Author Topic: General questions about perception of body and difficulty with concentration  (Read 658 times)


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    • Vipassana
Hi All,

I have been meditating for around one year and more recently, since 4.5 month ago, I have switched to Vipassana in Goenka style. I have several questions regarding the practice:

Q-1. I am not trying to visualize but during the practice I have some visual sense of my body over which I am moving my concentration. Recently, I have some diffculty in moving my concentration since I do not know which specific point in my body I am moving my concentration. For example, when I open my eyes (but not focus on seeing through them), I have a good sense of where my focus point goes but when I close my eyes I have this visual sense of the body which somehow mis-directs my focus.
Also, I feel my body as if the solar plexis and chest part is swollen and is much forward than its usual place.

My question is how should I basically direct my attention from one point to another. To be more specific, if I want to focus on my hand or my foot, etc. my focus immediately moves there but when I try to move my focus on different parts of my back and shoulders, it sounds as if my mind is totally confused and does not know where to focus on.

Q-2. As far as I learned from my 10-day retreat, Goenka mentioned that one should not stay too much with strong sensations and should move more to weak sensations to make the mind sharper. Currently, I have some difficulty with this. I guess there is some sort of clinsing going on on my forehead and I feel a very strong sensation there, which by the way, I am totally ok and sense it with full equanimity. However, when I try to move from head to other parts I cannot move my whole attention and continue to feel the head or even worse, my attention jumps from that point to the head and back.

I would like to know in these situations what should one do? I am asking since I feel that brute force is not working here. I had read that if some sensations keeps the attention so strongly, one should make it the meditation aboject and keep with it. But the problem is that in Vipasanna we do not have a meditation object perse. Also, in that case, as I have tried it, my attention goes deepr and does not move from the head by any means.

I would like to know what is the right thing to do in these situations in Goenka style Vipasanna?

Q-3. From my 10-day retreat, I remember that Goenka mentioned that as one starts to feel deeper organs one should also move the attention deeper. Currently, I can feel much deeper parts of my body, which sound as hard bricks. When I focus on them they start to dissolve and tear apart.

I would like to know how should I manage my focus. Should I go with these deeper sensations or should I always sense the surface of my body. I feel that when I go deeper some feelings of restlessness or sensations of huge aversion arises which de-stabilizes my attention and focus. I would like to know what is the right approach to proceed.

Also, I am a little bit confused with sensations. Let me explain as follows. When I decide to focus on let's say the blood flow on my hand, I can clearly feel the sensation and can somehow trace the blood vessel on my hand. So, in that sense, the sensations I feel from these deeper parts, are they related to any specific organ? For example, when I feel the sensation of tearing out and dissolving something inside, then what happens exactly? Is this associated with any internal organ?

Thanks a lot and looking forward to your helpful comments.

Best Wishes,


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    • Theravada / Insight Meditation
Q-1. It sounds like you are still in the habit of experiencing your body through concepts, ie the visual impression of each body part and/or the concept/name of each body part.  It's good that you are aware that you are doing that as this is the first step in breaking this habit and experiencing the felt sense of the sensations of the body.  Each time you notice that happening then bring yourself back to the felt sense of the sensations of the body, it takes time and perseverance.

Q-2. Again it's a case of perseverance and going against your natural habit, in this case in order to develop some sensitivity of mind. It's like weightlifting, if you want to develop muscle tone there is no point lifting easy weights, you need to lift difficult weights, if you want to develop the mind you have to develop those aspects of practice that are difficult, fail many times and persevere.

Q-3. It doesn't really matter where you feel the sensations, or whether they are on the surface of the body or inside the body.  I think the inside of the body is mentioned specifically because some meditators only observe sensations on the surface.  The sensations themselves don't matter what matters is that you are using them to develop insight, sensitivity, and equanimity of mind.  If you are observing vessels or organs you are observing concepts about the body, get back to the felt sense and try to drop those concepts, then you'll discover it really doesn't matter what is happening in the body it's how the mind experiences it that matters.


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