Author Topic: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana  (Read 12162 times)

guille

Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« on: September 18, 2010, 08:26:49 PM »
Hello to everyone!

I have been searching for interpretations, methods and knowledges about vipassana meditation and other schools since some years ago, because of some experiencies I had in two SN Goenka courses, but I still have lot of doubts, I found this forum two weeks ago and have read some topics, and finally I decided to ask for help in order to understand what happened to me:

(I apologize for my english, probabily there are many mistakes, and also for the length of the text, maybe is too much description, but I decided to write it in the closest way to what happened, take a long breath before reading it  ;))

I am a biologist and always being interested in nature and existence, the way the universe funcions and similar questions, but in a scientific way.
I did my first vipassana course in December 2006, in Barcelona, recomended by my ex-girlfriend, with the Goenka method, before it I had just a little knowledge of what meditation and vipassana were, having done yoga weekly for one year but didn't discover anything but phisical reactions like muscular toning.

The first day I suffered the tipical pain and discomfort of not being used to stay so mamy hours sit, and asking myself for what and why I had got into this extrange course. In the second day, in the first hour of the morning, I was becoming a bit desperate because of the discomfort and pain, but after the pause, when sit for the second hour, I decided to stay as straight as I could and not to move any part of my body, the chant help me to concentrate and soon I was filling better my nostrils. Then I started to force a bit my respiration as it is said in the instructions if you cannot feel well the air coming and going away. But I didn't stop this forcing, and it happened as if my nostrils were growing for moments. I was very concentrate in them and in the chant, until I begun to feel as if my body was changing size, becoming very tiny and pulsing, then I feel myself just as heartbeats for some seconds and finished in a state in which I could only feel two tiny points of my nostrils where the air pass and nothing else. It was like being nowhere, just hearing the chant and this small holes. I was suddenly scared with the sensation, but tried to keep it. I think I stood some minutes more like this until the class finished. I went to the garden feeling very happy, I thought I have reach an important step in the meditation course. I felt a lot of energy and good feeling, also when getting the breakfast it semt to me delicious, I could feel much better the flavour of everything.

So in the next sitting I try to reach the same state, I forced my respiration and this allow me to concentrate well - Now I know I was silly and doing a big mistake, but not then, I was so happy with the feeling after this tate that I couldn't realize I was making something wrong -, althought I didn't reach exactly the same thing I got into this sensation of being nothing but two tiny holes, and also when finishing feeling so good. I continued doing in this way for one day more, not feeling this "nowhere" any more but concentrating quite well. I was amazed with some happenings: my sight was improving (I wear glasses since 9 and being highly myopic), I could coordinate much better my movements, some pains I had for long time in my back dissapeared, and althought I couldn't sleep last night I wasn't tired at all. I have to mark that since the second day I talked with the teacher in the hour after the meal and some days also in the evening. I tried to explain her what happened to me, but she just told me to concentrate in the nostrils and the skin round them. Is true that everything was new for me and I wasn't able to explain it, but also she didn't try to understand in other way than following the technique.

During the day I was ok but when the night arrived I couldn't sleep at all. The fourth day I was getting scare with this, also I didn't sleep this night and the fifth day I was very nervous, almost crying, but not tired. I decided to talk in private with the teacher and explain her everything. She decided that I was too nervous for continuate and that was better for me to stop the course, but I was filling really bad with the idea of going directly to the city in such state, so she offered me to stay one night with a friend of her and when I was more calm turning back home. I tried to pay some money for the days I passed but she didn't let me doing it since I didn't finished the course.

Finally I met her friend, he had been practising vipassana for many years, also his housemates. They were very welcoming and friendly, I was filling better everyday and finally stood six days in their home, until my girlfriend finished the course and we both turn back to the city. These days with the teacher's friends I felt a lot of energy - I ran faster than never in my life - and creativity, also many emotions were arising and sometimes I cried, thinking in so many people live and die everyday in the earth in terrible conditions and don't have an opportunity like this to discover what was inside them. When turning back to Madrid I was very excited and happy, telling everyone to make the course, but my friends look at me as if I had become mad. I tried to meditate everyday and I got it for one month, but later I loosed the practice. Anyway my mind have suffered a big change with the course, even if it finished in a bad way, and I was more calm and optimist than before doing it. Now I think that I felt so much energy because of forcing my respiration, like in pranayama or other respiration techniques, but I still not knowing what this "nowhering state" was. I begun to search information about it and got interested in other meditation techniques, but not reach to practice anyone.

