Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.
Topofdeehead
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Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Postby Topofdeehead » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:02 am

Greetings. I'm new to this forum and firstly wanted to say hello to everyone :)

I just returned from a 10 day Dhamma Dharra retreat and really loved it. I do however have a couple of questions and am interested in hearing your experiences. Two obstacles that I came across when scanning my body were:

a) My eyes move whenever I scan through my body as if I'm trying to look at that part of my body as I work, and
b) I can't scan without envisioning the body part I'm scanning (I don't get a photographic image of my leg in my mind per se, more just a hazy shape of a leg).

The AT informed me that neither were a part of vipassana technique but for the life of me I still can't get past either one. Do you guys have any suggestions/techniques for getting past these obstacles?

Thanks in advance,

Rich

P.S. I would be happy to write a trip report as experienced by a complete newbie if it would be of service to others on the forum. My only reservation was not wanting to put any preconceived ideas into anyone's head still thinking of trying a Goenka retreat.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:15 am

Greetings,

Topofdeehead wrote:The AT informed me that neither were a part of vipassana technique but for the life of me I still can't get past either one. Do you guys have any suggestions/techniques for getting past these obstacles?

Not within the confines of a "scanning" technique, no.... unless perhaps you want to try keeping your eyes open and keeping your eyes fixed on an external object as you scan. Maybe that way you can disconnect these phenomena.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"When we transcend one level of truth, the new level becomes what is true for us. The previous one is now false. What one experiences may not be what is experienced by the world in general, but that may well be truer. (Ven. Nanananda)

“I hope, Anuruddha, that you are all living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.” (MN 31)

Never again...

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Goofaholix
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Re: Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:18 am

You are right neither are what you should be doing.

It's because of the minds habit to think "you" are inside your head looking out at your body, wheras in fact you are fully inhabiting your body.

This habit will be stronger if you are a thinker, or a visual person, among other things the technique is supposed to break this view so you see yourself as a whole person not a little controller in the mind operating the body like a puppet.

I don't think there is any answer but to keep working at it, realising the problem is half the battle, just keep returning to feeling the body with the body every time you notice it.
"Right effort is effort with wisdom. Because where there is wisdom, there is interest. The desire to know something is wisdom at work. Being mindful is not difficult. But it’s difficult to be continuously aware. For that you need right effort. But it does not require a great deal of energy. It’s relaxed perseverance in reminding yourself to be aware. When you are aware, wisdom unfolds naturally, and there is still more interest." - Sayadaw U Tejaniya

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Ben
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Re: Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:52 am

Topofdeehead wrote:Greetings. I'm new to this forum and firstly wanted to say hello to everyone :)

I just returned from a 10 day Dhamma Dharra retreat and really loved it. I do however have a couple of questions and am interested in hearing your experiences. Two obstacles that I came across when scanning my body were:

a) My eyes move whenever I scan through my body as if I'm trying to look at that part of my body as I work, and
b) I can't scan without envisioning the body part I'm scanning (I don't get a photographic image of my leg in my mind per se, more just a hazy shape of a leg).


Don't worry about it. A lot of people do it as new students. Your AT is right. When you catch yourself visualizing, try and focus on the discrete sensation in that part of the body. Over time, you'll stop visualizing.
For some people it takes a long time to get established and work according to instruction.
Returning from your retreat, don't be surprised if you lose sensitivity of sensation. If that happens to you - also, don't worry about it. Just observe the anicca characteristic of whatever sensation arises when you move your focus of attention throughout your body.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Topofdeehead
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Re: Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Postby Topofdeehead » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:32 pm

Thanks for all the helpful responses guys. One of my character defects is to beat myself up as soon as I don't get something right so this is a good lesson and an opportunity to practice. I did notice that (being a thinker) I do see myself as a puppet master trying to control this body- it was interesting to realize this and what it's implications are on my practice. I tried keeping my eyes open when scanning and it definitely worked but I noticed my meditation wasn't as deep as it had been- perhaps just more practice. And I also noticed my blind spots seemed to have increased and sensitivity lowered since returning from the retreat and it's good to know that's all normal as well.

If I get completely honest with myself I still practice with the goal of having one of those celestial/out of body/etc. experiences I've heard others have had. I do understand this is not the point and I'm doing my best to just observe and be mindful. Thanks again.

Rich

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Monkey Mind
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Re: Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Postby Monkey Mind » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:17 pm

Topofdeehead wrote:One of my character defects is to beat myself up as soon as I don't get something right so this is a good lesson and an opportunity to practice.


You've spent a lifetime conceiving of yourself a certain way. This technique is something completely different, and will take some time to get used to. I say compassion for yourself as you learn new habits.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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Goofaholix
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Re: Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:26 pm

Topofdeehead wrote:If I get completely honest with myself I still practice with the goal of having one of those celestial/out of body/etc. experiences I've heard others have had.


Some people have intense experiences but I assure you they are neither celestial nor out of body, in the end they are just something else to let go of.
"Right effort is effort with wisdom. Because where there is wisdom, there is interest. The desire to know something is wisdom at work. Being mindful is not difficult. But it’s difficult to be continuously aware. For that you need right effort. But it does not require a great deal of energy. It’s relaxed perseverance in reminding yourself to be aware. When you are aware, wisdom unfolds naturally, and there is still more interest." - Sayadaw U Tejaniya

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retrofuturist
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Re: Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:12 pm

Greetings Rich,

Topofdeehead wrote:If I get completely honest with myself I still practice with the goal of having one of those celestial/out of body/etc. experiences I've heard others have had. I do understand this is not the point and I'm doing my best to just observe and be mindful.

To see how the Buddha shaped the lesser goals of his cousin Nanda towards something more rewarding, see this current study group topic...

Ud 3.2 Nanda Sutta
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=11908

See also...

MN 29: Mahasaropama Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
"When we transcend one level of truth, the new level becomes what is true for us. The previous one is now false. What one experiences may not be what is experienced by the world in general, but that may well be truer. (Ven. Nanananda)

“I hope, Anuruddha, that you are all living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.” (MN 31)

Never again...

startagain
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Re: Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Postby startagain » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:36 pm

Hey Rich,

Glad we can continue working on the Path through this forum. You're first entry is on-point.

Peace,

Rich

Topofdeehead
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Re: Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Postby Topofdeehead » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:38 pm

Retro and Goof,

Thanks for your posts. I certainly become easily attached to things and my behavior can be short sided and and governed by cravings. I appreciate the reminders to just keep practicing and to let go. I am trying :smile:

Parth
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Re: Couple of questions after 10 day retreat

Postby Parth » Wed May 16, 2012 1:53 am

Hi,

I also suffered from this, the way it started was after coming back from one of the retreats at a sub conscious level so as to have as much deep experience focussing eyes on the body part started. It infect started giving me headache as well.

The way out probably is
1. As soon as you find yourself doing it, stop it.
2. Start on anapana for some time
3. Once you have mind better concentrated, carry on with vipassana

Hope this helps.

Regards and Metta

Parth


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