Author Topic: my meditation retreat  (Read 4955 times)

MarcT

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • goenka
my meditation retreat
« on: July 25, 2016, 01:53:36 PM »
Hello Everybody,

I've just come back from my third meditation retreat. It wasn't really successful. My mind was extremely flickering and most of the time pain (legs and the back) was over-powering me. I rarely could sit still for a few minutes. On day 7 I went to see the teacher to ask for help. She advised me first to concentrate on the center of the pain area before scanning. This helped me at the beginning and I was able then to find some sensations on the body. But to find sensations I often had to held the breath and/or reducing it on every blank part. This was a really tiring operation and at the end I was really exhausted.

I was really to the point to abandon Vipassana.

I must have two major problems: I am not really tough facing pain and my extremely wandering mind.

Maybe somebody can give me an advice.
Thanks.
                                                           

Laurent

  • Member
  • don't feed the troll
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2016, 03:27:55 PM »
Practice more anapanasati. Try to develop the cutting edge of your mind before observing sensations.

Sometimes i practice only anapana during several days.

I find anapana is just like the tool. It have to be very sharp to get through phenomenons.

Strong Anapana let you practice strong metta. Why not to make a break on vipassana and develop metta with the support of anapana.
It will be very helpful when you will come back to vipassana.

The eightfold path has 8 parts.

I think Anapana is underrated in Goenka's method.

When you are observing sensations, try to do it as you do in anapana. You can fix a few seconds on an area like with the breath in anapana, before getting in another area . But it needs a strong developpement of anapanasati.

Vipassana tends to decrease attention, mind become agitated,  but if you consider, anapanasati and vipassana are the same things in Goenka's method. It is just that when we are practising vipassana, we don't focus on sensations as we do with anapana. Anapana is pure focusing, but vipassana should have to be too.

For dealing with pain now,practice sitting on a bed or even lying when there are no other way.

There are lots of steps before giving up, Buddha is not here to advice you though. You have to find yourself your way  ;)

Remember that you are on the way to eradicate the aversion that you are now experiencing  :)

« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 03:41:18 PM by Laurent »

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2016, 07:10:41 PM »
If you have physical pain issues there's no harm practicing in a comfortable chair, with your back supported by cushions.

p340

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2016, 11:16:16 PM »
If you have physical pain issues there's no harm practicing in a comfortable chair, with your back supported by cushions.

I too would not recommend sitting through immense amounts of pain. There are no diligence points to be gained.. Please do not torture yourself in the name of some peoples version of the dharma.

I'd recommend dealing with the source of the pain - stretching/back training, or as DT says, another way to sit. That is good and simple advice.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 11:20:49 PM by p340 »

MarcT

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • goenka
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2016, 11:52:25 PM »
Thank you guys for your advises.

During the 1 - 2 days I had not to much problems sitting cross-legged. My back is always strained but in this position after a while it becomes painful. And also I got very quick needles and pins in my legs. After 10 minutes already I wanted to change position. First I tried to ignore then to resist. But after a while I gave up...I had to change.  :'( :'(

I think it's easier to go to a retreat in good physical conditions. Having pain all the time isn't helpful if you already have a wandering mind.

rogp99

  • Member
    • Theravada
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2016, 03:20:47 AM »
Thank you guys for your advises.

During the 1 - 2 days I had not to much problems sitting cross-legged. My back is always strained but in this position after a while it becomes painful. And also I got very quick needles and pins in my legs. After 10 minutes already I wanted to change position. First I tried to ignore then to resist. But after a while I gave up...I had to change.  :'( :'(

I think it's easier to go to a retreat in good physical conditions. Having pain all the time isn't helpful if you already have a wandering mind.
You should take a mental note that "you" are changing posture, then change it :)

MarcT

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • goenka
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2016, 06:29:29 AM »
Quote
You should take a mental note that "you" are changing posture, then change it :)

Sorry, I'm not sure what you exactly want to tell me

stillpointdancer

  • stillpointdancer
  • Member
  • Retired teacher, deepening understanding of Dharma
    • Insight meditation
    • Exploring the results of 30 years of meditating
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2016, 12:47:32 PM »
Hello Everybody,

I've just come back from my third meditation retreat. It wasn't really successful. My mind was extremely flickering and most of the time pain (legs and the back) was over-powering me. I rarely could sit still for a few minutes. On day 7 I went to see the teacher to ask for help. She advised me first to concentrate on the center of the pain area before scanning. This helped me at the beginning and I was able then to find some sensations on the body. But to find sensations I often had to held the breath and/or reducing it on every blank part. This was a really tiring operation and at the end I was really exhausted.

I was really to the point to abandon Vipassana.

I must have two major problems: I am not really tough facing pain and my extremely wandering mind.

