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Vipassana meditation


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This is a repost from another section of the site so more people can see it.

"Hi Merkan,

Yes that poster was myself.

I was describing my experience of going on a 10 day meditation retreat. It is called Vipassana - 'Insight' meditation. Much better than me describing it, please google it and read the literature on it available.

To sum, it is a 10 day, no cost, silent retreat and you literally spend all day practicing the technique. It is non-religious. I can safely say it was the most profound and valuable experience of my entire life, beyond/different from any psychedelic experience. Of particular note is what I believe is the extraordinary potential this technique has for **totally resolving** emotional trauma, addiction etc.

A big thing to note is that I dont think much value can be taken from it initially by practicing 30 mins a day etc. A full 10 days is the minimum required for deep insights into the self etc.

As for my symptoms, some still remain and I will remind everyone that 2-ci, LSD, and MDMA were the trigger for mine so I had 'proper hppd' (i am being ironic) as there is still controversy over cannabis ppd. However, I literally am 100% cured of the disorder. I live a fuller life than ever before, and am easily coping with high-stress situations that I thought would forever be beyond me.

The neurobiology is interesting but I spend no time anymore researching it. For sure, there were some lasting perceptual changes, but I see them as a learned response which would be quite fruitless to expect them to revert to what they were. To repeat for those discouraged: there are still differences but I only notice them when someone flashes a torch into my eyes or i look at the sun etc. and when I do it is with a smile.

I speak for myself now: hppd is 95% psychological. for me it was similar to ptsd with perceptual changes. the mind is INCREDIBLY powerful, but you CAN take control over it. The myriad of physical symptoms, DP/DR, depression, i had it all. It went away gradually after I had resolved my traumas on the retreat. My fatigue was so bad a year ago i couldnt play soccer, now I am playing 90 mins a match for my college team.

I could go on and on, and i am willing to answer any questions. Some people like to vacate the forum when they are better, but I'll pop in because for me now hppd has lost its teeth. It has paled into insignificance, and I can be around it as much as needs be.

Sorry if i come across as douchey, but I'm trying to open people's eyes to the possibilities they have. The thing to note is that it is impossible to intellectualize or 'think' your way out of traumas, emotional issues or issues with hppd. You need to allow the subconscious to heal, which is what the meditation retreat enabled me to do.

I'll end on a cheesy note: everyone is 10 days away from the release of the pain and suffering of hppd. I urge everyone to take a chance."

So that was the original post. I will just add that I accept that perceptual changes occur which may be described by the processes hypothesized by David.

When I first got hppd, there was a period of 3-4 months or so where my brain and mind was in a state of upheaval, and it literally felt as though i was living in a sinister hell on earth 24 hours a day. Many might relate. To have done the retreat in that period may have been too intense and too much for me to handle, but it may not have been. What I am trying to say is that the retreat may not totally reverse your symptoms 100%, but does anyone truly expect that to be a reality worth living your life in misery for? Until you have done the retreat, you are not aware of how much you might gain from it - it really was that worthwhile for me. I urge people to literally go to this website: www.dhamma.org find your nearest centre and book a 10 day retreat. Take a holiday if need be. If you are skeptical that is natural, go anyway. If you are put off because I have not had 100% cessation of all perceptual changes, then this is exactly the kind of attitude that you yourself will challenge and question on the retreat!

Hppders often also seem to be more sensitive, intuitive, introspective etc. and these qualities will help you even further on the retreat.

Peace and good luck.

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I do agree with you that if something like this is supposed to be effective one need to put more into it then just buy some random CD at the local store with those typical 10-15 min sessions.

I do have a question though, do you still need to practice meditation to keep this positive effect or did the 10 session sorta "unlocked" whatever was unlocked?

I am a skeptic but i know that when hooking up people in deep meditation to EEG measurement there are significantly changes in the neurological pathways. Also, an experiment with monks meditating in a cold room were able to make water from wet towels around there necks vaporize until they were completely dry. This does not say that it will have a profound effect on HPPD but it does not exclude one either.

