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.

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    This is very similar to this question. See the answers there. My own answer on that thread also points to another similar question (with even more answers) also on this site.
    – tkp
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 23:47
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    P.S. And pay particular attention to @yuttadhammo's answer on that thread.
    – tkp
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 23:54

4 Answers 4


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.

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    Thank you. Maybe I wasn't clear with my question (english is not my mother language), but what is important to me is to understand is the change that I'm experiencing right. Is this kind of detachment a common experience on the path? As I understand, advancing on the path should bring me to a place where I can make decisions and act according to my wisdom and not just following cravings. Right now I see that I'm following. I feel that I'm not in charge. The only difference with my past experiences is that now I see it more clearly and for a longer periods of time.
    – asolodoff
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 14:42
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    Friend, this is a hard question because it is very personal, the question is clear, but it is hard to especulate about it, so I had to give a sort of generic answer, I think you should contemplate more your feelings, study the dhamma, try to think about your motivations and let's see what other people will say here
    – konrad01
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 14:48
  • Well, then I hope someone had similar experience on their path and can share it with us :)
    – asolodoff
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 14:51

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:

  • Sensations
  • 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:

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 ...


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