Author Topic: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear  (Read 8541 times)

thomas

  • Member
Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« on: January 19, 2011, 03:50:23 PM »
Hi.

I've asked a few Questions in th past week. hopefully this will be the last.

I've wanted to go on a retreat for a while now. Last year I booked and then cancelled one. The year before I was also very tempted. My reason for not going in the end was that I was afraid. Simple fear.

I dont want to go mad.

I know a few people who've done it and all say they dealt with some pretty severe things and one of them left early and seemed to have a really bad time, he didn't want to explain it but he gave me the gist. The others seem to have benefitted from their experiences.

Then I read that other post about a traumatic experience on a retreat... and suicides etc and it confirms my fears of what can happen. Almost nightmarish.

The goenka courses are all 10 days for begginners. Does anyone offer shorter less hard core ones??

Anybody have any suggestions about this? I feel like I shouldn't go if I have any fears


back to the breath... and back to the breath....  and back to the breath.... and back to the breath..... and back to the breath

chintan

  • Maun
  • Member
    • Vipassana - Goenka
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 04:48:42 PM »
Dear Thomas,

If you have any history of clinical depression or have taken medication for any psychological / neurological disorder you should not go. I personally benefited immensely from the retreat but have since then heard of and come across blogs of people who had psychological problems during and after the retreat.

Couple of things which come to my mind - I am shit scared of bungee jumping and had an opportunity once to try it out but could not gather the courage to go up an do it - thankfully its only a thrill which I am missing. If it really mattered to me maybe I would have actually done it. Analyze your fear and see of what nature it is.

Second are you practicing on your own - there are enough instructions on this group which can help you start on your own. Finally remember that as and when you go for a retreat you can always walk out when you want to...


With Metta.

torgeir

  • Guest
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2011, 06:33:04 PM »

---------------------------------------------
“Luke: What's in there?
Yoda: Only what you take with you.”
―Jedi Master Yoda to Luke Skywalker

---------------------------------------------

Thomas,
It isn’t advisable to attend any kind of retreat if you don’t have the commitment to stay until the end. There are lots of self-help books, web-info and web-courses available which will benefit you to a certain extent and from the comfort of your armchair. Nothing is quite like attending an organized retreat away from home, though. The fear you are feeling is a big mental block lying deep inside your mind-body. The Vipassana course will help you uncover your mental blocks and you will learn a technique where they will start dissolving by themselves, which will make your life much easier. That is why many people have been helped by those courses. Some people take prescribed medication to suppress their mental blocks. Others self medicate on alcohol or recreational drugs. Most people self medicate on TV, film, theatre, music, entertainment, bungee-jumping, sports, work, food, sex, meditation, spiritual and religious practices in order to feel better for a little while, or at least long enough to suppress their own mental blocks for a while. Uncovering the pain of life that everyone feels inside, which is what happens on a Vipassana ten days intensive, can sometimes be overwhelming. What has been your worst reaction in the past? How have you dealt with your mental complexes? Do you cope by feeling frightened or anxious, with feelings welling up while you go about your daily activities? Or do you start behaving in any kind of antisocial way, like do you have a history of feeling suicidal or self-harming? If the former, you will benefit greatly from completing the ten days with Goenka. If the latter, you are probably better off trying something else.




rideforever

  • Guest
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011, 07:09:30 PM »
Hey.  Well you can download not only the instructions but the entire discourses by Goenka online.  That is 11 hours of Goenka talking, one hour a day.  And you can try his technique at home. 

Here's a link to my Goenka light retreat done at a non-Goenka centre (an organised retreat with no teaching but some support) :

http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,1298.0.html

Go easy !


Morning Dew

  • Guest
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011, 11:21:48 PM »
Quote
Uncovering the pain of life that everyone feels inside, which is what happens on a Vipassana ten days intensive, can sometimes be overwhelming.

I agree with the rest and will only add one thing;¨
what ever reatreat you take try and give your self at least half a year of practicing simple Shamatha before entering such intense retreats. I will do a retreat in July this year which is more than a year of daily Shamatha I am doing at home once/twice or trice  a day.

Get to know your self a bit first before sliceing your own stomach open. I am not sure what others experienced on this retreat but I had souch unplesent experiances by just doing Shamtha daily for an hour or two. I have a traumatised background and taking it easy is the way to go.
Relax into it.

You will know when the time is right. If afraid than get to know that fear first by relaxing into it first. Try to do Shamatha first.

