Ben wrote:Hi Leo
Unfortunately some ATs are not very knowledgeable and their authoritarian attitude masks their insecurity when they are confronted by something that they haven't witnessed before.
From what you have said, it would appear that you were experiencing some form of visual hallucination during the retreat (re: frogs and dragons). Seeing the lights while maintaining awareness of sensation, isn't that unusual. If it was disturbing you or interupting your ability to maintain awareness of sensation, I would have suggested you return to anapana.
When you left, the AT and servers(?) perhaps were sending you metta.
I'm sorry you had such a difficult introduction. If you wanted to go back, I recommend that you first speak to the area teacher for your country as they are usually more knowledgeable and more experienced. Explain what happened and express your desire to return.
Kenshou wrote:About the nighttime hallucinations, did this occur when you were trying to fall asleep? I ask because it sounds rather like sleep paralysis. You can look it up, but the gist of it being that some weird subjective things can occur at the boundary of sleep. At this point the body can be mostly paralyzed, like during sleep, along with various hallucinations sometimes. I had this when I was younger, sometimes I would wake up in the morning and be unable to move, though I could open my eyes, and sometimes see things, like spiders crawling on the ceiling or something. Very odd, but it isn't that unusual, and nothing to worry about. I would not be surprised if a period of intense meditation might make someone more prone to this.
leo wrote:Thanks for responding. The lights were not disturbing me- I could still feel the sensations. I just reported it to the AT because I've never seen it before. The AT did mention to go back to anapana. But when I later told him that I was still seeing light he got annoyed with me. I think his strong reaction might have set off the hallucinations I had later that night. However, another thing I noticed was that these lights became more focused over time. To the point that there was light shooting out of my forehead to the area of focus during body scan. I described this to the AT and he seemed disturbed. Another light feature I noticed was that once in a while there would be shimmering light and my body felt relaxed. Do you know what these lights are?
About the metta - is it really possible for me to feel someone else sending me positive vibrations? That's really mind-blowing if true.
retro wrote:When I did a Goenka retreat I discerned a luminous blue triangle while doing the anapanasati component. I received similar advice to you from the AT, focus on the sensations, not the visualisation... and that's fair enough, and getting totally removed from the physical sensation would not be in keeping with the meditation technique you were being taught. That said, I found it difficult to separate the two, the triangle seemed to be a "mind map" of the physical area I was focusing on (i.e. the area around the nose)
This was confirmed later on the retreat when I would have a "mind map" of the physical area I was focusing on during the "sweep en masse"... a little like a mind-created segment of the body, with blue illumination on the mind-map corresponding with the sweeping. I think this mind-map might have been a by-product of the cognitive processes that actually direct the "sweeping", or the movement of the area of attention? What is it that moves the focus? How does it work? The deliberate act of sweeping must involve some volition, and some cognition of the physical space in which the body (and subsequently, feelings) can be observed. Again, the AT wasn't much help, I just persisted with the sweeping, accepting that I could not switch off this visual mind-map even if I wanted to, so whilst I didn't focus on it or try to accentuate it, or focus on it to the exclusion of physical sensations, why try to repress it? That would have merely led to frustration, and it did not interfere with my ability to follow the instructions that were given. If anything, it actually helped.
salmon wrote:I, too, had once been in a similar situation (in dealing with ATs). My experience was more difficult as I was dealing with a Venerable rather than a lay teacher. I reported to him that I was seeing my body "fall apart" and he snubbed me by saying that he had been practising for decades and had not even seen that, how could I, a mere child in his eyes, achieve that when I had only been meditating for a year or so. Not having learnt how to deal with feelings, I left the temple a day after that, feeling upset and ostracized. I spoke to a lay teacher about it as well and while she did not told me I was hallucinating, told me to ignore it and focus on the tactile sensations instead. That, too, did not make the visions go away. Much later, I found another teacher who, having had the same experience before, taught me how to turn those visions into tools for developing insights. Like what retro said, it could be a by product of something...instead of fighting it, just accept it and park it aside so it doesn't disturb you main focus. Don't reject an apple just because there's a sticker on it.
salmon wrote:If the Goenka method is not working for you, you might want to find another method which is more suited to your temperament. Takes a little bit of shopping around but you will know when you have found the right method.
Ben wrote:Sorry Salmon to hear of your less than ideal experience as well. There's a lot of wisdom in the instruction "just observe whatever manifests" There's an AT I know who is the 'Area Teacher" for a part of SE Australia. I've known him for over twenty years and if I have any difficulty, whether it relates to meditation or ethical dilemma, I speak to him. In the past, instead of raising things with an AT on retreat, I've waited until the course was over before speaking with my mentor/friend.
Dang right. At one retreat I saw Richard Nixon's face in anything that had a pattern: rugs, wood grain on the floor, cloth. Truly horrifying.PeterB wrote:Nimittas can be scary.
Well, not so much. It was a fairly short lived thing. I just recalled that he resigned in disgrace and it was not Spiro Agnew that assumed the presidency. My spirits lifted immediately - joy - and the rest of the retreat went along swimmingly.PeterB wrote:That must have taken a wee bit of processing Tilt.
And Tony Blair while I am at it? I was younger then.PeterB wrote:Couldnt have a go at processing Gordon Brown could you ?
leo123 wrote:Is there any way I can remove the light visualization from the body scan technique? - so that I can go back to another retreat.
Quite excellent are well trained & completely tamed
Elephants and full-blooded horses, yet far better is
the one, who have tamed himself ....
http://what-buddha-said.net/Canon/Sutta ... htm#hapter XXIII The Elephant - Nagga
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