Author Topic: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?  (Read 141 times)

tombaxers

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Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« on: October 18, 2020, 12:01:20 PM »
Please forgive my ignorance about the matters I am about to describe, my level of knowledge is still in its infancy and I am very aware of the fact that I could do with some guidance from some more experienced practitioners - thus the reason I am here...

I recently undertook my first 10 day Vipassana course, from which I have gained more than I could have hope for but also unravelled a huge amount of unanswered questions given the shear intensity of my experience and the inability to really discuss with the teacher or anyone else after finishing the course. I also spoke to a number of other students at the end of the course and  garnered that the level of intensity I experienced was seemingly an order of magnitude higher than the others - for whatever reason that may be.

In order to explain my experience and the questions I have I believe I need to describe the build up of my course experience to where I have got to now (about two months since the course ended):

Day 1 and 2 - I struggled with sleep; found it very hard to concentrate doing Anapana and adapt to the new routine of the course. I assume this is no different than any other new student...

Day 3 - During Anapana in the morning I began to experience the feeling of light facial distortions; pressure in the forehead above the nose and some vibrations around the nose & mouth. I asked the teacher about this he told me it was a good sign and to continue. That afternoon whilst doing anapana the vibrations spread throughout my entire body and I experienced what I can only describe as a completely overwhelming feeling of total bliss, love & compassion for around 45mins. I will admit that I was not equanimous throughout this experience - at this point equanimity hadn't yet been taught - and I found that I could expand the vibrations further and further throughout my body by maintaining a certain pressure against my soft pallet area whilst exhaling slowly through my nostrils. I was fairly mind blown by this experience and it made me really understand for the first time the shear healing power of these meditation techniques.

Day 5 - whilst practicing Vipassana and body scanning I had begun exploring internally and found I could slow my heart rate down voluntarily to unfathomably slow rates and enter into what I perceived to be a sort of state of hibernation. By the evening I was able to go extremely deep and feel blood flow dissolve throughout my body right down into my little toes the left slightly before the right. During the evening meditations I had incredibly clear flow states and was able to feel a seemingly incredible level of detail both on the surface and within my body including blood flow dissolving into organs etcetera. Feeling extremely calm, I had expected to go to bed and sleep super well but almost as soon as my head hit the pillow I began getting heart arrhythmias and chest pains. I had similar sort of symptoms 16 years before when I was 21 and over the course of two years was diagnosed with fibromyalgia of my heart tissue. That went away when I was ~24 and I haven't really had it ever since, but suddenly it had seemingly come back. I spent the entire night on the verge of waking up the course manager to go to hospital but refrained and finally slept right around the time the gong went off and had to miss the initial morning session. At lunch on Day 6 I asked the teacher about the unpleasant heart feelings and he explained that it was probably fairly normal (particularly given my history of the problem) and that I was probably beginning to experience the after affects of the release of some deep Sankharas and that this was likely affecting my body in some unusual ways afterwards. He also suggested a Chinese acupressure point on my wrist to help calm my heart down and throughout the rest of the course I found this extremely helpful if I experienced anymore unusual/unpleasant heart sensations/ arrhythmias  - using the acupressure point he suggested seemed to make the feelings dissipate within a few minutes every time I needed it.

Day 6 and 7 were spent exploring the depth of Vipassana further and I experienced 2 or 3 long sittings where the pain culminated in white light and the experience changed into something completely different with the pain dissipating into feelings hard to describe. Through days 5, 6 and 7 I had intense visuals akin to strong psychedelic experience - visuals often returning to similar themes, which after speaking to the teacher I tried hard to stay equanimous and not interpret in any way (the final 3 days of the course most of these visuals had ended). By day 7 I had an almost continual pressure behind my nose and forehead and down into my jawline. I found that the area around the nose and forehead could help the interoception/ proprioception of soft tissues throughout my body with my heart acting as a sort of echo locator and sensors in my nose/ forehead picking up the signal. Likewise my jawline would pick up the same but from hard tissues like bone and sternum etc... Even in-between meditations these feelings would only soften but not dissipate completely and I found that when I pressed/pinched soft tissue somewhere the pressure in my hose/ forehead area would increase instantly and likewise if I pressed somewhere like my sternum for example a intense feeling of pressure would light up under my top teeth. These feelings became stronger and stronger and I was almost continually feeling distortions/ twitching/ movement in my face even between meditations and lying in bed at night.

