Author Topic: Retreats; how soon is too soon?  (Read 4437 times)

Brizzleben

  • Guest
Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« on: January 21, 2011, 02:24:43 PM »
Like many others my only experience of meditating has been informed by reading and audio tapes and perhaps for this reason I've quickly become discouraged when  Ive found it difficult to still my mind.

I'm therefore drawn to the idea of taking part in a ten day Vipassana retreat; to have a sustained experience of the practice and to allow myself time to quieten down.

Do I go for it, say in a few months, or should I spend longer preparing myself in some way?

I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Morning Dew

  • Guest
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2011, 03:14:51 PM »
Good man Ben for starting this thread  :)

I started practicing Shamatha (Calm-Abiding) in March 2010 on this very forum (actualy at home, daily solo practice).
I never experienced any retreats so cant tell out of experience as others might. From what I have read it can be even traumatising if one enters such intens course wihtout being prepared meaning having established a well going daily solo practice at home.

And since you seem to have problems with calming the mind for you is best to start with Shamatha, calm-abiding to create a calm, relaxed yet mindfuly awake state of being. Not necesserely a quiet mind  ;D but rather being able to understand your mind and diferentiate your actual self from that ever chatering monkey in your head.

Quote
Ive found it difficult to still my mind.

Save your self lots of energy and time by getting this one streight; it is not about stilling your mind at least not by putting effort into it. The more you try to still it the louder it will get back at ya  :D
Invoke a state which is not desiering nor avoiding any particular mind states, just simple breathing in and relaxing your body, breathing out and relaxing your body, being aware of all that rise up like thoughts, emotions, body senasations wihtout engaging them. If you get engaged in your thoughts be aware of it without judging it and go back softly to being aware of the whole body breathing, in out and relaaxing.

Spine streight, sit cross legged, in chair, on a seiza bench or lye down. Establish daily practice for best result. Try for a week and see how it feels, if OK with you do a whole month, etc ...
If some problems arise which are overwhelming post in here, some members might have had exact same problem and some good advice how to overcome it.

There is lots out there to read about meditation yet meditation is nothing one reads about but actualy do it  :) It is an actual thing not intelectual. It is not about understanding it but gaining actual insight by withnessing the conditioned self.

Once again welcome aboard my friend :)

Friendly Che

rideforever

  • Guest
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2011, 04:40:21 AM »
Well, it doesn't sound like your current preparation is working !?

Why do you want to go into an intensive Vipassana centre ?  What will it give you do you think ?

Can you follow the breath ?  What happens when you try ?

Even if you do go on a 10-day intensive, there is no reason why you can't go for a one-day or weekend course in the immediate future ... and then afterwards you can do a 10-day. 

The big question : why aren't you looking at doing something smaller like a one day course or a weekend, or doing a less intensive retreat ?  Why do you want to go for the jugular ?


torgeir

  • Guest
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2011, 07:21:03 AM »
Brizzleben,

Meditating from home using books and tapes as your guide is like learning to play the violin at home using books and tapes. It is possible but certainly not ideal. The course atmosphere of the group effort, the daily interactions and personal follow up with your guide, and the necessary intensity of your efforts just cannot be replicated at home. It is better to attend the course without much self-help preparation. If you go in with a blank page you will not have to unlearn anything, and you will benefit more from the course.





Morning Dew

  • Guest
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2011, 08:15:46 AM »
There are also those who enter the course before establishing their own solo practice first and after the reatreat have very tought time sitting on their own because they miss the group and the helpers serving them ... they miss the protected environment.
This is a very bad trap.

Try and establish your solo practice first. If you have problems with it use this forum community as a help tool. All members are fab and helpful. Open a Journal thread like I did and journal your path. It is never too late to enter a protected retreat environment.
Meditation is not about being protected but facing the very fears we are cluttered with.

torgeir has some good point about learning the violin, and since I learned solo to play guitar I know of what he is talking when he sais to unlearn. I would not worry about this much since we already must unlearn 1000 things. To unlearn 1001 will not make a huge difference  ;)

It is of great importnace to become confortable with being alone in your practice (not lonely). The Sangha will not always be there around us to protect and look after us.

