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January 8, 2011 6:50 PM   Subscribe

I just completed a ten-day Vipassana course and was able to undo knots I never expected to work and feel very much renewed to work for justice and compassion. I am continuing the practice and can now sit for about 1.25 hours without voluntarily reacting to sensations in and on my body. Recently, I have begun experiencing very intense talking in my head. Not "Me" talking, but more like visualizing being spoken to about a whole range of subjects I had never thought of. It is almost like watching a boring documentary, about milk production for example. If you practice Vipassana or other meditation, did you experience this and how long did you take to break out of it?
posted by parmanparman to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I want to add on reflection this may be from just below the top of my head: the part of the brain responsible for maintaining stupid facts gleaned from the Discovery Channel.
posted by parmanparman at 6:55 PM on January 8, 2011

This is a really good question for your Vipassana teacher. Even if you don't have a formal student-teacher relationship, I'd imagine that whoever led your ten-day course would take questions by email?

(I'm a Zen practitioner, and I'm resisting typing out a long explanation of what I think you might be experiencing because I'm no teacher!)
posted by mendel at 8:26 PM on January 8, 2011

I wrote to him as well. Your own experience would be helpful. I know it's different form of meditative practice in Zen as my dad is one such.
posted by parmanparman at 9:19 PM on January 8, 2011

I practice Vipassana. I've been practicing for about 10 years now, but not as regularly as I ought to. When I haven't meditated for a while, and I have other things I need to do (do errands, pick up kid) after I am done, I get something kind of like this. The part of my brain that needs to unattach itself starts going over news stories and the bills in a monologue.

It doesn't happen after everyone else is in bed at night. And it quiets after a few days.

Ask your teacher for advice in your particular case, but yes, somebody else has experienced something like that!
posted by rai at 11:50 PM on January 8, 2011

A bit tangential but my teacher would most definitely ask: did you acknowledge? It's obvious but bears reminding that you should take care to acknowledge the hearing and anything else that comes along with the talking.
posted by mkdirusername at 3:35 AM on January 9, 2011

You will acknowledge sometimes. You stare down the "Talker" who was interrupting your quiet time. Vipassana is a way. You will feel happy they were able to observe but not react to the obstruction. It is something to learn from and experience also observe the benefits of your new life while being introduced and becoming welcoming of them.
posted by parmanparman at 4:49 AM on January 9, 2011

Op, looks like I've answered my own question. I need to stop staying up so late by myself.
posted by parmanparman at 6:27 AM on January 9, 2011

As usual, he who asks is non-distinct from he who answers.
posted by shii at 6:32 AM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Were we just at the same retreat at IMS? The New Year's retreat?

Anyway, I think the thing to do is to ask yourself why it's a problem that you're experiencing this. Why do you want it to go away? What does wanting it to go away feel like? Why is that unpleasant?

Feel free to memail me if you want to talk...
posted by Cygnet at 6:34 AM on January 9, 2011

IMS? I'm in England. More doing.
posted by parmanparman at 9:29 AM on January 9, 2011

Just saw this post...

The only stuff I unknotted at the Vipassana course I went to, was *some* of the backlog of bad tv in my brain (and I didn't have a TV much as a child).

However, within a few days into the course, I found I had several... 'stations' in my head. Like tv or radio stations. I get that anyway, y'know - there's what you're sub vocalising, what you're thinking, and what you're thinking about what you're thinking etc, and often a couple more layers (the 2:00 minute mark in this -
A couple of days into the course they'd gotten stronger, and more separate? Some were entirely visual, some only auditory, but there were at least... 5 to 7 of them?
One, was a continuous stream of random images, changing every couple of seconds, kind of like a cross between a computer photo album on slideshow mode, and the movie Baraka.
The theme of the images was tangentally related to my mood, but basically *random* - at one point it was displaying a factory conveyer belt of smiley face mugs with attached pen holders (I've never seen anything like them), when I was down there was a bigger percentage of deserts, and dried mud, and alien cacti-looking insect things, when I was up, I got flowers, and fireworks, and sparkly things.
And I could pay attention or not pay attention, but I got the impression it was running continuously, and I could just tune in to see what was 'displaying'. Anyway, I had similar audio tracks, music tracks etc.
My conclusion - the lack of outside stimuli just started provoking my brain to provide more and more of it's own 'entertainment'. The whole monkey mind thing. From what I've heard, a lot of people go through waves in their meditation - a period of 'unknotting' practice, and then their monkey mind gets 'better' and they take a while to get back to a useful sort of practice. I never really got anywhere useful with it, I just got the weird side-effects.

In essence, I don't think it's the point of the meditation, and it's a monkey mind thing, and I never figured out how to get past it. You're already doing way way better than me though, so that's good.
posted by Elysum at 4:11 AM on May 3, 2011

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