose, and the temples can be easily felt with just intention of the general area.
2.   Intention can create sensation. The mental activity of locating, which is a very subtle and fast action in nano seconds, can sometimes create sensation.
3.   For me, if I visualize or try to have an idea of the top right block of the back of my head, I can sometimes get the sensation right away and sometimes I have to wait.

If I don’t apply intention with an idea of its locality, I will get sensation from other parts of the brain that have dominant sensation instead of the back of my head.

Summary:
1.   I have tried it with just intention; hence, certain area like the torso I just do it with that one large area instead of block by block.
2.   I have discovered that this technique makes my head denser in proportion to the number of times I scan my body.  The more I scan the denser the head becomes.
3.   It can also unintentionally induce doubts wondering if the sensation is there or fabricated from the mind because the previous scans had the same sensations. It can unconsciously build up expectation for the sensation to be just like before. One will never know if the sensation there is “what is” or is there because of mind/body interactions where mind creates the intention of anticipating to feel something there.
4.   At the retreat, I thought I mastered the technique, but once I got home the more I did the technique the more I felt like I was regressing rather than progressing. It definitely became very mechanical.
5.   For me, this technique is suitable for some but definitely I don’t have the hang of it.
6.   For now, I am doing anapana exclusively, though I have tried the technique of experiencing “what is there” passively twice. It seems to work better for me. I am still only doing anapana  and waiting until the end of February to give Goenka style one more try at the end of February (a one day course).
7.   Afterwards, I will decide to do the pure awareness insight meditation or Goenka style insight meditation as my daily practice. Both are valid techniques, just that I may not be suitable for the latter one.
8.   I would still recommend people to go to Goenka’s retreat because it did help me sit cross legged and meditate for a whole hour. I could never have trained myself sitting cross legged for a whole hour. To be able to meditate for a whole hour is also very valuable. I just feel that this technique can easily become very mechanical. A practitioner needs to be aware of this because the mechanical process has no intrinsic insight mediation benefit or value.

Pacific Flow

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2016, 06:08:36 PM »
It seems to me that you are getting caught up in technical details too much. Why don't you allow your mind to be a bit more flexible about your approach? I think it would help you to relax into actually feeling your body.

What do i mean with flexibility? For example the size of the areas you are trying to feel. You should allow yourself to vary those according to the sensitivity of your mind. When the mind is very wild, jumping around, unfocused, it can be better to scan large chunks of the body at once. The whole head. The whole front torso. The whole back and so on.
When the mind is very focused, settled then choose smaller areas.
Most importantly...don't worry so much about wether they are the right size. Just feel into it and adjust it to your momentarily need or capacity. It is possible to just feel sensations without visualizing body parts.
In any case moving the attention around the body in "blocks" is just a training to eventually feel the entire body at once at a later stage. All sensations at the same time.
Don't be hard on yourself and don't neglect the relaxation aspect. We are mediating to calm our mind, not to worry about getting a technique right. I am not saying instructions are for nothing, but do yourself the favor to stop worrying about getting every little technical detail right. Without relaxation you are going nowhere on this path.
Sending you metta
Marco

Goofaholix

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2016, 07:07:49 PM »
However, if you read on to where I talk about Goenka’s instructions, he clearly did specify block by block. Although he didn’t say to visualize or imagine, I just don’t see how that is doable without the mind being aware of the area from which the sensation will come from.
Although one can be aware of sensation without visualization, there is a limitation to that. The following illustrates my point.

Yes the instructions take you through a stage of moving through the body block by block but this is an initial stage, you'll recall later on he talks in terms of "sweep en masse" which is where you are aware of sensations throughout the body all at once or move attention through the body rapidly.  Whether you can do this depends on the state of mind at the time, if you can't then doing block by block is fine, if you can't do block by block anapana is fine.

If you find you are visualising parts of the body as you do it just be aware of that and try to let go of it.  If I ask you to hear sounds in the next room do you have to visualise what's making the sound first before you hear it?  If I ask you to taste food blindfolded do you have to visualise the food before you can taste it?  Feeling sensations in the body are the same, the mind may visualise later as part of it's recognition and naming but the senses work by automatically picking up whatever is within your field of awareness.