I call the center after five months to ask for another course, but they denied it to me and said that was better waiting one year, so in January 2008 I ask again and I went to the second one.

The first day the teacher had an interview with me and speak about what happened one year ago. This time I knew I shoudn't force my respiration, and everything semt ok until the seventh day. I think that it happened in an afternoon session when I began to feel a strange, small ball of vibrations inside my head, very disturbing. It didn't dissapear after some time and I tried to ignore it but it continued "bubbling". I discovered that if I put my attention in my knee, for example, the ball moved after traveling inside my body. It was less disturbing but didn't dissapeared though. After having it some time again in my head I managed, I don't know how, to observe and concentrate on it and finallay it became bigger and bigger and dissapeared, then I felt a long cascade of extremely good sensations, which I believed where the ones you usually feel after getting rid of a shankara, as Goenka says in his talkings. The session finished and when I went to the garden I realized that my sight was much better, as it happened in the first course. After that we entered to another session, I felt my mind very clear then I it was very easy to concentrate. After some minutes, another vibration appeared, but it wasn't a ball but a point between my eyebrows. I thought it was another shankara so tried to observe it with ecuanimity. It didn't stop vibrating neither when the session finished not when I went bed, feeling it disturbing. I dreamt a lot this night.

Next day the vibration continued, and for the evening it became not a point but a larger stream that moved and rolled to the point I was directing my attention, but always keeping its center between my eyebrows - Now I know it was my third eye opening, but didn't know anything about it then -. A strange thing was that if the vibration passed over my eyes I saw people moving like in fast motion and was able to focus on many things at the same time, for example when eating I could pay a lot of attention and keep any detail of what were making and eating three or four guys in my sight field at the same moment. I talked with the teacher and asked him what was happening, he answered me just to observe. The vibration never stopped and the day in which the silence is broken and everyone speaks I told what happened to me with the "shankara" to some students, then one told me that it was my third eye, the sixth chakra, which was oppened. "Fine!" - I thought, "but how can I used it?". He said not to worry and just observe, and it will close in some time. Also one girl told me that it was a chakra that have been opened. I had read some little information about chakras before, but I didn't know how to manage them. I was relieved with his explanation, but in the sessions after the meal the vibration stream became a wheel, like a tiny motor rolling fast. Then it happened to me that when I was sitting with my eyes closed I saw lots of faces appearing. Hundreds of them like flashes, mostly from men, but some women also. Some of them were normal at the beginig what became evil, with an scaring smile, or rotten, their eyes falling and the flesh dissapearing in fastmotion, as a cartoon. I saw my own face getting like this a few times, like dieing.

I was worried and disturbed with this weird thing, every time I closed my eyes the faces appeared. It was like seeing thousands of images in a computer, like fast frames in videoart. I went to the bathroom and drink some water. I closed my eyes there and didn't see the faces but I realized that I could see a blur image of my hand when looking - with closed eyes - at it, I could see it opening and closing while I moved it. I saw it in grey tones, like an ecography or something similar. I was amazed but worried, I didn't understand anything. I begun to think that the third eye was working like a signal decodifier, a TV, taking vibrations and energies from people and things and putting images in my brain. When the sessions where finished and we went bed, the faces still appearing, now even with my eyes opened I continued seeing them, also some beatiful images of girl eyes. I thought that the source which produced them were the other students vibrations so I decided to get a walk in the garden.

Everyone was in the bedroom but me; I sat in a bench and later lay on it. Then while thinking and looking to the stars I begun to feel three more wheels like the third eye starting to roll inside my body, located near to my belly and chest. I realized they were more chakras opening, and althought happy in some way, I wished they stop soon and I could sleep. They didn't stop and then I decided to sleep in the garden, I took the cover and the pillow and put it on some wooden surface. I lay there, feeling the chakras rolling, even more were opening, six in total, and also feeling a pulsing vibration in my hands. Then I notticed a itch in the top of my head, and at the same time, a change in the colors of the sky and a sudden quick fall of conscience, and then coming back to normal state. I felt it again and then I became really scared. I thought that if my seventh chakra was oppened there, after seeing all the stuff with the faces, it could be too much for my brain and I could got crazy or death. So I went to the room, put back the cover and dress with the jacket, and I decided to went away from the center.