By Day 8 I had lost the ability to sense any body sensations below my head. The feelings in my head were simply too strong and too distracting to allow my senses to perceive anything lower down and all of the flow I had had earlier on in the course had gone. I was continually feeling very intense facial distortions. I asked the teacher about this over lunch and he told me to stay equanimous and stay with the feelings. In the first session after lunch I sat through an hour of very very intense facial distortions; feelings of someone/ an energy walking down stone steps within my face; writing letters inside my skull; teeth twisting in their sockets; my jaw being pulled to one side as far as it will possibly go etc... many very unpleasant gross sensations. After Goenka Ji's chanting had ended I continued and the session culminated in an energy pulling my head right back so I essentially had my chin pointing at the ceiling for 20 minutes with the facial distortions continuing throughout. Finally this was broken by thunder & lightening right over the meditation centre and the sound of children in the nearby kindergarden shouting, screaming and laughing at the noise. I found this pretty funny given the circumstance and my laughing released the energy holding my neck and as my head came forward my amusement turned instantly into the most intense outpouring of grief I have ever experienced in my entire life. I was literally heaving collapsed forward with my head on the floor for 20mins sobbing uncontrollably for no consciously known reason. Finally this subsided, I slowly came back to my senses and as I left the Dhamma hall I felt a huge sense of release (and also confusion).

The final two days of the course remained to be very intense and I continued to have multiple meditations with very intense facial distortions culminating in my head being pulled back by this unknown energy for long periods of time (though no more outpourings of grief). At this point I still didn't really know whether the facial distortions were in my head or real. That was until the course director came into the hall after one session had ended to find me on my own with my head back and face and neck distorted extremely intensely. He had also seen my incident the day before and upon witnessing this suggested I should speak to the teacher about my experiences that evening. The teacher suggested I should take it easy and if things got too intense I should open my eyes and not push it too hard for fear of potentially causing some psychological damage since I was maybe too inexperienced to be going through such intense experiences so early in my Vipassana education.

Since the end of the course I have been trying to continue my practice twice daily with varying degrees of success. The intensity from the course remained for the first 7-10 days but since then it has dissipated a lot and I have unfortunately missed too many sessions from work or social interruptions. I have recently had two very intense experiences of floating outside my body and my "I" somehow pulling further and further away from where I was sat, which sounds like entering the 5th Jhana from what I have briefly read (though I might be very wrong). Aside from that, the pressure behind my nose, forehead and jaw is totally gone and I now find it very hard to get into any sort of flow state or depth whist sensing the body. I am still getting some very intense facial distortions from time to time simply when doing anapana.

This is now an extremely long post, but from these experiences mentioned above I have many unanswered questions, which I am hoping this community might be able to help with. I have done quite a lot of research online about these sorts of experiences but I really haven't found much that sounds very similar. So:

1) Can anyone suggest what I might be going through? Are these intense physical experiences likely the release of deep Sankharas from my life or past lives?

2) Is it possible that the predominantly gross sensations will give way to something else. I assume by the very nature of impermanence this should be true.

3) Can anyone recommend any further reading I can do that will help me understand these matters further?

4) What is the limit to being equanimous (i.e. at what point should I know when to stop?) ? I am probably a fairly stubborn inquisitive person and the combination of the two has led me to push myself fairly hard through the pain and gross sensations. Is this the right thing to being doing? Is pushing hard even staying equanimous to begin with. It seems a contradiction-in-terms almost.

5) I have signed up for a second course in January and am waiting to be accepted at the moment. I find myself craving to get back to the level of intensity that had at the end of the first course and from then try to maintain the cadence strictly with twice daily practice (so as to continue getting the benefits I gained from Course 1, which I find have now slipped somewhat). Again, this craving in itself is of-course breaking equanimity and seems like a Catch-22 situation. How to not crave for improving your vipassana? Haha..