As rideforever said try a short 1-3 days course and see how it feels. There are people out there who went on the course unprepared (never strenghten/established their solo practice) and ended up traumatised, seriously psychologicaly damaged. This is not to scare you but to inform you of all the possinilities.

Look at it this way;
If you dive down slowly to lets say 30 metres deep and I pull you up very fast. What will happen? The decompression will pop your head off  ;D
All I am saying is consider to take it easy and first try to become confortable in sitting with your own self at home solo for a few month before hopping into retreats. They will always be there. No rush here mate. Arm your self with kindness and patience towards your deluded self.

Friendly Che

torgeir

  • Guest
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2011, 09:54:09 AM »
"No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned."
―Yoda to Luke


It is a misunderstanding that the ten day course will traumatize or will psychologically damage anyone. The Vipassana technique that one learns on the ten day course doesn’t add any trauma that is not already there. On the other hand, one will learn a technique which uncovers the contents of the unconscious mind, where any possible trauma that one might already have is stored. Following the technique allows the traumas to pass away by themselves, without reacting to them.

“Luke: What's in there?
Yoda: Only what you take with you.”


People of diverse backgrounds and with long histories of tragedy and personal trauma go on those courses in great numbers from all over the world without any meditation or professional psychotherapy as preparation. They just bring their own life experience as preparation, and still benefit greatly from the courses.

The course itself is all the preparation you need for learning how to deal with your underlying mental knots.

I'm therefore drawn to the idea of taking part in a ten day Vipassana retreat; to have a sustained experience of the practice and to allow myself time to quieten down.

Do I go for it, say in a few months, or should I spend longer preparing myself in some way?


Go for it. Life is short. Time is of the essence.





« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 10:12:59 AM by torgeir »

ivana

  • Guest
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2011, 10:00:06 AM »

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Content.
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2011, 08:40:26 AM »
Ben, I answered a little in the welcome thread. I repeat the advice here:

Given where you are living I recommend you go here: http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,1261.msg9443.html#msg9443

The Barn is an excellent place for an anxious meditator to begin retreat practice. Certainly more advisable than a Goenka retreat which may be too much for you.

There is a need to stop knowing meditation through reading, hearing others ideas and etc and begin knowing meditation (and yourself) through actually doing it.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

ivana

  • Guest
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2011, 09:21:19 AM »
"No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned."
―Yoda to Luke


It is a misunderstanding that the ten day course will traumatize or will psychologically damage anyone. The Vipassana technique that one learns on the ten day course doesn’t add any trauma that is not already there. On the other hand, one will learn a technique which uncovers the contents of the unconscious mind, where any possible trauma that one might already have is stored. Following the technique allows the traumas to pass away by themselves, without reacting to them.

“Luke: What's in there?
Yoda: Only what you take with you.”


People of diverse backgrounds and with long histories of tragedy and personal trauma go on those courses in great numbers from all over the world without any meditation or professional psychotherapy as preparation. They just bring their own life experience as preparation, and still benefit greatly from the courses.

The course itself is all the preparation you need for learning how to deal with your underlying mental knots.

I'm therefore drawn to the idea of taking part in a ten day Vipassana retreat; to have a sustained experience of the practice and to allow myself time to quieten down.

Do I go for it, say in a few months, or should I spend longer preparing myself in some way?


Go for it. Life is short. Time is of the essence.

I have to agree but with a huge notice that person who has a psychitriatic or psychological problems should not do it or first of all visite their doctor. A huge trauma could be opened which people are not able to sort by themself.

« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 09:47:20 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Content.
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2011, 09:43:42 AM »
...
It is a misunderstanding that the ten day course will traumatize or will psychologically damage anyone. The Vipassana technique that one learns on the ten day course doesn’t add any trauma that is not already there. On the other hand, one will learn a technique which uncovers the contents of the unconscious mind, where any possible trauma that one might already have is stored. Following the technique allows the traumas to pass away by themselves, without reacting to them.......