It was aproximately half past twelve in the night. I climb the entrance fence and went to walk to the forest and village near the center. The itch stopped, but the wheels continued moving. I try to run throuhg the tracks, and I ran, as happened tom me the days after the other course, incredibily fast. Also I felt stronger. After some runs I stopped, and walk into the forest. There I touched some trees and branches and felt a pulsing vibration from them. Also from the soil I felt some kind of itching and vibration in my feet, which didn't stop but was continue, just when I was walking on a concrete road it was lower. I went into a part of the forest and closed my eyes, and instead of the faces I saw leafs falling from a tree and a blackberry plant growing, and I was very happy with this contact with nature. However, I wanted to stop the rolling wheels and I thought that if I ran a lot maybe I could got it. So I ran up and down through the tracks, and finally lay down, now really tired, but the chakras didn't stop. After a while I went back to the center, got a shower and went bed, but didn't sleep at all. Next day I had a big headache, and all the chakras but the sixth were closed. I couldn't focus anything and was nervous. I decided not to tell the teacher what happened, of course nothing about that I went out from the center, being sure he would tell me: "just observe" and "that's forbidden".

I stayed some hours in the center talking with other students, and helping with the fixing of a tree. I met also my friends from last course, the ones who welcomed me in their home, and I told one of them that my third eye was open, but he just said to me that some shankaras are hard to dissapear. I decided not to go with them this time in order to not disturb them with my state. In the evening I came back to Barcelona, where I would go to my cousin's home.

Until I met her I passed the day in the city, always with my third eye rolling, and it was and awful experience. I was extremely sensitive to any stimulus, all the sounds and people bothered me, and also when I took my mobile phone or used an electronic devicee, as the ticketsellers in the metro, I felt like a current making my chakra rolling faster, also rising my pain in the forehead. Summarizing, after this day I pass some more in Barcelona, more calm and trying to understand, and then turn back to Madrid. The third eye was closed by night and when waking up I felt another lower chakra, which become higher during the day, until five or six days after finishing the course that they were totally closed. I talked with a yoga teacher who said to me that with anapana sometimes the third eye can be opened.

Since then I have been reading books and articles about chakras and meditation, but still not knowing well what were the meanings of the faces and other things that happened to me. I have been in a state of curiosity about trying another course or method mix with a sensation of warning and fear of opening again something which I am not able to manage. I meditate some days, but just for small periods. I read here trying to meditate every day in the morning and night just twenty minutes or a bit more, not focusing only in the respiration but in the whole body. I will try it, and also I will be glad with any help you can tell me about the interpretation of my experiences and suggesting techniques or courses other than Goenka's vipassana courses. I am thinking of doing a voluntary server course, but not and old student one. I think they are too strict and focused on their technique for my taste, not accepting anything that goes a bit away of it and not knowing how to help you managing things during the course, apart from saying you to observ with ecuanimity, which is very difficult when you are such in a weird state for the first time. However, they were, the teacher and her friends, really polite and kind, and I feel thankful to them.
Anyway, I think I need another way of meditation.
 
Thanks you a lot for reading all this!!!

Kind regards,

Guille

mik1e

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2010, 10:49:39 PM »
Ok, guy, you've written a big text which can be referred to. Can you now write down your question(s) in 1-3 simple sentences? E.g. "I am looking for the meditation technique which will make me able to..." or "I don't want to have during meditation such sensations as...", or something like this.

Just several simple and short sentences :)  .

guille

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2010, 11:12:40 PM »
Thanks for answering!

You're right, now I realize what a big brick I have written - I think I needed to put all out after so much time inside -, but not specific questions:

Has happened to anyone that his/her third eye or other chakras were open during a vippasana meditation?

Any technique or school were I can learn more about them? I know vippasana is not chakra meditation, but I think there could be a link between them. 

Is there any references to chakras in the buddhists texts?

Does someone know what is the meaning of seeing hundreds of faces while the third eye is open, some of them, including myself one, becoming rotten or evil?