Untimiately what is important is the development of awareness and equanimity, if you find the technique gets in the way then just drop it and do a less technique oriented practice.

TheJourney

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2016, 06:24:14 PM »
I found my answer. I am going to practice anapanasati only combined with daily mindfulness practice. The sati gives me the awareness of what is going on in my existence - bodily, feeling, mind formations, and reflection of dhamma. I noticed that my progress is actually much faster than if I had just relied on active vipassana meditation sessions.

Buddha only talked about mindfulness of the aforementioned four foundations. Vipassana is simply a practice developed from interpretation of Buddha's sutta on mindfulness. To say that a particular vipassana is pure from Buddha's teaching is just a mental construct that demands believe. I am getting this fact about Buddha's vipassana as second hand. Hence, I cannot be certain of this as fact. I do know that Satipatthana Sutta is there and beings have been enlightened through the practice of sutta. Enlightened beings have brain that MRI cannot see. Buddha's sutta is replicable in modern men, but vipassana practice alone hasn't produced enlightened beings has it? http://psychologytomorrowmagazine.com/inscapes-enlightenment-and-science/

Sati sees sensations as it arises and ceases without anticipation for it, so it is "what is".

Goenka's vipassana demands intention, even if you don't visualize or imagine. The very act of intention changes the "what is". In quantum physics, if you observe you change the pattern of the electron. You change "what is". In Qi (Chi), I know that every time I have an intension of sensing my hands I immediately feel sensation - energy flowing towards there. My intension provokes sensation.

Therefore, Goenka's vipassana technique cannot be true to "what is". If you just sit there with sati, you know that sensation will not flow top down in a natural order. To accomplish this, intention has to be there. If intention is there, the mind already has altered the natural state of bodily sensations. This practice cannot represent mindfulness of bodily sensation. In mindfulness, you don't know where sensation will come from. Hence, when sensation does arise it is "what is".

Having said this, I still recommend all to try the Goenka's vipassana retreat because I was trained to sit cross legged for one hour and to be able to sit for an hour of meditation. This in itself is worth it because it is free. I do recommend people to offer volunteering work or donation to help pay forward for others.

Goofaholix

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2016, 06:39:01 PM »
Goenka's vipassana demands intention, even if you don't visualize or imagine. The very act of intention changes the "what is". In quantum physics, if you observe you change the pattern of the electron. You change "what is". In Qi (Chi), I know that every time I have an intension of sensing my hands I immediately feel sensation - energy flowing towards there. My intension provokes sensation.

Therefore, Goenka's vipassana technique cannot be true to "what is". If you just sit there with sati, you know that sensation will not flow top down in a natural order. To accomplish this, intention has to be there. If intention is there, the mind already has altered the natural state of bodily sensations. This practice cannot represent mindfulness of bodily sensation. In mindfulness, you don't know where sensation will come from. Hence, when sensation does arise it is "what is".

I think you've got the wrong end of the stick here.  Sensation is always happening all over the body, the point is the mind is not sensitive enough or is distracted by other things or gives no importance to it so doesn't feel them.

Yes I think you can further create sensation by how you direct your mind, but this is not correct practice.  It's also true that the way one pays attention can alter the experience, we should try to be aware of this and let it go.  The same is very much true of watching the breath, as soon as you start paying attention to the breath it tends to get altered, one tends to start controlling it subtly, again it's just a matter of being aware of this and learning to let go of it.

