I am so mad at this guyI do not recommend this kind of torture and I'm feeling very bad right now.
This method can easily cause trauma and damage to people's minds
This is such an irresponsable and dangerous retreat. I can't believe this shit. This Goenka guy is an idiot.
I was ready to take on Vipassana to help me be more disciplined and peaceful. I previously read Mindfulness In Plain English and practiced some meditation here and there and always felt good afterwards.
I went to this retreat after viewing several videos in YouTube. Seeing how big this organization was and how the website always came first in Google I decided to give it a chance, even though I always had a bad vibe and feeling coming from this organization.
I lasted 7 days before finally running away. During those 7 days I never felt good, never, not even for a minute. I felt like I was buried alive and couldn't do anything. I cried many times. During the stupid body scan technique I had extremely disturbing images popping up in my head. I almost had a panic attack. I had strong anxiety. I felt that this retreat literally friked up my mind.
How can this be good? How can this be responsible? The mind is something very serious and should be treated gently.Meditation is NOT supposed to be a "brain surgery" as Goenka says, nor it's supposed to be dangerous to leave in the middle of a retreat.
There is tremendous social pressure to finish the course no matter what. "It's part of the process" they say. Excuse me? How is feeling extremely bad, having a lot of anxiety and having very disturbing images popping in your head (even during the non-meditation times) part of mindfulness meditation?
This method can easily cause trauma and damage to people's minds. I am so mad at this guy and this RELIGIOUS SECT. It's a sect and it's not scientific whatsoever.
Please stay away from it even if you've read that people had good experiences. I for one am mentally healthy and had a terrible experience.
If you want to meditate, start gradually at your home, please.
I do not recommend this kind of torture and I'm feeling very bad right now. Don't go even if you're going through a tough moment in life.Some encouraging words would be greatly appreciated. I need your help please. And don't even try to defend this Goenka organization because you don't know what I'm going through right now.
Goenka is a guru who teaches rich business executives for fat paycheques.
The retreat is neither irresponsible nor is it dangerous if you practice correctly.
But please don't brazenly run down the technique in this manner.
Here's my suggestion:Now you are feeling really bad, and angry at this person and the technique,so use this oppurtunity to develop tolerance and compassion towards him and his technique. This way, you will be able to utilize this anger into constructive anger. And everytime the rotten memories of the course come to your mind, give the guy metta for he has given you a wonderful oppurtunity to generate compassion and tolerance. This way, you will be grateful you went on the 'dreaded' course
DJ Shaka,I would say that you were totally unprepared for such kind of retreat or you were unlucky enough to meet with bad combination of circumstances.You see, during such kind of collective practices, strong collective fields are generated. And if your body and energy system are not pure and strong enough, you have just the bad experience as you described. In good case (when you meditate with experience practitioners) the collective field may literally burn you, but this is good, because it burns the dirtiness in your mind and body.There is also a probability that you were incompatible with specific collective field which was created by other participants. In this case I would propose you to sit in the last row, so you were not covered by the cloud of collective energy.
These retreats are intentionally fashioned - by depriving one of usual social contacts and temporal limitation of food much like in a prison (though Tihar jail prisoners would assess their jail more comfortable than these courses!), for some the terrible chanting is already enough to get in rage - to provoke the worst emotional reactions in participants for them to learn not to get caught up and get out on the other side more happier.
I have repeatedly witnessed how first time student came out mentally imbalanced (in more detail). However, never with participants who continued this practice and came to more courses. Therefore, I don't believe the method itself is creating trauma, but is very able to re-traumatize.
That's a good start. Let's get back to that. Your anger over Goenka is a poison to you and you only if you examine it. This is one form of Karma, the immediate results of your state of mind.
Should have trusted your bones brother.
Well it probably hurt a bit so I recommend getting back to Shamatha meditation plain and simple. But not Anapana at the nose as Bhante Gunuratana describes. Do is as described here: http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,674.msg5302.html#msg5302
Some people find Goenka's technique helpful. Less than 2% return to do a second retreat with the Goenka organisation, however. The idea it is dangerous is in some ways real. You have been left with much unresolved anger and somehow you need to transform this for example. For some the hangover has been worse, suicides and hospitalisations. Goenka's organisation is not alone in having people have "bad retreat" experiences.If I were you I'd try and put the energy of the anger into practice.
This pressure is cultist. Sitting down with another adult and discussing reasonably what is going on without dogma or "company lines" is helpful in these circumstances but I doubt that's the norm.
I would agree that the organisation displays cultist aspects and that these are worrisome to me.
I do think I understand a little of what you're going through. Myself I have been a vocal opponent of Goenka's system for the reasons you describe and because of flaws in the technique. Where above I have said some benefit from these retreats that is an accurate reflection of people's experiences. Myself, I don't think the method is valid, the implementation good or the organisation benign. Goenka is a guru who teaches rich business executives for fat paycheques. And his method clearly doesn't work very well or there would be enough people to teach it, and no need for whining 20 year old VHS cassettes.
Some people find Goenka's technique helpful. Less than 2% return to do a second retreat with the Goenka organisation, however.
Goenka's organisation is not alone in having people have "bad retreat" experiences.
It's not a matter of thinking if the method is valid or good or safe. It's not safe, this is a FACT, as evidenced by my experience and the experience of those ending up in hospitals and commiting suicide.Period.