Morning Dew

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2010, 06:55:14 AM »
Cling to nothig in meditation. The one which needs conceptualising is your conditioned ego self. Do not be fooled that this is you my friend :)
How do you define third eye? Is it something that someone mentiones and then you and i believe in it and repeat the same words like parrots? Or is it something else something which can not be put in words which is actual?

Leave suttas in peace and keep sitting in calm abiding without fabricating a thing. F... the 3rd eye ;)

Remain relaxed :)
Quote
Does someone know what is the meaning of seeing hundreds of faces while the third eye is open, some of them, including myself one, becoming rotten or evil?
Yes the meaning is that you are clinging to it trying to give it meaning :)
Drop it and see it as it is without getting attached to it and it will vanish on its own.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2010, 07:01:38 AM by Morning Dew »

mik1e

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2010, 02:20:40 PM »
Has happened to anyone that his/her third eye or other chakras were open during a vippasana meditation?
Some strange or unusual sensations in different centers is one of common results of activation of energy flow. The strength of sensations depends from many causes. Usual recommendation -- do not care about these effects and let them go, because this is not the goal of vipassana.
Any technique or school were I can learn more about them? I know vippasana is not chakra meditation, but I think there could be a link between them.  

Just google for it. You'll find tons of references :). But if you really want to work with centers -- start from straightening your backbone (Flat Back - Why Is It Important?) Physiology underlines all energetic phenomena.

Is there any references to chakras in the buddhists texts?

Yes, mainly in Tantras. But studying Tantras needs personal teaching by advanced practitioner (in this case -- Buddhist lama, who has practiced specific Tantra for a long time). Just reading texts and comments will be misleading for a novice.

Does someone know what is the meaning of seeing hundreds of faces while the third eye is open, some of them, including myself one, becoming rotten or evil?

Actually, nothing. Really this may mean something (e.g., recalling some information from previous lives), but to understand this meaning, you have to be an advanced seer. If you are not (and you are not if you ask such questions :)) it's better just ignore this, because most of all this is just an effect of irritation of the center due to more active flow of energy through it. Actually, this is one of side effects of center cleaning.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2010, 02:23:33 PM by mik1e »

Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2010, 09:25:02 PM »
Hello Guille,

Thank you for your long and personal story. I suppose it takes courage or despair to write all this.

There is one thing to which I can give a clear reaction I think: The seeing of faces, "some normal at the beginning and then becoming evil, with an scaring smile, or rotten, their eyes falling and the flesh dissapearing in fast motion, as a cartoon. I saw my own face getting like this a few times, like dying."
It reminds me of images that I saw and bodily feelings I had. My teacher told, that according to buddhism, one goes through seven different cleaning processes when one meditates. The six' one is called the "phase of rolling up the mats" in Birma. That is the one with such images. They will pass. (Rolling up the mat is taking your sleeping mat and leaving the cloister, going home and stoppping the meditation.)
Of course it takes trust. And I must say, it is comforting and reassuring, when a teacher can indicate, that he or she knows exactly what you are going through, and has been there.

With chackra's I do not have such strong experiences. Mild ones, yes. I am convinced, that knowledge about the chackra's and about the kundalini experience (as described by Lee Sannella in the book of that name) can help to understand what one has experienced in meditations.

All the best to you,

Quardamon

rideforever

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2010, 09:37:25 PM »
I would say, something incredible is happening with you, so look after your self.

If you need to take some time away from work and family and go into a spiritual centre - monastery / ashram / community, then that might be a good idea.  Many places you can just call them up and walk in, and you work 6 hours a day - people there will be able to understand you, and not pressure you like in normal society, and you can have some relaxing time to allow your experiences to unfold without any pressure.  And you can relax, and just work in a relaxing environment and let the change pass through you.

Thank you for writing your experience.

guille

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2010, 11:18:49 PM »
Thank you all very much for your answers!!

Is very helpful for me reading them, and seeing that you understand what I'm saying.

Is true that many times I try to analyse too much and obtain the explanation of everything, and probabily is better just to accept it and continuing the meditation, I think is a deformation of so many years of seeing things as a western scientific :) but I think that before practicing more in a deep and intense way I need, as Quardamon and mik1e said, someone, a teacher or old practitioner, guiding me in some paths.