6) What are these recent out of body experiences I have had?

This is definitely enough for now and if anyone has read this far I would be amazed. Any advice though would be very much appreciated! Thanks!

« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 12:14:23 PM by tombaxers »

milco

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2020, 02:11:06 PM »
I don't know why you would want to put yourself through something which has had such a profoundly adverse physical and psychological outcome.

It sounds like this course has severely affected your wellbeing and I would be very doubtful about the merits of continuing with it.

You sound considerably traumatized by the whole thing. I would step back and look for other kinder and gentler avenues to fulfilment and enlightenment.

« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 02:12:39 PM by milco »

running

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2020, 03:07:59 AM »
Please forgive my ignorance about the matters I am about to describe, my level of knowledge is still in its infancy and I am very aware of the fact that I could do with some guidance from some more experienced practitioners - thus the reason I am here...

I recently undertook my first 10 day Vipassana course, from which I have gained more than I could have hope for but also unravelled a huge amount of unanswered questions given the shear intensity of my experience and the inability to really discuss with the teacher or anyone else after finishing the course. I also spoke to a number of other students at the end of the course and  garnered that the level of intensity I experienced was seemingly an order of magnitude higher than the others - for whatever reason that may be.

In order to explain my experience and the questions I have I believe I need to describe the build up of my course experience to where I have got to now (about two months since the course ended):

Day 1 and 2 - I struggled with sleep; found it very hard to concentrate doing Anapana and adapt to the new routine of the course. I assume this is no different than any other new student...

Day 3 - During Anapana in the morning I began to experience the feeling of light facial distortions; pressure in the forehead above the nose and some vibrations around the nose & mouth. I asked the teacher about this he told me it was a good sign and to continue. That afternoon whilst doing anapana the vibrations spread throughout my entire body and I experienced what I can only describe as a completely overwhelming feeling of total bliss, love & compassion for around 45mins. I will admit that I was not equanimous throughout this experience - at this point equanimity hadn't yet been taught - and I found that I could expand the vibrations further and further throughout my body by maintaining a certain pressure against my soft pallet area whilst exhaling slowly through my nostrils. I was fairly mind blown by this experience and it made me really understand for the first time the shear healing power of these meditation techniques.

Day 5 - whilst practicing Vipassana and body scanning I had begun exploring internally and found I could slow my heart rate down voluntarily to unfathomably slow rates and enter into what I perceived to be a sort of state of hibernation. By the evening I was able to go extremely deep and feel blood flow dissolve throughout my body right down into my little toes the left slightly before the right. During the evening meditations I had incredibly clear flow states and was able to feel a seemingly incredible level of detail both on the surface and within my body including blood flow dissolving into organs etcetera. Feeling extremely calm, I had expected to go to bed and sleep super well but almost as soon as my head hit the pillow I began getting heart arrhythmias and chest pains. I had similar sort of symptoms 16 years before when I was 21 and over the course of two years was diagnosed with fibromyalgia of my heart tissue. That went away when I was ~24 and I haven't really had it ever since, but suddenly it had seemingly come back. I spent the entire night on the verge of waking up the course manager to go to hospital but refrained and finally slept right around the time the gong went off and had to miss the initial morning session. At lunch on Day 6 I asked the teacher about the unpleasant heart feelings and he explained that it was probably fairly normal (particularly given my history of the problem) and that I was probably beginning to experience the after affects of the release of some deep Sankharas and that this was likely affecting my body in some unusual ways afterwards. He also suggested a Chinese acupressure point on my wrist to help calm my heart down and throughout the rest of the course I found this extremely helpful if I experienced anymore unusual/unpleasant heart sensations/ arrhythmias  - using the acupressure point he suggested seemed to make the feelings dissipate within a few minutes every time I needed it.