I do not believe in mysticism as anything else then suggestion but i do believe that that there are more to the brain functions then we know.

As i said, if i can get off my meds, i'll prob do this with or without HPPD.

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I have to admit that I haven't continued to meditate after the retreat. Why when it was so beneficial? I immediately started another term at college and the hectic workload plus the fact that I would be drinking alcohol meant that i didnt think it would be worth it. Also, a lack of discipline! I am planning to do another retreat though as soon as the holidays begin.

The positive effects have remained though. For me, the 10 day period was sufficient for me to 'get over' certain issues and this included my hatred of hppd. After the retreat, I knew that a turning point had been reached. I didnt slowly start becoming resentful or anxious again or anything. As for the neurological effects, there is no doubt they were profound. Here are a few examples, but dont be put off! I had incredibly disturbing nightmares for the first few nights, and my hppd actually increased for the duration of the stay. As you can imagine this was alarming. It increased to the level that I had CEVs beyond what I had ever had, and I was so wired that I couldn't fall asleep until v late. I imagine this was the most crucial 'healing' stage. I also had some optical migraines over the stay which i hadnt had for a while. All these things died down though pretty soon after, by the time I was leaving the retreat I was back to normal levels of excitation and a new man!

It is absolutely impossible to convey the kind of experience I had fully, in the same way that you can never fully describe an LSD or dmt trip or whatever. The subconscious plays the main role, and it is a personal journey. If you practice the technique properly, by the 3rd day you will be facing your fears, breaking bad mental habits and addictions, etc etc. plus much more.

My advice to you is, as you say, get off the meds and give it a shot. The main thing to remember though is that it is not relaxing! It is you on your own for 10 days, and you only get out what you put in. Prepare yourself, go in with the right attitude and you may change your life. I am 'better' now than I was before hppd!

As for the skepticism, sure so am I still! Remember that particularly in the West reductionism is pervasive so that we see ourselves as chemical bags, constantly reacting with what goes in us. Surely chemicals are the only way we can affect the chemicals in our brain? We are not comfortable with holistic approaches to mind and consciousness since we have nowhere near approached understanding the brain. We are also not used to the idea of taking conscious control over our minds either, which is what meditation brings. We go to the gym and strengthen our muscles, but we can also meditate and gain more control over our emotions and actions. I bet in the next few decades we will become more enlightened in the west in this respect and meditation will be as common place as yoga is now.

Larry C:


Take a good look around the site. On the left find your region and put in an application! They only accept donations after the course as payment. You dont need to donate though obviously!

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There is definite neurological changes in the brain causing HPPD. There is no other explanation for it. It is a seizure like condition that is continuous. All of the scientific research thus far shows it to be a neurological problem stemming from over excitation in the sensory lobes.

Absolutely I agree. Forget my percentages, what I am saying is that these changes are not catastrophic or damaging in any way, unless you decide they are. The role of psychology and emotion is what creates the disorder. Subjective tinnitus is similar in a way to hppd; the mind perceives information when there is none. There is no drug cure for tinnitus and 1 in 5 elderly people have it. On wikipedia the list of famous, presumably happy and successful people with tinnitus is long, so clearly it isnt debilitating for them.

OK question. So we are approaching an explanation for what causes changes in perception, so can you describe the complex interactions between trauma, existing stresses, depression and anxiety, diet etc. on this chemical process? Can you explain why me sitting in a room quietly observing the sensations on my body over a few days lead to such a dramatic increase in visual disturbances? Does this mean I have a seizure problem?

Again, without sounding like a douche, I've been on both sides. I lived with ptsd and lsd-like perceptual changes for 3 years. I couldn't go 1 minute without noticing a symptom and ruminating on it. I felt hopeless, and knew in my mind that there were chemical changes that occurred that were causing all my problems, and i would be like this forever. Happily, I was wrong.