I have thought some times to leave all my "normal" city life for a few months and stay in a centre, something inside me says is the best I can do, but the attachments, responsabilities and fears of city life are very strong too, so I'm fighting with myself in this point. I don't have direct references, I will search more and look for one that suits me, maybe Tantrism, since it works with chakras and I seem sensitive with them.
Also I like the way of living yo say rideforever, working some hours and meditating, better for me than beginning with such and intense meditation as vipassana ten days course, can you recomend me someone?
I will look also for Lee Sannella's book; and is nice knowing an interpretation of what the faces were! 

Thanks again, I will try little by little meditating everyday while I search for a centre or teacher and if I am
strong enough in sometime to win my fears, take the determination of going to him or there.

Wish you having nice days!

Morning Dew

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2010, 08:52:42 AM »
Quote
Is true that many times I try to analyse too much and obtain the explanation of everything, and probabily is better just to accept it and continuing the meditation,

Yes :) wise words my friend :)

mik1e

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2010, 11:28:47 AM »
Guille,

You said that you are a biologist and try to explain things in scientific way.

I am interested in making contacts with professional biologists and physicists who are also practitioners. One of my final goals is to make the scientific model describing the processes starting from gene expression and up to subtle phenomena (chakras, acupuncture channels, subtle bodies, etc.) I've tried to create here the thread for discussing such things, but it died very quickly :(






guille

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2010, 12:31:51 PM »
Nice!
let's recuperate it,
although maybe it is not useful for the practice itself, I think it is very interesting and can be good for understanding the processes.
 
When my chakras were open, and the days after, I was thinking how they work and to which organs are they link. I also talked with one
phisic, friend of my cousin, while I still have some of them rolling. He was very surprised with my explanations of what I was filling, and we tried
a little experiment:

usually during the day, while the chakra was rolling - sometimes it was the fifth one, other the fourth or lower -, I could feel an itching in one of my hands and in one foot, it wasn't continue but I was feeling it for some seconds in the hand, then I felt the chakra rolling a bit faster, then the itch in the foot and the chakra rolling slower. This was repeated on this way continouisly, so I interpretate that my hands and feet were acting as "energy collectors" and later this energy was taked by the chakra, which if I am not wrong, in someway can be described as a biological electromagnetic engine - actually any living being produces electromagnetic fields -, using it for a short while and leaving it. So we decided to put an aluminium layer - just the one used in kitchen - covering first my hand and later my foot. With the hand I felt no change, but when put over my foot, after sometime I could feel the itching was rising, which meant that the hand was the receiver and the foot the exit of energy. Then I asked him if he knew any device able to measure electromagnetic activity in the body, in order to registrate the chakra activitie, but he didn't know of any.

uh, I have to go now, will continue later.

mik1e

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2010, 01:53:41 PM »
Yes, our physical body definitely generates electromagnetic waves in quite wide band (from less than 1 Hz to ultraviolet). In 80-s in former Soviet Union Guljaev and Godik provided detailed studies of the fields, generated by psychics  (see, e.g., Functional mapping of dynamic biomedical images). They have got a lot of interesting data, but have drawn almost no practically useful information form the results obtained. I think this is because they studied the phenomena strictly from the "scientific" point of view and any mention about existence of "subtle" phenomena was strictly prohibited. This may explain their failure.

Many experiments have shown that electromagnetic waves are not the main agent in subtle phenomena. E.g., experiments on telepathy and distance healing allow to exclude the electromagnetic channel of information transfer. From my personal experience I can say that when I guide the practice via Skype, I can feel the state of the person who sits several hundred or even several thousand kilometers away. Of course, the contact is not as good as when I sit in the same room with the person, but it still exists. And having visual contact makes the connection better.

So, modern technical means allow to investigate subtle processes on the levels which were unimaginable 2500, 100 or even 30 years ago, but there should be those who can use these means properly.

Regarding your sensations in hands and feet.

It seems that you are talking about the muscle channels connected to Svadhisthana (I prefer to name centers by their Indian names, not by numbers). When the center becomes more active, energy flow along the channels, passing through it, increases, and this may cause different sensations along the path of the channels and in their terminal points or areas (say, in the centers of palms).