Day 6 and 7 were spent exploring the depth of Vipassana further and I experienced 2 or 3 long sittings where the pain culminated in white light and the experience changed into something completely different with the pain dissipating into feelings hard to describe. Through days 5, 6 and 7 I had intense visuals akin to strong psychedelic experience - visuals often returning to similar themes, which after speaking to the teacher I tried hard to stay equanimous and not interpret in any way (the final 3 days of the course most of these visuals had ended). By day 7 I had an almost continual pressure behind my nose and forehead and down into my jawline. I found that the area around the nose and forehead could help the interoception/ proprioception of soft tissues throughout my body with my heart acting as a sort of echo locator and sensors in my nose/ forehead picking up the signal. Likewise my jawline would pick up the same but from hard tissues like bone and sternum etc... Even in-between meditations these feelings would only soften but not dissipate completely and I found that when I pressed/pinched soft tissue somewhere the pressure in my hose/ forehead area would increase instantly and likewise if I pressed somewhere like my sternum for example a intense feeling of pressure would light up under my top teeth. These feelings became stronger and stronger and I was almost continually feeling distortions/ twitching/ movement in my face even between meditations and lying in bed at night.

By Day 8 I had lost the ability to sense any body sensations below my head. The feelings in my head were simply too strong and too distracting to allow my senses to perceive anything lower down and all of the flow I had had earlier on in the course had gone. I was continually feeling very intense facial distortions. I asked the teacher about this over lunch and he told me to stay equanimous and stay with the feelings. In the first session after lunch I sat through an hour of very very intense facial distortions; feelings of someone/ an energy walking down stone steps within my face; writing letters inside my skull; teeth twisting in their sockets; my jaw being pulled to one side as far as it will possibly go etc... many very unpleasant gross sensations. After Goenka Ji's chanting had ended I continued and the session culminated in an energy pulling my head right back so I essentially had my chin pointing at the ceiling for 20 minutes with the facial distortions continuing throughout. Finally this was broken by thunder & lightening right over the meditation centre and the sound of children in the nearby kindergarden shouting, screaming and laughing at the noise. I found this pretty funny given the circumstance and my laughing released the energy holding my neck and as my head came forward my amusement turned instantly into the most intense outpouring of grief I have ever experienced in my entire life. I was literally heaving collapsed forward with my head on the floor for 20mins sobbing uncontrollably for no consciously known reason. Finally this subsided, I slowly came back to my senses and as I left the Dhamma hall I felt a huge sense of release (and also confusion).

The final two days of the course remained to be very intense and I continued to have multiple meditations with very intense facial distortions culminating in my head being pulled back by this unknown energy for long periods of time (though no more outpourings of grief). At this point I still didn't really know whether the facial distortions were in my head or real. That was until the course director came into the hall after one session had ended to find me on my own with my head back and face and neck distorted extremely intensely. He had also seen my incident the day before and upon witnessing this suggested I should speak to the teacher about my experiences that evening. The teacher suggested I should take it easy and if things got too intense I should open my eyes and not push it too hard for fear of potentially causing some psychological damage since I was maybe too inexperienced to be going through such intense experiences so early in my Vipassana education.

Since the end of the course I have been trying to continue my practice twice daily with varying degrees of success. The intensity from the course remained for the first 7-10 days but since then it has dissipated a lot and I have unfortunately missed too many sessions from work or social interruptions. I have recently had two very intense experiences of floating outside my body and my "I" somehow pulling further and further away from where I was sat, which sounds like entering the 5th Jhana from what I have briefly read (though I might be very wrong). Aside from that, the pressure behind my nose, forehead and jaw is totally gone and I now find it very hard to get into any sort of flow state or depth whist sensing the body. I am still getting some very intense facial distortions from time to time simply when doing anapana.

This is now an extremely long post, but from these experiences mentioned above I have many unanswered questions, which I am hoping this community might be able to help with. I have done quite a lot of research online about these sorts of experiences but I really haven't found much that sounds very similar. So:

1) Can anyone suggest what I might be going through? Are these intense physical experiences likely the release of deep Sankharas from my life or past lives?

2) Is it possible that the predominantly gross sensations will give way to something else. I assume by the very nature of impermanence this should be true.