At the end of the retreat I couldn't give two shits about hppd, and I am pretty chilled about life generally. Literally a different person to before. Most aspects of hppd began to slowly subside and I am now left with mild static that I only notice in certain situations, and also afterimages from camera flashes etc.

The truth is, if I were reading what I am writing now as who I was before the retreat, I would probably smile wryly and say 'well done for you buddy, but you clearly don't have what I have, I'll stick to the forthcoming medical solutions that should be developed soon. I have my hope'.

I don't claim to speak for anyone else but if there is someone out there like me, then an honest, open minded approach to sorting out your psychological problems first should be a priority. And if you are in the US then please try and get off medications for anxiety and non-clinical depression. These problems, which I had to severe levels (DP/DR, extreme fatigue, inability to handle any stress, sleep problems, weight loss), can be solved through (in my case) meditation/therapy.


This is my claim then: the meditation retreat will blow the significance you assign to hppd completely out of the water. Ok so there is a neurological explanation for it, that is obvious. Does this explanation also suggest that it affects cognition or behaviour or even mood? How come I have a completely stable mood now, and am doing better in college than ever etc?? Why do I hardly ever notice my perceptual anomalies? Why have they diminished? What is the precise neurological mechanism for these things? Aren't these more interesting?

The work that David is doing is brilliant, and I am honestly in awe shaolin at how you arrived at similar conclusions as david's research. I'm just popping my head into the forum and saying, 'guys, there is a way for you to stop suffering with this completely, and it is easier and more amazing than most would imagine possible.'

peace, FSM bless you all.

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I would have to disagree with the claim that 10-15 mins a day is not beneficial. You need a strong meditation practice before undertaking a retreat, especially one as long as 10 days. For most people on this board who don't meditate, sending them jumping into to an intense retreat would just be cruel.

From my experience with meditation, I believe it is more beneficial to sit regularly for short periods of time than it is to sit for a really long time once a year. Of course ideally you would be sitting decent lengths of time everyday and taking occasional retreats.

I am very glad though that you mention how you mention the power and influence of perspective and perception when you write:

"these changes are not catastrophic or damaging in any way, unless you decide they are."

I feel that I'm similar to you, in that I've been on both sides. I have done time in a very dark HPPD hellhole and today I'm living with HPPD taking a seat in the background. I think one of the turning points for me was realizing that these changes are permanent and becoming accepting of that and the "new me." By not demonizing every single visual that I experience I was able to begin to live free from the much suffering caused by HPPD (or really, caused by ourselves in reaction against HPPD).

I am not aware of free 10 retreats. Where did you find this?

In the Vipassana tradition it is common to do a 10 day silent retreat. I'm not sure where you can find one that is free because they cover your accommodation and food and everything.

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Interestingly, I had not had any meditation practice prior to going to the retreat. They teach you everything from scratch.

However, yes it was very intense and If I had left early it would have been very, very bad news.

10-15 minutes a day is beneficial of course, but if you want to really start addressing issues deep in your subconscious then 10 days is a minimum. Goenka, the teacher you gives the video lessons during the retreat, says that the meditation retreat is like 'performing surgery on the mind'. It takes a few days of constant practice and instruction to even learn the technique properly, so I'm afraid it isn't cruel for people to go on a retreat, it is actually necessary if they want to progress.

Once you have learned the technique and started to undo all the shit in your mind, then you can go on to do an hour a day and keep things 'ticking over' and practise being mindful.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting anecdotal evedince that Vipassana mediatation may be something worthwhile for our symptoms..

Post #12 of the thread (thats the only post I read when searching Vipassana on thosewithvisualsnow forum)


There symptoms may not be caused by drugs, who knows, but they say there vision improved.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi guys, resident Vipassana cured hppder here. Just to say I'm struggling to find a particular article on vipassana that I mentioned to balance I think, but there are hundreds of others out there. Also, there you go balance there's some more good anecdotal evidence on top of mine.

Of interest perhaps is that I'm still doing drugs, which is going well! I've taken acid+2ce+mdma together recently (which may be inconceivable to a member of this board, I wouldn't have believed myself telling me I would do this in the future) and have had incredible experiences. Still got some visual changes but they have not worsened for a year and never notice them.