Vivek

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2016, 07:36:10 PM »
Quote
If you just sit there with sati, you know that sensation will not flow top down in a natural order. To accomplish this, intention has to be there. If intention is there, the mind already has altered the natural state of bodily sensations.
Again, you are interpreting things your own way. Sensations "flowing top down" is merely your assumption. The instructions do not indicate that in any way. The crux of the teacher's instruction during the 10-day retreat is, sweep the body using awareness and notice whatever sensations arising and passing away, not observe flow of sensations. Sensations occur throughout the body in whichever way they please. The practitioner is asked only to be aware of whatever sensation that naturally arises in the body. You can follow whatever path or technique you want, but it would be beneficial if you get your views straightened out regarding how instructions are given for meditative practice.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

TheJourney

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2016, 08:29:56 PM »
Vivek,

I have his group sitting video on youtube. He clearly says scan your body from the crown of your head to the sole, and then from your sole to the top of your head. Isn't that what you did in the middle of day 4? I am not making this up. On subsequent days, he says to sweep starting from the top. If you cannot sweep then scan from top to bottom.

If you are to observe as is, then you cannot scan. The very nature of scanning from the top is promulgating an orderly process. Why not just say observe sensations from any where in the body?   Instead of saying from topeople to bottom.

The second I have intention to be aware of my ear I am introducing a thought. Dr Paul R. Fleischmann says every thought produces bodily sensation. I no longer am observing as is but observing sensation from post-thought or post-intention.

Vivek

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2016, 05:26:33 AM »
TheJourney, I think you are confused about what is being said in the instructions. But anyway, I am not going to try anymore to clarify what I have already clarified. 

Quote
The very nature of scanning from the top is promulgating an orderly process. Why not just say observe sensations from any where in the body?

Sweeping the whole body with awareness part by part is suggested to develop the capacity of the mind to feel sensations, gross or subtle, throughout the whole body. IT doesn't matter if we are doing top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top or in any manner. Teacher himself says that during the evening discourses. If you feel like not doing that because of whatever reasons, you can very well observe sensations anywhere in the body, if that helps you to deepen your meditative practice. In any case, whole-body awareness of sensations is the point we want to reach. Sweeping the body part by part is just an intermediate step. It is suggested because most novice practitioners find it useful to get established in Vipassana practice.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

TheJourney

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2016, 04:53:11 PM »
Vivek,

You said, "Sweeping the whole body with awareness part by part is suggested to develop the capacity of the mind to feel sensations, gross or subtle, throughout the whole body."

With intention, every time I can feel the sensations of my whole body in one exhale.

"Teacher himself says that during the evening discourses."

 He might have said this, and I may have missed it because I was only able to understand him 70% of the time. Because it is not written down, we don't have the opportunity to read his instructions.

"You can very well observe sensations anywhere in the body"

This sounds like pure awareness but I know that majority of the people who attended the retreat do not walk away with this impression. Just interview anyone from the retreat, a huge majority will have the impression that you need to do this in a natural order.

"Sweeping the body part by part is just an intermediate step. It is suggested because most novice practitioners find it useful to get established in Vipassana practice."

Such statement could have been made stronger during the instruction session.

In the end, we arrive at the conclusion that vipassana should just be pure awareness of sensations wherever they may arise from.

This thread can now be closed.

Pacific Flow

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2016, 05:20:33 PM »
Goenka's vipassana demands intention, even if you don't visualize or imagine. The very act of intention changes the "what is". In quantum physics, if you observe you change the pattern of the electron. You change "what is". In Qi (Chi), I know that every time I have an intension of sensing my hands I immediately feel sensation - energy flowing towards there. My intension provokes sensation.

Therefore, Goenka's vipassana technique cannot be true to "what is". If you just sit there with sati, you know that sensation will not flow top down in a natural order.

Dear TheJourney

You seem to enjoy intellectualising about Vipassana very much. I don't really understand why "white middle class" folks intellectualising about meditation has put you off.
Now to the content of your intellectual practice:

In Quantum Physics, the mere fact of observation changes the behaviour of matter. Intention is not needed. Just observation is enough to change the way things are going on this level of tiny particles.
If this was to make Goenka's approach invalid, because it would be impossible to observe unmanipulated reality, then we could all drop whatever Vipassana technique we are practising right now. This forum should then be closed down immediately. Any insight through self observation would be totally impossible.
So if you really believe that, i don't understand why you are still trying to meditate at all.