3) Can anyone recommend any further reading I can do that will help me understand these matters further?

4) What is the limit to being equanimous (i.e. at what point should I know when to stop?) ? I am probably a fairly stubborn inquisitive person and the combination of the two has led me to push myself fairly hard through the pain and gross sensations. Is this the right thing to being doing? Is pushing hard even staying equanimous to begin with. It seems a contradiction-in-terms almost.

5) I have signed up for a second course in January and am waiting to be accepted at the moment. I find myself craving to get back to the level of intensity that had at the end of the first course and from then try to maintain the cadence strictly with twice daily practice (so as to continue getting the benefits I gained from Course 1, which I find have now slipped somewhat). Again, this craving in itself is of-course breaking equanimity and seems like a Catch-22 situation. How to not crave for improving your vipassana? Haha..

6) What are these recent out of body experiences I have had?

This is definitely enough for now and if anyone has read this far I would be amazed. Any advice though would be very much appreciated! Thanks!

What i get from reading this in my view you must be very open from the start. Your experiencing the current in your body exciting your nervous system. That current is opening things up which is why your feeling pressures.

Your teacher i think told you to take it easy if it becomes to much because your already so open and ripe its hitting you right away and trying to open and clear out your system.

I don't know your goals or practice. What i see clearly from reading this is your open to spirit and she as in the feminine aspect is working her way in you.
American Trucker

milco

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2020, 10:32:06 AM »
Day 5 -  Feeling extremely calm, I had expected to go to bed and sleep super well but almost as soon as my head hit the pillow I began getting heart arrhythmias and chest pains. I had similar sort of symptoms 16 years before when I was 21 and over the course of two years was diagnosed with fibromyalgia of my heart tissue.

At lunch on Day 6 I asked the teacher about the unpleasant heart feelings and he explained that it was probably fairly normal (particularly given my history of the problem)

The people running the course have a basic 'duty of care' to you while you are participating in the sessions. If you have indicated to your instructor that you have been suffering from heart arrhythmias and chest pains during the course and you have a history of fibromyalgia of your heart tissue at the very least he should be suggesting that you seek immediate medial advice. I am horrified at way this has been shrugged off as some sort of 'normal reaction'.

Let's be clear: this is not normal and it is wholly inappropriate that your concerns have been brushed aside in this way.

I would walk away and have nothing further to do with with this outfit.

stillpointdancer

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2020, 11:13:01 AM »
Well said, milco. People who do not care about the welfare of people on a course they are running are not running a course worth following.
“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

dharma bum

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2020, 02:24:50 PM »
What I learnt from somebody I spoke with at a Goenka retreat is that the instructors and organizers operate out of a guide-book in which the response to requests from meditators are specified in order to bring about a uniformity. This often results in dangerous (IMO) responses to serious medical issues. Meditators are often urged to continue without regard to medical issues. Usually there is no doctor at the centres to evaluate and the organizers don't have any training.
Mostly ignorant

Siddharth

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2020, 03:31:12 PM »
What I learnt from somebody I spoke with at a Goenka retreat is that the instructors and organizers operate out of a guide-book in which the response to requests from meditators are specified in order to bring about a uniformity. This often results in dangerous (IMO) responses to serious medical issues. Meditators are often urged to continue without regard to medical issues. Usually there is no doctor at the centres to evaluate and the organizers don't have any training.

Yes, Goenka's system acts as if Goenkaji was the perfect master and the people organizing retreats are supposed to circle-jerk around what he considered a retreat should be. There seems to be a kind of fear in the teachers organizing the retreats to say anything which might contradict to the Geonka way... This makes those retreats rigid rather than flexible and they are definitely not for everyone, specially if someone encounters health issues.

I for one had a very positive experience in both the retreats I had, because I was fortunate to not have any significant issues, and my target was to learn a technique taught by goenkaji regardless of it being related to the vipassana that the buddha taught. (I thought I will figure out the merits and demerits of the technique on my own with experience). Currently, the way I meditate is simply relaxation and observation. I have not read any sutta and do not intend to dive deep into them anytime soon. Trying to minimize any stories that I might believe as being the path. Just trying to live awake and learn as I go along.