Do you have the possibility to organize rigorous investigation of these phenomena? Or you can only experiment at home? It would be very nice to make some scientific researches and publish the results in a peer reviewed journal.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 02:03:50 PM by mik1e »

rideforever

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2010, 08:14:54 PM »
Here are some centres :

Intentional Communities ( many in Spain/Portugal )
http://directory.ic.org/maps/

Wwoofing Communities - Many in Spain
http://ruralvolunteers.org/WHOSTS/

Findhorn Erraid - Scotland
http://www.erraid.fslife.co.uk/

Osho Centres (tantra) :  Italy / Greece / India / UK
http://www.oshomiasto.it/
http://www.oshoafroz.com/
http://www.dhyanleela.com/gurudev.htm
http://www.croydonhall.co.uk/holistic/programme.html
http://www.osholeela.co.uk/

Sivananda Vedanta Centre (yoga) - Paris / India
http://www.sivananda.org/orleans/en/index2.htm
http://www.sivananda.org/ndam/

Morning Dew

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2010, 09:07:50 PM »
Here are some other interesting centres;
Your living room . Com
Your toilet . Com
Your garage . Org
Your bedroom . org . uk

And my favorite in the summer is
Your balcony . Inc
 ;)
Stay relaxed  :D

guille

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2010, 09:42:28 PM »
I cannot do any research since I haven't equipment at all, but maybe with my cousin's friend, if he has acces to any phisics laboratory,
then could be possible develop something. I work as environmental educator and in agroecology, so nothing related to meditation/subtle procceses fields, and don't know personnally anyone working in neuroscience or neurobiology, which would be practical for such investigation...
I imagine that in India or other countries which are closer to this fields should exist studies, but I don't know anyone too.
Let's think about all this and search a way by it could be done.

Thanks rideforever and Morning Dew!

I try often to meditate in my house, also in a park that is near here, but is really dificult for me staying more than ten or twenty minutes, and just a few days per week, also too much things bubbling in my head with this city life, I think that going to a centre with quiet conditions and not so many things to worry about, would be fine for improving my meditation, and then trying to do it regularly at home.
I will chek the webpages of the centres.


kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2010, 10:45:05 PM »
Quote
Quote from Guile
Does someone know what is the meaning of seeing hundreds of faces while the third eye is open, some of them, including myself one, becoming rotten or evil?

Quote from Morning Dew
Yes the meaning is that you are clinging to it trying to give it meaning  :)

Ha. Its funny because its true.  :) And I totally do it too. We all do it, and its best to acknowledge it as much as possible! As for the visual experiences you had, there was an earlier thread where this came up. You can click here for a link to the thread. Here's a post that I made in that thread:

Quote
It turns out that on my last two retreats (Goenka), I also started being "bombarded" with vivid images of the sort you describe:

Quote
Quote from Lokuttara
Animals moving under a tree, jumping across something. Various types of strange four legged animals that I couldn't make out. Some seemed to be in the trees, swinging out of them. This one occurred in green monochrome.
- A cliff face, which I zoomed into, and saw a house on the cliff. Then I was hovering around the house, the gates, the doors. Lots of big walls and doors. Then seemed to be in the interior, looking at different rooms, then I was floating around inside through doors which opened for me into different parts
- Circles of shapes spinning around, they seemed to be like diamonds with eyes in the middle. Spinning rapidly and making patterns, with circular layers

The visions for me are also quite diverse: weird stuff that I can't quite place (kind of like those photographs taken from an unlikely angle), sexual images, disgusting images, peaceful images, beautiful scenes, neutral stuff...you name it. All coming and going like waves.

So, you ask:
Quote
Quote from Lokuttara
if it means anything, and if any of you have used visions to help you in some way. Or are they totally useless and a distraction to serious meditation?

I can't say for sure whether our experiences are akin, but I'm happy to share my intepretation.

For one, I think all experiences on the cushion are helpful, even those that I am choosing not to give attention (for the time being). For example, when I'm cultivating Samadhi, I don't find it skillful to examine my thoughts and study the stories my mind likes to tell. I'm certainly not bothered by these thoughts. If anything, I think its good for me to have those thoughts arise because this is how the purification process works: the thoughts arise, I don't get carried away by them, and thus they die away. And its skillful to not pay (too much) attention to these thoughts because it allows me to cultivate a deep state of one-pointedness and quiet tranquility.