The idea that scanning your body will open up your subsconcious so that samkaras (or whatever) can rise up is laughable.
Quote from: pamojjam on February 04, 2010, 10:43:27 AMThese retreats are intentionally fashioned - by depriving one of usual social contacts and temporal limitation of food much like in a prison (though Tihar jail prisoners would assess their jail more comfortable than these courses!), for some the terrible chanting is already enough to get in rage - to provoke the worst emotional reactions in participants for them to learn not to get caught up and get out on the other side more happier.And this is exactly why it's dangerous.
... but I will warn people about this.
If someone is having problems in their life there are better and safer ways to handle them.
.. therefore I do not support these intense retreats and would rather have people start meditating in a gradual manner.There's no need for these intense retreats and definitely no need for extreme rules and cultish environment.
I could write a huge essay explaining why these goenka retreats are dangerous, wrong, religious, faith based, deceitful, cults, etc, but I really need to let this go.
Quote from: The Irreverent Buddhist on February 04, 2010, 11:22:36 AMGoenka is a guru who teaches rich business executives for fat paycheques. False.
Hi Dj,I noticed that your post sparked another heated debate around Goenka, and as a result you didn't really get what you asked for: advice and encouragement. In fact, the controversy is probably counter-productive to your own healing because it just creates more fuel for your anger, and keeps it tied to the object (in this case, Goenka). As indicated by some of your comments, you already know this. As we all know,it takes a lot longer to heal if you stay mired in a sob-story. Metta,Dylan
Hi Dj,I noticed that your post sparked another heated debate around Goenka, and as a result you didn't really get what you asked for: advice and encouragement. In fact, the controversy is probably counter-productive to your own healing because it just creates more fuel for your anger, and keeps it tied to the object (in this case, Goenka). As indicated by some of your comments, you already know this. As we all know,it takes a lot longer to heal if you stay mired in a sob-story. Anyway, I'm not going to defend Goenka's style of retreats, but you should know that I have sat and served many retreats, and have even managed a couple. So, suffice to say, I feel that the rigorous schedule (and emphasis on subtle aspects of the body) brings out the best in me. However, for many years, I have also felt that the Goenka retreats are not for everyone, and carry the risk of unleashing "challenging" aspects of the mind. In fact, I rarely recommend it to people. The other day, my friend, a fairly serious meditator who has done a few retreats with other (more "gentle") vipassana teachers, mentioned that she was planning to go to a Goenka retreat, but that she was scared. My answer? "You should be." I think that says it all. Even though I believe the seriousness of a Goenka retreat would be great for her, I also think that people should enter the retreat with a much deeper sense of the challenges that they will likely face when pushed to meditate so intensely. Its not about Goenka or the retreat itself, but the forces hidden just below the surface of our consciousness.Now, as for your own experience, let me start with a cliche: "This too shall pass." Seriously. I have known a few people who unlocked extremely unpleasant mental states on retreat (and on the flip-side-- seductively pleasant, but also dangerous states). And trust me, they all fade away. Eventually, you will be your same self again. How long these states last depend on alot of factors, but more than anything I think it has to do with the habits of mind that you have previously cultivated, how you choose to relate to your experience, and what you do with your mind in the present moment.First of all, I would actually suggest you take a break from meditation. Unless when you meditate at home you have some sense that it is somehow a "safe harbor,” its probably a good idea to take a holiday from sitting on the cushion. Or if for whatever reason, you are really don't want to take a break, find a good group of people you can sit with. That helps alot. And as someone else mentioned, if you do choose to meditate again soon, consider taking an entirely different approach. For example, the Mahasi Sayadaw style of vipassana could be good for you at this time (i.e., gentle noting of your moment-to-moment experiences). Or maybe try to just cultivate a kind awareness of anything that arises in your field of consciousness (sounds, etc.). If you decide to focus on the breath, perhaps try observing it more generally or even just at the abdomen. And of course, walking meditation is a reliable palliative for many practitioners. Aside from meditation, its worth mentioning not to forget all the other emotional resources you’ve cultivated over the years. Now would be a good time to indulge in some (healthy) comfort activities. Go for a run. Play some basketball. Watch a good movie or check out a favorite band. Have lunch with a friend, and just shooti the breeze. You get my drift. Most importantly, don't take yourself (or your meditation experience too seriously). There are tons of meditators who have had awesomely amazing experiences and swore they had tasted nibbana, only to realize that they were still the same jerk that they had always been. You're on the other side of the pendulum, where it is easy to believe that you have somehow caused yourself irreparable harm. Don't give the meditation practice so much credit. Your feelings may be highly amplified right now but, they are transient. And you will eventually (probably sooner than later), be your same old self. Finally, let me just offer this friendly reminder: the story of your experience at the Goenka retreat is not over. You may no longer be there, but you are still writing the narrative that will frame how you see the experience from now on. This difficult experience really can become the fertile soil of great insight. How you relate/interpret it is EVERYTHING. I know you probably don't want to hear this right now, but the more you can see the experience as something that your mind did to you (and not what the retreat or Goenka did to you), the more you will be able to regain your bearings on the path. With that said, I know this is a difficult time for you. And there is no easy fix. But trust in yourself, that you can get through this. I wish you all the best.Metta,Dylan