I'm not going to start a long discourse on this subject but you are painting a rose-tinted view. There are significant problems that emerge for many people undertaking Goenka ten day retreats. Suicides occur. The retreat is not for anyone and Goenka organisation warns against attendance for anyone with Psychiatric issues.

There is no such thing as "Vipassana Technique" or "Vipassana meditation", Vipassana or insight is a quality that emerges from good meditation.

There is no rush, time is not of the essence in isolation, there is also the question of doing things right.

To encourage someone who feels anxious to do a Goenka retreat without further understanding their situation or the fact that on a Goenka retreat you will not learn to meditate as the Buddha taught, with gentleness and discipline hand in hand as your friends on the path is irresponsible.

From what Ben has said he would be advised to start with a softer retreat, more gentle, less controlled and one that uses real Buddhist meditation techniques (anyone who wants to argue this I ask only one thing: tell me where in the Anapanasati Sutta it mentions your nose. Answer: it does not).

Quote from: Thanissaro Bikkhu
Mindfulness of In-&-Out Breathing

"Now how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit?

"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore.[1] Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

From: Anapanasati sutta at Access to Insight: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html

Ben, check out the Barn at Sharpham linked in my above post. It is close to where you live, reasonably priced and a very good introduction to retreat and facing yourself for someone who clearly has stated his anxiety.

Warmly,

Matthew
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 09:54:14 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

ivana

  • Guest
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2011, 11:57:38 AM »
Dear The Irreverent Buddhist
I do not want to argue only I want to know Where I should find a real Buddhist meditation technique?
Take care
Ivana


Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Content.
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2011, 11:58:46 AM »
Read  the Sutta linked above Ivana.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

ivana

  • Guest
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2011, 12:03:33 PM »
thanks

forterpride

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Goenka Vipassana
Re: Retreats; how soon is too soon?
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2016, 11:27:09 PM »
...
It is a misunderstanding that the ten day course will traumatize or will psychologically damage anyone. The Vipassana technique that one learns on the ten day course doesn’t add any trauma that is not already there. On the other hand, one will learn a technique which uncovers the contents of the unconscious mind, where any possible trauma that one might already have is stored. Following the technique allows the traumas to pass away by themselves, without reacting to them.......

I'm not going to start a long discourse on this subject but you are painting a rose-tinted view. There are significant problems that emerge for many people undertaking Goenka ten day retreats. Suicides occur. The retreat is not for anyone and Goenka organisation warns against attendance for anyone with Psychiatric issues.

There is no such thing as "Vipassana Technique" or "Vipassana meditation", Vipassana or insight is a quality that emerges from good meditation.

There is no rush, time is not of the essence in isolation, there is also the question of doing things right.

To encourage someone who feels anxious to do a Goenka retreat without further understanding their situation or the fact that on a Goenka retreat you will not learn to meditate as the Buddha taught, with gentleness and discipline hand in hand as your friends on the path is irresponsible.

From what Ben has said he would be advised to start with a softer retreat, more gentle, less controlled and one that uses real Buddhist meditation techniques (anyone who wants to argue this I ask only one thing: tell me where in the Anapanasati Sutta it mentions your nose. Answer: it does not).

Quote from: Thanissaro Bikkhu
Mindfulness of In-&-Out Breathing

"Now how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit?

"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore.[1] Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

From: Anapanasati sutta at Access to Insight: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html

Ben, check out the Barn at Sharpham linked in my above post. It is close to where you live, reasonably priced and a very good introduction to retreat and facing yourself for someone who clearly has stated his anxiety.

Warmly,

Matthew

Matthew...do you think it's still possible to reach full liberation by using "goenkas" method of awareness of body sensations even though it isn't a "budhist" technique? Now i'm worried about how im supposed to be doing this technique. Please advise . Thank you for your time.