I also feel the original poster (tombaxers) is trying to chase/ craving for a particular type of sensation that they felt during the retreat and which faded away after some time. This is something even goenkaji warns about and is definitely not the right way to go about as far as I understand.
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

running

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2020, 04:21:39 PM »
What I learnt from somebody I spoke with at a Goenka retreat is that the instructors and organizers operate out of a guide-book in which the response to requests from meditators are specified in order to bring about a uniformity. This often results in dangerous (IMO) responses to serious medical issues. Meditators are often urged to continue without regard to medical issues. Usually there is no doctor at the centres to evaluate and the organizers don't have any training.



I also feel the original poster (tombaxers) is trying to chase/ craving for a particular type of sensation that they felt during the retreat and which faded away after some time. This is something even goenkaji warns about and is definitely not the right way to go about as far as I understand.

if somebody has a practice for the purpose of the mind becoming silent and in wanting the mind to be silent creates noise then perhaps it could be helpful to not focus on having a silent mind. Just let the mind be.

Bliss is no different. If in wanting it pushes it away then like silence just let it be.

Its realy hard to say what pushes it away or not. And then it changes. lol
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 04:23:14 PM by running »
American Trucker

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2020, 04:44:03 PM »
Quote
Yes, Goenka's system acts as if Goenkaji was the perfect master and the people organizing retreats are supposed to circle-jerk around what he considered a retreat should be. There seems to be a kind of fear in the teachers organizing the retreats to say anything which might contradict to the Geonka way... This makes those retreats rigid rather than flexible and they are definitely not for everyone, specially if someone encounters health issues.

They are trained to respond in specific ways. IMO the organizers and assistant instructors might not be especially suited for the jobs they do. There are power structures and politics within the organization. This might be true for all organizations including monasteries and in general, meditators should respond to their common sense rather than put their blind faith in either Goenka organizers or famous monks or even the Buddha. You can perhaps take a small amount of risk, but if there is some critical mental or physical health issue, you should get up and leave. No one can be held captive in any retreat. If you feel you are being coerced in any way, then it is a sign that you should leave.
Mostly ignorant

Siddharth

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2020, 07:36:34 PM »

if somebody has a practice for the purpose of the mind becoming silent and in wanting the mind to be silent creates noise then perhaps it could be helpful to not focus on having a silent mind. Just let the mind be.

Bliss is no different. If in wanting it pushes it away then like silence just let it be.

Its realy hard to say what pushes it away or not. And then it changes. lol

Desire/ craving/ attachments are ultimately a hindrance in mind's equanimity, yet we all (assuming there is no buddha "among us") suffer from them. What is something that we can do is become aware of these through practice (meditation being one of them) and conduct, and remove the attachments/cravings that we have not consciously chosen but have clung on to our being for one reason or another (mostly ignorance is the root cause) or at least manage them.

craving for a quiet mind/ bliss for me falls into that unnecessary basket.
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

Siddharth

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2020, 07:40:52 PM »

meditators should respond to their common sense rather than put their blind faith in either Goenka organizers or famous monks or even the Buddha. You can perhaps take a small amount of risk, but if there is some critical mental or physical health issue, you should get up and leave. No one can be held captive in any retreat. If you feel you are being coerced in any way, then it is a sign that you should leave.

Yes, that is why a rigid retreat like the Goenka ones can be counter-productive for many "aspirants" on the path.
The political part is there as in many other places, and there is not much we can do about it except keep our conscience clear and nurture places like this forum, which foster inclusivity and a voice to anyone contributing constructively.
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

running

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2020, 09:20:19 PM »

if somebody has a practice for the purpose of the mind becoming silent and in wanting the mind to be silent creates noise then perhaps it could be helpful to not focus on having a silent mind. Just let the mind be.

Bliss is no different. If in wanting it pushes it away then like silence just let it be.

