Author Topic: A Question About The Goenka Technique  (Read 2620 times)

Alexander

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A Question About The Goenka Technique
« on: March 31, 2014, 03:21:18 PM »
Hello everyone,

I've been lurking for a while but here I am in virtual person...

I've recently returned from my second 10 day course in the Goenka tradition. I feel I am fairly familiar with the basics. This course, however, there was one particular question that kept returning to me and I was hoping perhaps it could be answered here.

When observing sensations how can you be sure that the act of observing does not produce or change the nature of the sensations. Therefore, how do you know if the experiences one has are due to observing reality by remaining equanimous or some kind of observer effect?

I asked the assistant teacher this and he said to experiment with an area I was suspicious of. If I could make it turn hot or cold then it was most likely a false sensation.  However, I should only use this method sparingly.

I did not feel this was an adequate response as this has not resolved the question through practising it. In fact I have become more doubtful of the technique because of it and am leaning towards a more receptive approach of observing sensations.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Alexander

Re: A Question About The Goenka Technique
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 04:23:38 PM »
Quote
When observing sensations how can you be sure that the act of observing does not produce or change the nature of the sensations.

If at all the act of observation produces sensation then observe the new sensations with equanimity. What's wrong are you finding in the process if it creates New sensation?

What do you mean changing the nature of sensation? A pleasant sensation becomes unpleasant?  there are only 3 nature of sensation. Pleasant,  unpleasant, neutral

If your act of observation creates New sensation then that is the new reality of the moment.  right?  then you r refusing to accept reality of this moment because its not the same as the moment before. You are refusing to accept change without knowing.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 04:34:52 PM by siddharthgode »

Alexander

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Re: A Question About The Goenka Technique
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 04:31:29 PM »
I suppose I'm concerned that I can't tell whether I'm observing reality or merely my mind causing different sensations in the body.

Are you saying that it doesn't matter and I should just observe these anyway with equanimity...

Re: A Question About The Goenka Technique
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 04:36:02 PM »
K I added a new paragraph to last post after you posted sorry.

Vivek

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Re: A Question About The Goenka Technique
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 04:54:56 PM »
I believe that up to a certain degree the observer effect does apply. The basic nature regarding the feelings/sensations which can be observed as well as verified through one's own experience is that: if you keep reacting to the sensations, they increase in intensity; on the other hand if you relax and allow the sensations to be by letting go of any wanting to control them (which is what "being equanimous" means), then you will see that the sensations slowly start dissipating and this helps you see their basic nature of impermanence. By continued practice of relaxing and allowing the sensations to be (and it does take some work to really build this skill), it will be clarified to you whether you are creating the sensations or are they just there without any control from your part.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Alexander

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Re: A Question About The Goenka Technique
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 05:02:22 PM »
I have experienced the sensations dissipating when I relax but why does that mean that this is their true nature? Could it be that this is another layer of illusion due to the observational intervention?

I believe I practice the technique correctly and have had the experiences one would expect but this idea still persists on the intellectual level!

Re: A Question About The Goenka Technique
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2014, 05:18:11 PM »
Great,  so you have experienced desolation of gross sensations. Only when they r observed with a equanimus mind.

Don't worry about observing reality as of now. Observe your breath and mind purifying with each desolation of sanghara.

Only purified mind can observe reality At the subtle level.

Vivek

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Re: A Question About The Goenka Technique
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2014, 05:44:35 PM »
Quote
I have experienced the sensations dissipating when I relax but why does that mean that this is their true nature? Could it be that this is another layer of illusion due to the observational intervention?
The true nature of sensations is that they are always arising and passing away. This observation of their basic nature has two main purposes: 1) dismantling the deep, unconscious belief of their permanence as well as removal of craving/aversion towards them and 2) thereby, the cleansing of the unconscious mind of sankharas, the deep unconscious tendencies. This leads to liberation.

Regarding your query on observational intervention: why do you have to assume that observer effect will create another layer of illusion? Isn't it just your assumption based on your understanding of how everything works at the deepest level of your mind? Isn't it possible that that understanding is fairly limited at this point? Can you let go of all such assumptions and gently return to your object of meditation? Can you allow yourself to see that there is no need to hold on to such assumptions, set them aside and continue with the practice? Remember that doubt is one of the chief hindrances in the path of meditation. If one keeps holding on to one's own doubts and intellectual fabrications then there will be no progress in the path. The way to deal with doubts is mainly, to see them as hindrances, let them go, relax/let go and come back to your object of meditation. Intellectual discussion will not resolve the doubts, only observation and true insight will do. 
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Alexander

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Re: A Question About The Goenka Technique
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2014, 06:50:04 PM »
Thank you for your answers. I agree; perhaps I may have too much doubt.

The other question I had which I asked the assistant teacher was as to why we do not observe all the six senses when meditating?

Thanks

A

Re: A Question About The Goenka Technique
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2014, 06:16:01 AM »
When practicing vipassana we are working at the sensation level where the reactions of all six senses take place.

We don't start observing each senses individually in the beginning of the practice is because it's hard to be aware of the processes that happens at their respective consciousness. Take ear consciousness for example. You hear something bad. By the time one has become aware of whole process there is already sensations arised in the body and mind has already reacted with abortion. When this happens it's very hard to isolate each individual process that took place in it.

The basic necessity for observing each individual consciousness is to have a non reactive and still mind. For that reason we work on these two qualities before entering senses.

 

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