But does this mean that I should NEVER try to directly and purposefully observe my thoughts? Heck no. This is pretty much where I diverge from Goenka's style of vipassana. Bodily sensation is an awesome entry-point for mindfulness, and I think it deepens my awareness of the intimate connection between thought, awareness and sensation (as unprevadedrapture put it: "influence of mind on matter"). But at some point, I think it is incredibly important to turn one's attention directly and thoroughly to the other "foundations" of mindfulness, especially thinking. I have found that this is fertile territory for cultivating insight into anatta. But when is the "right" time to practice mindfulness of thinking? Precisely when your concentration is sharp enough, and the quality of your awareness is gentle and equanimous enough that you can see into a thought without inadvertently fueling it or being carried away by the process of identification.

With all that said, I think it pretty much works the same with these visions. They are simply new fabrications that my unconscious mind is generating once I have largely stilled ordinary "thought."  At some point, I suppose that it may be fruitful to really turn my awareness directly to these visions, and I'm pretty confident that I'll know when the time comes (assuming they're still around). However, for the time being, I'm letting these visions run in the "background" while I refine my awareness of vedana and deepen my concentration and equanimity. This just feels most skillful to me. And as with thoughts, it feels like I'm being somehow "purified" as the visions arise but then die because they have no place to land.

Hope you find these somewhat rambling thoughts helpful.  Metta!

May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

guille

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2010, 05:29:15 PM »
Yeah, in some way I know I shouldn't cling on this past sensations, but it always comes out to my mind a message (my ego) telling me that learning to interpretate and manage "the third eye" is very important, and is very hard not to believe it.
I have read part of the thread, thanks kidnovice, but I see a difference between this cases and mine, and is that the images I saw (mostly faces) appeared just when the third eye was open and rolling, not in any other moment during the meditation, so I think it works as a switch, and also I saw the faces inside the meditation hall in company of the other students, but not when being in the forest, so I am still doubting if the images where coming up from myself or from the people outside.
Well, surely I am giving too much importance to this fact, a lot of time used for speculating theories, but I will continue with the search for the moment, cannot resist it :)
in the other hand, little by little I am getting use to do a short meditation when waking up and before sleeping, let's see if I can keep it...
 

Morning Dew

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2010, 06:15:29 PM »
You will be fine my friend :)
Just keep sitting without focusinng on anything, keep your eye balls still as well as all your body. Feel the frustration raising but keep calming ur body ( eye balls being part of the whole body)
Be gentle with ur self and force nothing. Aim small miss small. Take it easy. You will impress no one if you sit 3 times 1 hour. Listen to ur body and do not be fooled that these thoughts are you or that they have any message for u or others :)

As Matthew likes to say Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) ;)

You are doing grear!

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: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2010, 09:39:17 PM »
guille,

What do you mean by "Vipassana meditation"?

Welcome,

In the Dhamma,

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

guille

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2010, 02:34:34 PM »
Thanks for the recomendations Morning Dew, when I meditate for a few minutes I just observe my body, thoughts (I usually cling sometime on them) and the sounds for the outside. I have no problems like on the course but I feel too no progress, but now that I begin to do it daily I will try to achieve a lot of patience and continue on this way.

Matthew,

by Vipassana meditation I mean just the subjetive knowledge I have from it, which is very limited since it is just what I have learned in two (one unfinished) Goenka's courses (observe the reallity as it is - purifying the mind), and I can described it as the auto observing of the sensations and thoughts of my body and mind, appearing and going, and without clinging or rejecting them, following the technic of the "body ring scanner" of the subtle sensations and the arising of sankharas. And this only done after six days of course though, in a context of sila, shamadi and panna.

For me the rest of the time I have been meditating for short whiles is not vipassana but anapana when observing respiration or other thechnic I don't know when observing the whole body. Sometimes when I go to the mountains just sit there listening the wind or the river, which I found good but not think in it as vipassana.

If I am not wrong, I read and heard from others that Goenka teachs just a part of Buddha technics and teachings, which are far much more complex. At the moment I have some notions of them but I get lost easy with the concepts and names, so probabily I have a chaotic mix of ideas and technics of what vipassana is :)

     

Morning Dew

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2010, 04:14:25 PM »
A door is just a word not the door itself ;)
The same can be applied to vipassana in my opinion.