Its realy hard to say what pushes it away or not. And then it changes. lol

Desire/ craving/ attachments are ultimately a hindrance in mind's equanimity, yet we all (assuming there is no buddha "among us") suffer from them. What is something that we can do is become aware of these through practice (meditation being one of them) and conduct, and remove the attachments/cravings that we have not consciously chosen but have clung on to our being for one reason or another (mostly ignorance is the root cause) or at least manage them.

craving for a quiet mind/ bliss for me falls into that unnecessary basket.

your speaking from the mind and emotional body. which is correct.

 speaking from bliss and silence beyond the process to causeless and endless. not correct. due to the nature of the divine.

The process goes glimpses of. Moments of. Minutes of. Periods of time. To causeless and endless irrespective to what is. In experiencing one becomes more open. The more one experiences the more one becomes absorbed in that. At which at one point. Thats it. Causeless. Endless. Irrespective to circumstances. Ideas of the mind. And emotions. Simply because the divine supercedes and out powers everything.
American Trucker

tombaxers

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Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #12 on: Today at 05:17:16 AM »
Thanks everyone for their replies.

To clarify a few matters:

- I do feel I benefited greatly from the course. Afterwards, I felt (and continue to feel) less anxious/ stressed about many aspects of my life. Some auto-immune problems I have (similar to arthritis and CFS) dissipated throughout the course and by the end were almost completely gone and two months later remain background noise instead of affecting many aspects of my life as they had before. I am less prone to procrastination generally find myself to be able to focus longer and deeper on tasks at hand. I could go on, but in summary I feel very positive of the outcome from the course, which is one of the reasons why I endeavour to continue practising regardless of the gross sensations I have been feeling. I realise these benefits I mention above are a by-product of the technique and not something I should be focusing on and I will try to ensure in my continued practice I dont crave these benefits and focus more on the path of purifying the mind.

- Some posters suggested I have been adversely psychologically affected and even traumatised by the course. I don't believe this is the case. After episodes of these gross sensations during meditation there is more often than not only the feeling of release and calmness, which might equate to the ability to relive and therefore cognitively interpret past traumas at an unconscious level. After all many psychotherapeutic techniques fundamentally revolve around allowing the patient to relive, understand and interpret experiences they have suppressed (which doesn't seem so different from the release of deep rooted Sankharas does it?). I am extremely fortunate in so much that I have never been a depressed person and I don't knowingly have any deep routed traumas causing me self-harm - from this life at least.

I realise one is not supposed to interpret any visuals during these meditations and the assistant teacher told me it was just the mind venting, but on three separate occasions during the 10 days I had a clear image of being on some sort of battlefield looking down at a pile of bodies with the uppermost body head thrown back and a spear shoved through the neck and out again through the face. So after experiencing the intense facial distortions and my neck being pulled back during meditation it was hard not to try and make 2 and 2 equal 4 and interpret my gross experience as some past life trauma of either being the killer or being speared in the face... Either way, interpreting this or not, my point is that if these gross feelings I am experiencing are indeed the physical manifestation of past traumas/ deep rooted Sankharas could these meditations (if not pushed to extremes) actually encouraging healthy psychological release instead of causing me trauma has has been postulated?

- I would like to add that my discussion with the assistant teacher after the heart arrhythmia episode I experienced was a lot longer and more thorough than I wrote above. He encouraged me to seek medical help if I deemed it necesary based on my passed experiences of the same issue. I dealt with similar issues for nearly 3 years in my 20s; I am relatively fit and I know from a recent medical that my heart should be healthy so it was my decision to stay and not seek medical advice, not his. He merely suggested that it is not uncommon for people to experience some unusual (and sometimes uncomfortable) temporary disruptions to the homeostatic nervous system after the release of deep sankharas and that given the sorts of meditations I had experienced the day before this was likely the cause. I didn't feel coerced in any way to stay on the course.

