I attended goenka course recently. When I got to day 5 in which we practiced vipassana body scan meditation. pretty soon i would get my brain really sensitive to sensations making them really strong. After a short time it will become painful and make my head dizzy and then would feel strong sickness, painful over sensitivity and confusion for the next 2 hours until the body sensitivity lowered. It even happened to me after going back to only focusing on my breath.

This makes it no possible to meditate.

  1. Have you ever experienced over sensitivity that made you feel physically bad? Why is that happening?

  2. Can this be somehow overcome?

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


Lately, I realized that meditation for some people can actually be difficult and painful. I never had this problem so for the longest time I couldn’t empathize or understand what was going on. But a question raised in this forum and this one makes me recalled a story told by another. Someone went on a 7-day meditation retreat. After the first day, he described that he never felt so much pain in his life and quit the retreat immediately. I tried teaching meditation in the past to others and failed just as bad. They usually described it as a very painful experience.

Have you ever experienced over sensitivity that made you feel physically bad? Why is that happening?

I think meditation is about getting the mind sensitive to what is going on within. To those who are not used to introspecting or reflecting on their internal state, it can be a painful affair. Perhaps, for some it is shocking to perceive the chaotic and compulsive state of their mind. For others, the sensitive mind is suddenly made aware of long suppressed or ignored bodily ailments and feedback and they find it overwhelming. However, there are some who actually went into meditative bliss on their first try like the Buddha.

I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities — I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.

I, myself, had a good time when I started so I am not sure what caused such vast differences in experiences.

Can this be somehow overcome?

I am suggested using a breath technique please see my answer to the similar question above. You can try this technique along with other meditation techniques. Hopefully, you find it useful. Frankly, I am beginning to appreciate why the Buddha taught meditating on the breath. Breathing is something that we do naturally. Using the breath to become sensitive to the body and sensitivity to the body to then train the mind to be more aware, is a gradual and gentle process. Lastly, I am not convinced that everyone is suited to a X day meditation retreat where X can be 3, 7, 10, 14 or 21 days. This puts a lot of stress on some participants. We all learn at a different pace. Meditation is a life long practice, go for techniques that you find gentle, comfortable and suited to your pace. With Metta.

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