Just to repeat, anyone who wants to take a proactive move and change their life and move beyond this hppd shit, why not just do a free 10 day course? You will regret waiting for so long. I've said my bit.

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  • 5 months later...

HI there everybody, (first post on this site :)) i have booked a Vipassana retreat for a few weeks time however i am currently and have been for about a month on 2mg of Clonazepam a day.

I understand that sobriety is a large part of the retreat and I am unsure if this would affect the results greatly, I'm asking for anyone's opinions if they would recommend coming completely off the drug before the course, i have almost three weeks to do so and as I have only been on this dosage for a month I believe this is achievable (contrasting opinions welcome). My other options would be to carry on the dosage or to wait until summer, after my exams and go on the retreat then although this will be not so convenient as summer is looking quite busy.

Thank you all if you can provide any advise.

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Hi Nedd,

I think you know what my advice is: summon up as much discipline to get off the meds, then do the retreat!

My previous posts have made it sound like the vipassana retreat is some sort of heroic undertaking, let me stress: go into it with a light heart! Be confident and open minded and you will do well. Do not have any preconceptions and most of all: listen to the instructions.

Also, don't go in and mull over your issues, although this will inevitably happen. Another bit of advice: practice now! For the first 3 days you do concentration meditation only, you can do this right this instant! Go on youtube and find a guided meditation and do it! Try sitting for 20 mins in the morning and evening, and remember that frustration and agitation are par for the course at the beginning. Examine your thoughts when they arise.

Anyway, I'll be on the board for the next few days to answer any vipassana or 'curing hppd' questions.


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  • 2 weeks later...
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Sorry for taking a while to reply to this thread.

I'll put up a solid post about my experience soon, but in short, it did not really help my HPPD and other issues (DP, anxiety, depression etc.) Basically the meditation is tough, it's not easy (I didn't expect it to be) and I left 2 nights early (I shouldn't have, it was a really really tough decision to make) so I can't say that I've had the full experience. It was an interesting time and I'm glad that I gave it a shot, and I may go back in the future to try it again, but it hasn't had any long lasting changes in me.

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My experience:

Last week I attended a Vipassana meditation retreat. I must say I do with this disorder is extremely difficult and painful. The first days are amazing. The total silence with which one must remain causes ARISING million thoughts in one's head. Despite the great pain, I discovered that many memories are still believed missing in me, still there. Visuals got bad and dreams really vivid.

The technique is mainly based on concentrating our minds on our feelings and then use a bridge to our real pain. If this produces anxiety disorder, it gives me pressure in the chest. From that start working. I cried every night while meditating in silence, thinking of all the guilt, treatments, medications. ERROR.

If you go thinking that this will cure the disorder, very bad. It is not that.

On the sixth day, my thoughts became so strong that I had to leave very sadly but with the firm conviction that solve all my traumas discovered and a strong spirit, make it to the end of the course.

Friends, this is something that should not be put aside, but if it cant 'cure', we will live the rest of ours life in peace, with a great tool to make real decisions and not prisoners of the anxiety or complex. I know because people talk right there that suffered from depersonalization and anxiety and suffer no more than this.

The course is designed for one to access the source of suffering and therefore you must be 10 days practicing and practicing mindfulness. Investigate and find people who have cured tinnitus, anxiety, drug addiction ....

As I prepare for the second course, I will continue investigating.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys. Firstly WELL DONE for having the courage to go Loky and Zukov.

It's tough isn't it?

I've already written a lot but first I will say that you should go back and complete the course, no matter how tough it is.

I remember how insane it was, and how even on the 10th day I was unsure of what to make of things.

I'll clarify a few things.

As a first timer, all of your 'shit' will come up. Everything. Traumas, buried memories, people who bullied you etc. As soon as you start identifying with these things and engaging with them, you aren't practising the technique. The thoughts are not 'you'.