Maybe somebody can give me an advice.
Thanks.
                                                           

I've done the going through the pain barrier thing and, although it was an achievement that brought an interesting quality to the meditation, as a biologist I decided that I should really stop doing that kind of thing. Pain is helpful and is there to tell you that something is wrong. Unlike certain other animals, we are not well designed to sit still for long periods, so making sure that we have good circulation, in a comfortable position, is the sensible thing to do. The key point is to find a comfortable, sustainable meditation posture that suits both your meditation experience and your state of health. Don't be bullied into anything else.

As for the wandering mind- welcome to the club! Our minds hate being 'tamed' and will do anything in the struggle for attention. Whenever I have this problem I do one of two things. I either go back to a few minutes of mindfulness of breathing to refocus my mind, or I go with what my mind was trying to say to me. After all, it might be important. I can then go back to the meditation via some mindfulness of breathing.



“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

TheJourney

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Goenka Vipassana, Anapana, and 4 foundations of mindfulness
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2016, 03:41:59 AM »
Marc,

Do what works for you. If body scan is not suitable, do mental noting vipassana. You note what sensation is there. When there is no sensation, you note rising and falling abdomen until there is arising bodily sensation where ever it may be. You stay with the sensation until it disappears.

Pain of sitting on the floor went away on the 6th day for me. Yes, the more I body scan the more active my mind becomes. I have very calm mind for the first scan then 30 min later mind gets more and more noisy.

Buddha says know for yourself if something is right for you.

MarcT

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • goenka
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2016, 06:07:38 AM »
thanks for all replies

p340

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2016, 09:58:00 AM »
Note that there are big differences between Goenkas technique and others. This tradition is subject to big discussions around here for years. I just want to mention that there are many other and less pain focused ways of meditating out there. You don't have to follow Goenkas technique. The members of this forum can provide you with lots of good resources, if you want it.

metta
« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 10:09:13 AM by p340 »

Laurent

  • Member
  • don't feed the troll
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2016, 11:07:24 AM »
Note that there are big differences between Goenkas technique and others. This tradition is subject to big discussions around here for years. I just want to mention that there are many other and less pain focused ways of meditating out there. You don't have to follow Goenkas technique. The members of this forum can provide you with lots of good resources, if you want it.

metta

This technique is not based on pain. It is sure that 10H/day meditation retreat will unleash a lot of things and be difficult.
But now that you have learnt the technique, you can practice it at your rythm.
I don't take care of Goenka's teaching anymore but this technique is so effective. For me it tends to decrease pain, even physical pain and tensions.
I think the important point is about anapanasati.
When mind is unstable and wandering, anapanasati should be practice UNTIL mind becomes calm. Your mind should be attracted by the breath as a magnet. If you see your mind seems to be like this magnet, observing breath with details, you can go vipassana, nor just continue to practice anapanasati, mental calm. Your mental will calm by applying the right technique.
The way is to calm first.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 11:29:30 AM by Laurent »

p340

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2016, 12:14:42 PM »
I do not want to get into this discussion about Goenka. I'm sorry if my comment about the pain felt unfair to you.

I just want to point out that there are many other good teachers and teachings out there and much less controversial interpretations of the dharma. For some this is an important information, especially if they struggle with Goenkas technique.

Laurent

  • Member
  • don't feed the troll
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2016, 01:57:07 PM »
I do not want to get into this discussion about Goenka. I'm sorry if my comment about the pain felt unfair to you.

I just want to point out that there are many other good teachers and teachings out there and much less controversial interpretations of the dharma. For some this is an important information, especially if they struggle with Goenkas technique.

Sure.
I was putting me on the place of Marc T, just coming back from a 10 day course.
You are right though.

MarcT

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • goenka
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2016, 02:28:59 PM »
I would like to come back to my problems with my extreme wandering mind. I followed the advises like giving a few slightly hard breaths but it didn't really work for me. The only thing which helped a little bit was to hold the breath for a minute or so.
What do you do if you mind you cannot control your mind?

purity

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • mahasi
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2016, 12:52:45 AM »
Hello Everybody,

I've just come back from my third meditation retreat. It wasn't really successful. My mind was extremely flickering and most of the time pain (legs and the back) was over-powering me. I rarely could sit still for a few minutes. On day 7 I went to see the teacher to ask for help. She advised me first to concentrate on the center of the pain area before scanning. This helped me at the beginning and I was able then to find some sensations on the body. But to find sensations I often had to held the breath and/or reducing it on every blank part. This was a really tiring operation and at the end I was really exhausted.

I was really to the point to abandon Vipassana.

I must have two major problems: I am not really tough facing pain and my extremely wandering mind.