Quote
If I am not wrong, I read and heard from others that Goenka teachs just a part of Buddha technics and teachings, which are far much more complex. At the moment I have some notions of them but I get lost easy with the concepts and names, so probabily I have a chaotic mix of ideas and technics of what vipassana is 

I am not a buddhist scholar but from what i understand it is actualy the oposite. I feel Buddha thought others not to try to make an elephant out of a mouse and just sit without giving importance to anything but calming the body. In my opinion our body can heal it self if ego is silenced.
If you open your eyes you will realise that when you cut ur self the body heals the wound. Try to heal this wound with your ego instead ;)
The same applies with the ego self. Let the body do the healing, calm ur body and do nothing. Forgett about focusing, developing concentration, enlightenment and all other ego crap wanting sh.t :)
I care very little to what "holy books" say. I feel that there is no truth. Cause if there is we are aytomaticly creating a Lie ;)
Just sit and let it be my friend. 

guille

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2010, 04:04:33 PM »
Yes, is true that too much information is not always good (actually maybe is never good),
more if one don't know how to manage it, and sometimes I imagine that the best book and master is sitting in the middle of nature - forest, sea, etc. - and just stay quite and without thinking or hoping anything.
But how to do it for a looooong time, I mean, for example two weeks continuosly, in order to improve?
It can be done, but it seems much easier going to a centre with other meditators,
a teacher that guide the experience and the books for studing, like being in a spiritual university.
I think that with time and practice my thirst of knowledge will fade, and then I would be able just to stay there, with no wish of anything.

Actually when meditating, usually, apart from the thoughts about dairy life, I don't think in enlightment or achieving any concentration state
(althought I did it while being at the course), it's while I am not meditating (which is almost all the day, sometimes I try not to think and just observe respiration or movement while walking to work or in the underground, but they are very short moments) that I usually cling a lot in the ideas of get enlighted or learning to manage in the future the third eye... and althought knowing it's useless I still doing it... well, I have to be patient with myself  :)
 

Morning Dew

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2010, 04:40:49 PM »
Quote
a teacher that guide the experience and the books for studing, like being in a spiritual university.

You sound like you are searching for a new hobby mate ;)

Meditation is never easy on the ego self. Ego self doesnt want to disapear.
Ego self feels much safer around other meditators. Ego is terified of being alone and in silence BUT that is the very essence of what meditation is. Getting to know aloness and silence is what matters. Hanging around with bunch of people glorifying The Buddha will not help you much, actually it might hold you back.

Tell me why is a Buddhist munk more popular than e.g. Me? :)
Is it because he shaves his head, eats once a day, dresses in a cute dress, listens to dhamma talks, reads suttas, etc...

I dont do these things but i do fart, sh.t, burb, snort, schrach my b.lls :)
Tell me now! The monk and i meditate, he does long meditations i do only hour a day. Tell me friend, is there a big difference between him and me?

Do not get fooled by the fancy temple rituals, it all comes to ovserving the mind as it is and calming the body. No suttas can help you in facing ur self :)

But then again i might be just full of s..t and you should listen to people who meditate vert loooooong and have meditated for 30-40 years. I on the other hand my friend started meditating just a few weeks ago ( well i did start meditating 11 month ago but all that was just a warm up )

I am sure you will find out what is best for you mate :)

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: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2010, 12:30:28 AM »
Morning Dew,

You are not full of shit. Your wisdom has increased tenfold since you started posting here.

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

Morning Dew

Re: Looking for help to understand experiences with Vipassana
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2010, 06:29:08 AM »
Interesting you say that Matthew since Buddha actualy taught a tenfold path not the eight fold one many believe. The 9th and the 10th got lost 500 years after his death. Honestly!

Good man! :)

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
3 Replies
2436 Views
Last post August 19, 2010, 01:24:52 PM
by idud
1 Replies
2246 Views
Last post July 26, 2011, 11:20:55 AM
by Andrew
3 Replies
2355 Views
Last post June 08, 2013, 10:49:39 PM
by Dharmic Tui
0 Replies
1913 Views
Last post December 02, 2013, 11:43:21 PM
by benjaminjames81
9 Replies
3487 Views
Last post May 22, 2016, 07:52:50 AM
by mdr
12 Replies
2646 Views
Last post March 22, 2017, 12:25:19 AM
by From Anger to Light
20 Replies
4676 Views
Last post July 03, 2019, 11:53:06 PM
by mobius