Another thing you got fundamentally wrong is that you seem to understand that the meditator creates the sensations and makes them flow in a certain direction, as you say "top down".
It is the awareness that is moving from the head to the feet and back up, not the sensations. That's an entirely different story.

And lastly, let me be very frank, for someone who hasn't gotten any sort of insight out of meditating for years as you said about yourself, you give an awful lot of advice on this forum in a very short time.
Maybe you should first understand the technique your are practising at the moment properly before you give extensive advise to others. Don't get me wrong, i respect you and you have every right to post your thoughts here if you wish to do so like everybody else, but don't you think someone who is obviously confused about even the most basic aspects of Vipassana and is aware that he has not reached any level of insight through meditation should hold back with guiding others on that matter a bit?

I really hope you can bring some clarity into your understanding of Vipassana.
 
« Last Edit: February 18, 2016, 05:24:51 PM by Pacific Flow »

TheJourney

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2016, 07:03:35 PM »
1. You are over interpreting. I am not put off by anything, definitely not put off by intellectualizing.

2. I used quantum physics to highlight a point. We can agree or disagree. The point that I am highlighting is that intention does change reality.

From Qi (Chi), the second I think about my hands a rush of energy will be in my hands. I can feel the sensation of my hands with energy wave. Same experiment again, except this time I don't think about my hands. I just sit there with a calm mind. As in pure awareness, I feel sensation coming from my head instead of from my hand. Intention does make it difference.

I can do a Qi standing meditation where I encircle my arms like holding a big watermelon. As I breathe in, I feel energy ball moving from the tip of my left index finger to my heart. As I  breathe out, it moves from my heart to the tip of my right index finger. With intention, sensation is created. Qi flows where the mind flows. Where Qi flows the blood flows.

I am not making any conclusion about Goenka's taught method. I simply am stating that the intermediate steps of block by block do have the potential to create sensations in the mind where there may not be any. The minute you have ordered awareness you are changing the order of nature. Anyone can try this. Just sit there and be aware of sensations. It does not come in certain order. It is random. That is natural. That is observing mind/body naturally.

I wasn't referring to closing the forum. As far as the interactions between Vivek and I, we have reached a common point. He says Goenk said in his discourse that you can just be in the pure awareness mode. That settles it with me. Others can jump in and have their say. I will be glad to respond.

Again, you are over reaching. I didn't suggest that you drop your Vipassana technique. If it works for you, continue with it. I will abide by the passive pure awareness vipassana.

3. The path to enlightenment is not through any special vipassana technique itself. Vipassana is derived from Buddha's Satipatthana Sutta. The thrust of practice is mindful breathing every second. Put your energy into mindfulness of the moment continuously. When done with sitting meditation, continue with meditation except eyes wide open. Mindful of every posture and movements.

4. Insight Meditation is not limited to sitting vipassana meditation. It is applied every second of your life. The knowing of your body and mind at all time is in itself a vipassana meditation practice. The knowing allows you to see what is happening to your mind, feeling, and body. This knowing is insight meditation.

5. In this forum, I only talk about the practice, the method and so forth without any personal offense at so please keep it that way. You can differ with me on our opinions of the practice but no need to verbalize like
"..for someone who hasn't gotten any sort of insight out of meditating for years as you said about yourself, you give an awful lot of advice on this forum in a very short time."

Did I ever say that I haven't gotten any sort of insight out of meditating for years? Please find such words that I have spoke of.

6. "It is the awareness that is moving from the head to the feet and back up, not the sensations. That's an entirely different story." You missed my point. Of course it is awareness from head to the feet. You have to have intention to direct the awareness at certain point in your body to see if you feel sensation there. You have brought your mind to that point. If it is pure awareness, I just sit there with sati. Sensation of numbness arise from the hand. You become aware of the sensation. Later, the left temple feels something. You become aware of that. You are not directing your mind to any particular spot. There is no intention. There is only pure awareness for wherever something is arising.  Sensation will arise in random order.

