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Vipassana Retreat Tips


Celestial
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Hey guys,
I will be attending a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat in about a week. This is the first one that I will be attending.

I was just wondering if you guys have any tips for the retreat or any reports on any retreats that you've attended. I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little bit intimidated and nervous but also excited and interested.

Thanks 🙂

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Is it Goenka 10 day retreat?

 

If it's your first one, you might want to ask for a chair as an option if needed. if you don't clear this in advance, some Goenka retreats wont let you switch to a chair if you get leg pain. This is crazy. 

 

My 2nd day Goenka we had a two hour group sit and this is challenging even for veteran meditators. Lik2 @Dimasays, try to follow the rules, the schedule, don't cause drama. I'd also say try to relax, smile,  and take it day by day. You only have to do 1 day at a time. 

“If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.” ― The Buddha

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On 7/29/2022 at 10:28 PM, Celestial said:

any tips

Return attention to feeling breathing in the stomach. Not just in reference to when meditating formally as a practice, but when emptying occurs. Nipping that in the bud might be the key difference with respect to the overall experience. 

Have fun!

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Sorry for late replies, just got back today.

 

@Aware Wolf Goenka retreat.

Although I did experience a lot of pain, I was too nervous to ask to sit in a chair. I'm thankful I didn't though, I was just trying applying the technique rather than allowing the mind to react. Will check out that link, thanks!

@Phil At the start of the retreat, you're asked to surrender to the technique for the 10 days, but you can focus on breathing in and around the nostrils. I noticed that helped whenever I would find that I was sucked into monkey mind. Definitely a lot of stuff coming up during the retreat- sadness, confusion, sometimes feeling terrible for no reason. Cried pretty hard on the way home, don't really know why but it felt good to get it out. I feel pretty sensitive right now. Have you done any vipassana retreats? The fact that places like that exist is a blessing.

 

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@Celestial Congrats on your first Goenka retreat. They're not easy. I'm not particularly a fan of Goenka, but it is a blessing that they're donation-based which makes them affordable in the West. If your dreamboard words came up fruitfully in your retreat -- wow-- that's great. Many people struggle with their first ten-day. There's not much peace or bliss tbh. 

 

I've done a ton of Vipassana retreats. Some day I"d like to do an extended one in Burma -- but right now the military took control with a coup so it might be a while. 

“If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.” ― The Buddha

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@Aware Wolf Thank you 🙏

Is there anything in particular that you don't like about Goenka?

I struggled quite a bit, probably for most of the time haha. The dreamboard words didn't manifest in massive quantities at all, but I thought it was pretty awesome that I experienced everything I wrote down at some point. 

 

Do you find that the retreats become more fruitful each time?  Burma would be an awesome place to attend one!

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The method in Goenka is fine. 

 

But the structure of mandatory group sits -- is one size fits all -- and sometimes people need a break or take the foot off the gas.  I think

people should be trusted if they need to alter the schedule to fit them. If someone needs a chair, they should always have that option. Goenka

might not let people use a chair. I think the unhealthiness of sitting for a long time could be averted if Goenka had walking meditation, but they don't. 

 

I think its because Goenka feels they can lose control of the yogi if there's walking meditation scheduled. Goenka seems a bit authoritarian to me. Christopher Titmuss has written a good piece about Goenka here: https://www.christophertitmussblog.org/10-day-goenka-courses-in-vipassana-time-to-make-changes-12-firm-proposals 

 

I don't know if they become more fruitful but retreats become more doable. there's less doubt about completing them. Usually day 6 or 7 I get doubt or have a bad day and it's "Ohh day 6 blues!"

 

Have you read any of U Tejaniya? His books are free on his website. Good stuff. A different vipassana POV than Goenka. 

 

 

“If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.” ― The Buddha

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Posted (edited)

@Aware Wolf I feel what you're saying, it is definitely extremely strict. I would really only recommend it to people who are really ready to commit to 10 days. 

Definitely agree about letting people use chairs, one of the guys at my centre was actually allowed to use a chair during the 1hr group sits. They should probably advise people to try and get some sun and do some walking everyday. 

 

Goenka does seem like a bit of a stickler 😅, he did say that U Ba Khin was extremely strict so I guess it rubbed off on him. Although, the intensity is extremely helpful in a way. You know you're there to work.

 

It seems like everyone I spoke to after experienced extremely hard days and sits, I guess it's just part of the process haha.

 

I actually haven't heard of U Tejaniya but I'll check him out. Will also check out that article. 

 

Thank you 🙏

Edited by Celestial
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@Eothasian The basic idea is that when you normally encounter situations that you are averse to, eg. Someone saying something that you interpret as abusive, the mind unconsciously reacts and there will be corresponding sensations that arise on/in the body. You are told to feel the sensations on the body objectively, with equanimity. This is said to purify the minds old habit patterns of aversion and craving. (sankharas).

 

The area you start with is actually larger than the tip of the nose, it's the whole nose and nostril area, including the area below the nostrils and above the upper lip. Basically regular breath awareness meditation. There is also a lot of time during the day where you're not actually sitting down and meditating. 

 

As far as not feeling angry and drained, I'm not too sure. Obviously it's not a walk in the park, but everyone will have a different experience. Sometimes I was feeling great and other times I was feeling just meh.

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