Friendly Che

kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 02:27:36 AM »
Hey Thomas,

I'm also someone who has greatly benefited from Goenka courses, and I am of the view that some fear (or rather, "respect") is the healthiest way to enter a course. A retreat can be quite physically and emotionally challenging, and it is wise to accept that fact going in. Respect the obstacles, and be ready to face them all. And have faith in yourself and your practice that everything will become fuel for your progress.

With that said, I think you should wait. Your fear of psychological trauma makes me think that you sense that possibility in you. Therefore, respect that possibility, and don't go. There are many, many options for retreat that are much less intensive. If you say where you are located, you will receive recommendations from members of this forum.

I also want to second Che's advice:

what ever reatreat you take try and give your self at least half a year of practicing simple Shamatha before entering such intense retreats. I will do a retreat in July this year which is more than a year of daily Shamatha I am doing at home once/twice or trice  a day.

In fact, I would say one or two years is a good amount of time to simply be with yourself on the cushion. Sit, relax, watch yourself, watch your breath, and allow yourself to relax into the posture. Be gentle. 

When the time is right, you'll know.

With metta,
KN
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

budo

  • Guest
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 03:26:16 AM »
I don't think the fear is with the Goenka retreat, but the fear in control you have over yourself. People don't just "lose it" only on Goenka retreats, they can "lose it" on any kind of retreat.

Here is some things you can do, which is what I've developed for myself, which I think would be a good transition into any retreat:

First goal: Samatha Meditation daily morning and night 30 minutes minimum each, for one month without breaking the routine once. (If you break the routine, you have to start the goal over).

Second goal: In addition to the first goal, on Sunday or Saturday (whichever is less busier for you), sit and meditate in a room for two hours straight. Do this for one month (4 weekends) without breaking the routine once.

Third goal: Same as second, but now do this for three hours.

Fourth goal: Same as third, but for 4 hours.

Fifth goal: In addition to fourth goal, on Sunday or Saturday, do not do anything that stimulates the senses and no communication. No television, no video games, no computers, no talking, no telephone, no nothing, turn off all electronics. Do this for the whole day, from waking up to sleeping. (This is what may make some people "lose it").

Sixth goal: In addition to the fifth goal, only eat two light vegetarian meals on the same weekend day you have chosen.

Seventh goal: Do this for 4 months, on the weekend day you have chosen (either Saturday or Sunday).

Eight goal: Take three days off from work, and do the sixth goal for three days at home.

Ninth goal: Same as eigth goal, but do this for one week.

Tenth goal: Same as ninth goal, but for 10 days.

Now you're ready for a 3 day goenka retreat, and after you've done the three day goenka retreat, you can move up to the 10 day.

This can take a 6 months to achieve, or a many years, depending on how long it takes you to meet a goal.

I hope that helps.

note: By weekend day, I mean Saturday or Sunday, not both. And I only say weekend day because those are the days most people don't work. If you work on those days, then choose a day you do not work on.

Budo
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 03:57:54 AM by budo »

Venetian

  • Guest
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 11:38:01 AM »
Great answers, I agree that the progressive approach to meditation is the best way.

And this is confirmed by someone who resisted 30 hours in a Goenka retreat before apologetically "running away"...  ;D

thomas

  • Member
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 05:48:39 PM »
Again - I read the lot. All comments having an impact on me. I think it has confirmed what i already was aware of. I cant do it until i feel comfortable and not too much fear about it. I need more experience meditating.

i'm ina position where i have the time to do a retreat, hence thinking about it. i'll put it out of my mind for now I think.

i currently mediatate every morning from about 5.30-6. Have done for almost 4 months (not long). I am consistant with that. I'll try and add an evening session soon. I like Budo's targets.. regardless of a retreat.

Kidnovice - I'm from UK
rideforever - will look in to that wheni i'm more prepared. good idea
back to the breath... and back to the breath....  and back to the breath.... and back to the breath..... and back to the breath

ivana

  • Guest
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2011, 06:06:18 PM »
I cant do it until i feel comfortable and not too much fear about it.

You can do it if you want it and if you are healthy.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2011, 10:33:35 PM »
Do it when you feel very comfortable with it. Until then sit in Calm Abiding.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2011, 11:03:26 PM »
There is Amaravati Center, in the Thai Forest tradition. I believe it is run like Abhayagiri in California (its sister center). If so, its not so much a place to go on retreat, as much as a place to visit, possibly for a few weeks, where you can practice intensively while also doing work practice and being part of the community. You might love it.

That is one possibility, but hopefully more recommendations will come from the UK folk.

Metta,
KN
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Vipassana retreat - Goenka - Fear
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2011, 08:01:19 AM »
Amaravati is a fine place.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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