When I did the 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat, sometimes I would find that when I was body scanning, I would suddenly realize I was scanning a second, floating body maybe a foot in front and above from my actual body. I could feel my sensations in the second body, but it was very disconcerting because it FELT like me, but was a projection. I felt distrustful of my own experience. If I recognized it, I could get my attention to return to my actual body and the projection would go away. What was that and why did it happen? Should I have just kept on doing what I was doing and observed, or (sort of) forcibly returned my attention to my actual body, as I did?

  • If it was a goenka retreat it doesnt surprise me. Those retreats are too ascetic. You become sleep derived and are made to sit for many hours at a stretch that disassociation from the body is probably a natural way to cope. Its like when they put prisoners in solitary confinement.
    – Sati
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 0:34

3 Answers 3


That's really interesting. I would say that because Goenka and the ATs (and the Buddha as well) say to scan the actual bodily sensations, the reality, it was the right thing to do to return to the body itself. Did you talk to one of the ATs about this, by the way?


This is interesting to me, because I experienced the same thing and it turned into a bad habit that took a while to get rid of. My response was to return to the body once I realized what was happening, and that is also what the AT said.

What I experienced was that the projection had some flaws... I could easily map strong sensations to it, but I could not map subtle sensations to it. It took some time before I even realized that I was working on a map or projection rather than just sensing actual body. It also took a while to break the habit. I chalked it up to beginner's fumbling.


What is ones "act-ual", or real body?

It's good to experiment, even look what (kind of regard) is lesser stressful, if certain regard still contains stress, and not so good to assume preoccupations (ideas of phenomenas or the phenomena itself) as "this is real, this is mine, this is my self, this is what I am".

Understand, Nyom Kara.

Do that much, and no need then to ask if certain phenomena was right and real afterwards. Look and investigate again.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]

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