7. ".. but don't you think someone who is obviously confused about even the most basic aspects of Vipassana and is aware that he has not reached any level of insight through meditation should hold back with guiding others on that matter a bit? I really hope you can bring some clarity into your understanding of Vipassana."

Is this necessary comment? I am not at all confused about vipassana. There are many types of vipassana techniques. There is the pure awareness vipassana technique. There is vipassana technique that calls for mental noting of every activity and thought throughout the day. There is vipassana technique that calls for dynamic actions which is taught in Thai. Dynamic because constant motion helps the mind to stay awake to the present moment.

I questioned the active process of Goenka's vipassana. It is a legitimate question. Vivek says that I missed the instructions in the discourse that Goenka says that one can do the pure awareness vipassna. That settles the issue for me. It is with respect to this common ground that I was implying that Vivek and I are in agreement. This thread is closed between the two of us.

Sitting vipassana is only one aspect of vipassana. I have been doing mindfulness noting of my mind for a whole year. This itself is also vipassana. Please do not jump into conclusion that just because I started Goenka's sitting vipassana on October 1st 2015 that I am new to this.

I have seen drastic change in myself in 2016. I attribute this to my faith, persistence, and determination to mindfulness and anapana meditation for the entirety of 2015. I have renounced radio, TV, and Internet entertainment since Jan 1 2016. Starting three weekends ago, I experienced my cessation of train of thoughts for a whole day sporadically here and there. In replacing sensual realm, I read Dhamma related materials.

My advice is this. Sitting vipassana is good, but it is not the only tool. It is more important to practice vipassana in continuity for the entire day. You have to allow your subconscious mind to see impermanence, unsatisfactory, and non-self continuously. Sitting meditation and constant practice in everything that you do daily is the accelerated path. Do not crave for enlightenment. Just be on the path.


Goofaholix

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2016, 07:05:29 PM »
This sounds like pure awareness but I know that majority of the people who attended the retreat do not walk away with this impression. Just interview anyone from the retreat, a huge majority will have the impression that you need to do this in a natural order.

"Sweeping the body part by part is just an intermediate step. It is suggested because most novice practitioners find it useful to get established in Vipassana practice."

It's possible the progression of the technique is less emphasised for new students, it's been a long time since I was a new student so I'm not sure.  Either that or you may have got on a roll with what you were practicising and missed the fact that each day the instructions changed.

TheJourney

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2016, 07:48:23 PM »


It's possible the progression of the technique is less emphasised for new students, it's been a long time since I was a new student so I'm not sure.  Either that or you may have got on a roll with what you were practicising and missed the fact that each day the instructions changed.
[/quote]

Yes, he does progressively embed new instructions with the previous instructions. He always begins with block by block from the top. This point is emphasized daily at the beginning of all his instructions. Of course, he adds that you can also do the sweep but if my recollection is correct he said sweep from the top. I can understand his instructions 100%, but when he is giving his discourse I can only comprehend his pronunciation 70% of the time.  In my last group sitting on Feb 5 at a family's home, a lady also had the same issue. She said she had problem with visualization.

If I am allowed to express one constructive critique, it would be nice if they have a feedback system. They learn what most students are going through, then they improve and update the audio for instructions. Knowing lot of people visualize, they may update the audio to remind people not to do this. This will not happen because Goenka already passed away. I talked on the 10th day with lots of students. I know many of them visualize.

Did you visualize?
 
At this point, it is a moot point. I will just do anapanasati and mindfulness practice. There is more than one tool in the path of enlightenment.


Goofaholix

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2016, 11:40:53 PM »
Did you visualize?

Sometimes, the mind has the habit of visualising when there is no need to, the practice is to try and let go of that habit.

TheJourney

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Re: Questions about Goenka's vipassana technique
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2016, 01:56:35 AM »
I told AT that my visualization of torso part was distorted. He didn't tell me not to visualize.

The sensation on the front and sides of my head is so strong that I will never feel the back of my head if I don't visualize.

There are parts of body where I can just feel it when my mind becomes aware of that area.

Without AT's correction I naturally assumed that I do whatever I can to sense the back of my head and torso area.

 

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