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These sensations and a feeling that my whole body is swaying/floating started on the 7th day of the course. On the 8th day I had quite a surreal experience during one of the group sittings. My eyes would also start watering during meditation. I did share my experience with the assistant teacher and told her that I was scared something was happening to my body. I was also feeling dizzy. The teacher said that this was normal and I should just be aware of these sensations and feelings and not try to control them. The next days until the course ended, I did not pay much attention to the swaying/floating. If I focused on it, I could feel it strongly, otherwise sometimes I would just not be aware of it at all.

My question is that it's been two days that I've been back from the course and the last I meditated was on the morning of the 11th day (final day) of the course. But I still have a swaying/floating feeling. Is this normal? Has anyone experienced this? If yes, what did you do about it and did it stop on its own? After how many days?

Any insight into why this is happening and if its alright to experience this will be appreciated. Thanks!

  • I am also old Vipassana student. so much 'I' in the question. How did you do Vipassana? :P Btw, a saint like personality told me these experiences happen when you start targeting your wrong notion of self/ego. – user10804 May 1 '18 at 15:26
  • Were you physically swaying at all or was it just inside your head? I have seen people physically swaying during their meditation and that is known to be wrongly meditating. – Krizalid_13190 May 2 '18 at 2:39
  • We should ignore those thinking their uncertainty they are purely temporary signals that appear in mind which we should ignore, if we try to inspect these, we will end up losing the concentration of mind. – Pasan Eeriyagama May 2 '18 at 3:27
  • It's been a week since I came back from the Vipassana retreat and the floating/moving feeling is till there along with neck and back pain. It's difficult to sleep because the moment I close my eyes, it feels like I'm on a boat. It's like vertigo. I'm considering seeing a doctor since it seems like some trauma/injury in the neck or something to do with the inner ear. – Parul Gupta May 7 '18 at 18:30
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Yes, it's alright that it's happening (assuming you didn't somehow hurt yourself in an odd way). What you are describing is a normal occurrence at retreats of many varieties, not just Vipassana. They are simply symptoms of prolonged concentration, the degree and type of which are determined by your unique body, mind, and karmic history.

Sensations of lightness, swaying or rocking, tears, tingling, heat, chills, intense joy, bright images, etc. are all common occurences of Piti (also known as Rapture). Piti occurs when a yogi concentrates in the right way for an amount of time. Piti's effects are temporary, and will fade with time, depending on how much and how deeply you experienced it.

You're having the opposite reaction most have to these things - many yogis get attached to Piti and never go beyond it, or stop going deeper because they think they've reached Nibbana. So you're ahead of the curve in knowing that these pleasures are also Dukkha. You're having an anxious reaction to it, which in turn causes additional problems like trouble sleeping, which in turn causes more anxiety, panic, and stress in an endless feedback loop. What we resist, persists. Surrender.

I've personally experienced what you're describing many times. It will pass. You may also be experiencing a new, deeper awareness of your body that you haven't had before. Your mind is now more clear, focused, and observant - it's no wonder you're experiencing new strange things. That's pretty neat! A shift in perspective may be all that you really need.

Your feeling of lightness may be akin to the early stages of what is described in the suttas and by monks as the power of levitation. ;) Just try to let go, stop worrying, and enjoy these new things for now. Get back on the meditation cushion. Observe them just like any other meditation object, investigate them. Where exactly is the sensation? What makes it so insufferable, in terms of experience? Does it have an essence? Does it change? When does judgement arise, before or after the sensation?

Hope you feel better, find peace, and liberate yourself from this suffering.

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Note it as a feeling. Ex: Swaying... Swaying... Swaying... Feelings are not important regardless of whatever form they come in. The are caused, impermanent and cause suffering when clung to. You just need to note them until they go away.

  • It's been a week since I came back from the Vipassana retreat and the floating/moving feeling is till there along with neck and back pain. It's difficult to sleep because the moment I close my eyes, it feels like I'm on a boat. It's like vertigo. I'm considering seeing a doctor since it seems like some trauma/injury in the neck or something to do with the inner ear. – Parul Gupta May 7 '18 at 18:31
  • @ParulGupta yes you should consult a doctor. Until then, simply be mindful of the feelings/pains. Always remember that wisdom and detachment are the indications of spiritual progress. Not any kind of feelings. – Sankha Kulathantille May 8 '18 at 3:17
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I am having the same thing and the course ended over a week ago. It feels like I have been on a long haul flight and I am still flying. I don’t feel sick and my balance is ok but the swaying won’t stop. Did yours finally shift? After how long?

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Obviously, the Goenka long duration sitting meditation was too intense, causing your brain & neurons to become overloaded.

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You can get different experiences in meditation use to past karmic factors (sankhara) and surfacing of past exercise (sanna) which manifests by the mind playing tricks on you.

Best is not to give too much importance to this and continue meditation.

When Pīti this can cause swaying and vibrations of the body. Again it is best is not to give too much importance to this and continue meditation.

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