The goal is to allow thoughts to arise, observe them equanimously and then move on to observing sensations on your body. That's it. It's incredibly hard not to mull over and try and resolve issues which come up, especially hppd stuff but you have to move on. Ultimately you realise that things are bigger than yourself, and you let go.

You CANNOT feel disheartened at this stage, you mustn't amplify your suffering! Face it and go back! You WILL improve!

Key things to remember: remember the little booklet you get? Read what it says about the 'qualities' you need to do the technique. It is not lying. Doubt and fear will stop you from progressing. You must fully give yourself over to the technique.

In order to progress you have to not go in expecting anything. Do not be afraid, doubtful, be too serious etc.

The way I got over hppd specifically was by examining what exactly was leading me to suffer: My ego and how my I was attached to certain things. Many things. Let go of your attachments to things that are either out of your control or impermanent.

Just realise that this will take time, book another course and do exactly as they say. Resist the urge to lie in bed mulling over thoughts. It sounds cheesy but this is a way to end suffering that has been used for thousands of years, so have faith! You will one day realise how absurd it is to suffer because you have some visual phenomena!

I understand you're probably a little confused and disappointed, maybe even feeling a little guilty. Use these negative emotions! Observe them, realise they are impermanent, and do not identify with them. Anicca, annica, annica.

Realise that what you are doing here is nothing to do with hppd. It is much bigger than that. You are learning to master your emotions and truly know yourself. Believe me when I say there is SO much ahead of you if you carry on with this practice. I recently went on my 2nd course and guess what? I left on the 10th day feeling anxious as hell! Yep! What was it about? Honestly not sure, but it didnt matter because I moved on and saw my emotions for what they were, just emotions. Now I'm obviously back to 'normal' and completely at peace again.

I think it would be better if you PM'd me with questions or whatever because rambling here isn't doing any justice to what needs to be said. But remember, well done for making this step. You know how powerful it is now so go back in with added respect for the technique and really just do exactly what the technique requires.

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Amazing words flitch. I'm very grateful for sharing your experiences on this forum.

Despite not finishing the course, now I have to meet the goal of eliminating my traumas and practice mind control seriously, in order to really 'armed' for the second retreat. I am an experienced trekker, a few days on the mountain alone will not be bad: D

If we all had the courage to use drugs, take this as such, because it is a real trip, without additives. As Loky said, everyone should give it a try this technique.

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No problem Zukov :)

But you are right, I didn't say this previously but for most people (including myself) the WHOLE REASON they take psychedelic drugs like LSD is to explore the nature of their minds and become truly aware of reality. If you take enough, then you experience ego loss and transcendent understanding etc. Once the drug wears off, you lose this.

With Vipassana meditation, and particularly on retreat, YOU WILL EXPERIENCE THIS AND FULLY INCORPORATE IT INTO YOUR LIFE!!

This is what you're looking for everyone when you take drugs that enable you to explore your mind!

Alan Watts (wise person look him up :) ) said 'once you get the message hang up the phone'.

This means once you have seen what psychedelics enable you to see, then further use is not going to reap any more rewards.

After this, then meditation practice is how you proceed to grow and become self-actualised.

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** when I say 'reality', I don't mean you learn meta-physical clap-trap stuff that you believe at the time, I mean you experience for yourself ego-lessness, and the feeling of unity with the universe. This is not unscientific! At the fundamental level we are just the universe experiencing ourselves. It is actually INVALID to say 'I am an entity separate from the universe which has an identifiable, tangible 'me' compartment in my body. Mind-body duality is increasingly seen to be FALSE, and you can look up numerous academic writing to support this.**

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Exactly. Vipassana is similar to lsd when you lose your ego and start to watch yourself like a "3 person shooter :D" or a doctor.

Its sad, but in occident we try to find answers and happiness using drugs...the easy choice, the fastest. The meditation, like everything, it's hard to learn.

You can learn to play the bass guitar in one month. But one thing is play and other is to be good and understand the instrument.

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