I started to meditate half a year ago with my first Vipassana retreat in Bodhgaya. I'm trying to meditate every day since then. Around two months ago I started to practice mindfulness and try to bring meditation into my daily life and not to be mindful only on the cushion. Last week I was getting some strange results. I feel like almost all I do is automatic. I don't feel that it's me who is doing it. When I talk to people, going to work, riding on the bus. I feel like I'm watching the movie. Two days ago I was watching my breath on the bus and when the bus stopped I couldn't move for two minutes. It felt like my will was totally gone. Before, during my day I felt that I wasn't present. Now I feel present but detached, and not in a good way. Am I doing something wrong? Or it is only a stage of the practice that I must go through? Thank you for your answers.
I don't think you are alone in this. Susan Blakemore in her excellent book Zen and the Art of Consciousness describes almost this exact situation. She paid attention in her everyday life just as you have done and found it very illuminating. However after two weeks of this she reach a point when she couldn't cross the road. She was paralysed as you were. She abandoned this 'experiment' and went back to her meditation and retreats the results of which she details in the book.
I hesitate to give advice in your case as I am woefully unqualified to do it. However it does seem you are having trouble integrating you experiences, you might even be have a kind of alienated awareness experience where you are very aware but not emotionally connected. I think with all these practices wisdom and compassion need to be balanced. I would be tempted to back off a little and engage with some metta type practices - kindly awareness towards yourself and others. But please disregard this - it's only what I would try.
I guess the amount of change depends on where you were, you may feel a big impact if you used to be a very anxious or greed person for instance, very focused on work, money, career, selfimage etc.. what meditation can do is realign your priorities, it makes you give up or at least not care as much for wordly concerns.
Just try not to mistake the feeling of "this is not so important" for "I'm now a robot", because you will realize that a few things are really not so important and this can shake you up a little bit, but as I said it doesn't mean you are a robot, it is just that your priorities are changing.
In addition to that, meditation calms the mind, so if you do a lot of meditation you can feel more relaxed.
Hope it helps.
Being mindful will help you in your day to day activities and to avoid mishaps. Being mindful alone is not the right mindfulness. If you practice right mindfulness much of the complications are avoided.
Mindfulness in a Buddhist meditation perspective is to be mightful of the 4 Satipatthana and Anapana
You should be observing:
- Body posture through sensations
- Sensations arising due to mental states
- Sensations arising due to metal contents
Also see for the importance of sensation in practising:
- Importance of Vedana
- The Importance of Vedana and Sampajanna
- The Great Discourse on the Establishing of Awareness (See introduction: Vedanā in the Practice of Satipaṭṭhāna)
- Discourses on Satipatthana Sutta
You should place special attention to sensations as it is due to sensation that craving arises and in dependent origination.
With regard to your in ability to move. It is more likely some level of concentration. This slows down your body and moving is not possible. Also may be some level of Sloth-torpor (a hindrance) arising.
I feel that there is nothing wrong with your practice, and I also got to a stage where I was completely detached - but in a good way .... but I got this result after 11 years of practice ....
So, I guess you are doing pretty well and you just need conceptual clarification from your assistant teachers - get in touch with your assistant teachers and talk to them. And I am sure you will be soon progressing very well in this path ...