Maybe somebody can give me an advice.
Thanks.
                                                           

Sounds successful to me.  My advise -  Let go of wanting it to be anything other than what it is. The flickering mind and the pain are perfect fodder for cultivating equanimity.    Life is painful. Learn to sit with the pain. Make it your friend.

purity

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • mahasi
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2016, 01:01:58 PM »

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • Buddhism is a practical psychology and philosophy, not a religion.
    • If you cling to view, you must know this limits your potential.
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2016, 02:59:30 PM »
I would like to come back to my problems with my extreme wandering mind. I followed the advises like giving a few slightly hard breaths but it didn't really work for me. The only thing which helped a little bit was to hold the breath for a minute or so.
What do you do if you mind you cannot control your mind?

You can't control your mind ... yet ... it takes time, and consistent effort of not identifying with the contents of mind, before the mind will start to quiet down.

Basically you are in a "war of attrition" with your mind's wandering thoughts and your weapon is to bore them into shutting up through not identifying with them. Any attempt to suppress thought will only back-fire on you.

Kindly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Laurent

  • Member
  • don't feed the troll
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2016, 11:53:18 AM »
I would like to come back to my problems with my extreme wandering mind. I followed the advises like giving a few slightly hard breaths but it didn't really work for me. The only thing which helped a little bit was to hold the breath for a minute or so.
What do you do if you mind you cannot control your mind?

Things can happen brutally.
But don't expect any result in meditation.
True results are in your life.
Keep training, you can still train patience, effort, even when your mind is wandering. Those are good qualities and will help you in the long run and in your daily life. Remind Buddha said the path is good at the beginning, middle and at the end. You are already making something very good, just don't stop it.
I remember my extremely wandering mind when i stopped smoking.
I had smoked for years so it became a part of my mind.
There can be long time of clouds and storms.
As an exercise, you can try focus your mind a few seconds on breath, attempting to distinguish details , just like when you squint, you know?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 11:55:32 AM by Laurent »

MarcT

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • goenka
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2016, 11:23:11 AM »
Quote from: p340  on: July 27, 2016, 10:58:00 AM »
Quote
Note that there are big differences between Goenkas technique and others.

I did not know that there are other kind of Vipassana teachings. Where are the differences?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • Buddhism is a practical psychology and philosophy, not a religion.
    • If you cling to view, you must know this limits your potential.
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2016, 06:16:35 PM »
Quote from: p340  on: July 27, 2016, 10:58:00 AM »
Quote
Note that there are big differences between Goenkas technique and others.

I did not know that there are other kind of Vipassana teachings. Where are the differences?

How long is a piece of string? The fact the Goenka organisation does not clarify it is teaching one (very recent) interpretation of many has lead to you not knowing something rather essential.

You might as well start your researches with Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vipassan%C4%81
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

TheJourney

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Goenka Vipassana, Anapana, and 4 foundations of mindfulness
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2016, 10:27:28 PM »
Vipassana is something you can practice from waking up to sleeping, but Goenka doesn't tell you that because you cannot do that with his technique. In fact, one should do vipassana constantly.

Vivek

  • Moderator
  • Member
    • Advaita & U Ba Khin's tradition
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2016, 07:27:29 AM »
Quote
Vipassana is something you can practice from waking up to sleeping, but Goenka doesn't tell you that because you cannot do that with his technique. In fact, one should do vipassana constantly.
That is not correct. Goenkaji repeatedly emphasized through the instructions during retreats that continuity of practice is the secret of success. Continuous awareness of sensations with equanimity throughout the waking hours is explained as a stage that every practitioner must aspire to attain.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Attachless

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
    • Vipassana
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2016, 02:51:38 PM »
Vipassana is something you can practice from waking up to sleeping, but Goenka doesn't tell you that because you cannot do that with his technique. In fact, one should do vipassana constantly.

Is what I`m practicing, therefor I claim it to be possible :-P
to be or not to be - one hardly notices the subtlety

TheJourney

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Goenka Vipassana, Anapana, and 4 foundations of mindfulness
Re: my meditation retreat
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2016, 03:50:45 AM »
Concur with you about what Goenka said; however, his practice, at least in the first retreat, is to just observe sensations.

In vipassana, there is more to observe than just bodily sensations. Observe mental intentions and physical movements to see how nama lead rupa but also how nama and rupa are just arising and disappearing phenomenon. Observe all 6 sense doors not just bodily sensations.

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
5 Replies
4180 Views
Last post October 10, 2007, 06:19:23 PM
by Matthew
2 Replies
2658 Views
Last post June 02, 2008, 02:34:51 PM
by Flipasso
10 Replies
6581 Views
Last post November 21, 2009, 04:52:50 AM
by mindful1983
13 Replies
8440 Views
Last post June 06, 2010, 12:39:58 PM
by Matthew
My 10 day retreat

Started by Inner Effect Under The Banyan Tree

2 Replies
2618 Views
Last post June 07, 2013, 05:39:39 PM
by Matthew
7 Replies
3649 Views
Last post July 03, 2013, 12:19:34 PM
by Dharmic Tui
11 Replies
1184 Views
Last post January 14, 2021, 02:10:53 PM
by Alex