Finally, Siddharth suggested I was craving the return of a particular type of sensation. This is probably somewhat true. I equated the sensations of the pressure behind the nose and forehead as being able to give me the ability to achieve clear states of free flow and internal clarity as I had in the middle of the course. Having lost these I definitely felt I was unable to meditate so deeply (and potentially effectively). It is therefore hard not to crave for their return, but thank you for pointing this out, it is definitely something I need to try and work on!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am really looking for some guidance/ the sharing of information/ suggestions of reading etc...  from people who have experienced anything similar or simply have a lot more meditation time under their proverbial belt. My Vipassana experience so far has been quite the baptism of fire (and I dont mean that negatively) and I would like to understand as much as possible as I continue to practice. Thanks again!
« Last Edit: Today at 05:21:58 AM by tombaxers »

Siddharth

  • Staff
    • unlearning, relearning and letting go
Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #13 on: Today at 10:15:59 AM »

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am really looking for some guidance/ the sharing of information/ suggestions of reading etc...  from people who have experienced anything similar or simply have a lot more meditation time under their proverbial belt. My Vipassana experience so far has been quite the baptism of fire (and I dont mean that negatively) and I would like to understand as much as possible as I continue to practice. Thanks again!

My introduction to vipassana meditation, like many others was through geonkaji's retreats. and for the better I would say after around 5 years. I would only advice you to let go of unnecessary rigidity in your practise which can be counter productive, while making sure you are not being lazy in it. consistent practice of even 20 minutes a day for your well being can go a long way.

I think currently you are somewhat taken by the overwhelming experience that one might have in the beginning. be mindful that most of the meditation practise is not going to be like that. It will most likely be boring, with random thoughts coming and going. (at least that has been my and a lot of meditator's experience here). you can fall very quickly into being discouraged because your "depth" of meditation is not as it was. that craving can lead to adverse effects. the same happens with crystal meth junkies. the first high is so overwhelming that they keep on using in search of the initial high, which never comes again, but takes away everything they had to begin with.

Whatever resources for meditation, form of practise you choose, do not let your prior experiences make you crave for any particular sensation or state of mind. otherwise progress will be hard. I think this much is clarified even by goenka in his lectures.

Bottomline : meditation good, craving for particular results out of meditation bad.

best of luck,
Siddharth
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

Siddharth

  • Staff
    • unlearning, relearning and letting go
Re: Advice Please: Extremely intense Sankhara release?
« Reply #14 on: Today at 10:23:06 AM »

if somebody has a practice for the purpose of the mind becoming silent and in wanting the mind to be silent creates noise then perhaps it could be helpful to not focus on having a silent mind. Just let the mind be.

Bliss is no different. If in wanting it pushes it away then like silence just let it be.

Its realy hard to say what pushes it away or not. And then it changes. lol

Desire/ craving/ attachments are ultimately a hindrance in mind's equanimity, yet we all (assuming there is no buddha "among us") suffer from them. What is something that we can do is become aware of these through practice (meditation being one of them) and conduct, and remove the attachments/cravings that we have not consciously chosen but have clung on to our being for one reason or another (mostly ignorance is the root cause) or at least manage them.

craving for a quiet mind/ bliss for me falls into that unnecessary basket.

your speaking from the mind and emotional body. which is correct.

 speaking from bliss and silence beyond the process to causeless and endless. not correct. due to the nature of the divine.

The process goes glimpses of. Moments of. Minutes of. Periods of time. To causeless and endless irrespective to what is. In experiencing one becomes more open. The more one experiences the more one becomes absorbed in that. At which at one point. Thats it. Causeless. Endless. Irrespective to circumstances. Ideas of the mind. And emotions. Simply because the divine supercedes and out powers everything.

I feel much about the glimpses of "divinity" that you talk about. yet I personally have felt that putting that experience on pedestial or extrapolating that experience magnifying over time into "causeless.endless", creates unnecessary ideas in mind and hinders practise which a lot of time is just dealing with the cloud of thoughts etc.
Currently I consider those experiences that you talk about as just another experience in my meditation journey, and not claim any divinity in them. Just to be clear, the practise as a whole has been much beneficial in my life, but I refrain from singling out any particular experience from the whole of it.

Much love,
Siddharth
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

 

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