Author Topic: Can you realize the full benefits of meditation if you do not go on a ten day re  (Read 2746 times)

Ja192827

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Hi everyone, I just signed up for this discussion group. I have been contemplating attending a 10 day Vipassana A.N. Goenka meditation Retreat. I would like for meditation to help to increase the way I handle stress.  However, I was wondering if all things being equal, if you compared two people, one who took the course and one who didn't. At the end of a year, if both of them meditated Daily, would the one who took the course be much better off than the one who didn't take the course? Is it necessary to take this type of course to achieve the maximum benefits of meditation? I know it couldn't hurt, but it is difficult for me to take that much time off and was hoping I could improve my ability to handle stress by meditating consistently, reading books on the subject, and watching the videos by S.N. Goenka on YouTube which are shown at the course.Thanks in advance for your input.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 12:10:05 PM by Ja192827 »

Middleway

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    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
It depends on your determination and discipline to practice daily. 10 day retreat did jump start my practice before which it was pretty much non-existent. I could hardly sit for ten minutes. I suggest you follow the meditation instructions on the home page and practice for a month. You can then decide about attending meditation retreats.

Yes, meditation is beneficial in many ways and there is a significant literature out there documenting the same.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Ja192827

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It sounds like from what you are saying that if one is able to get into the routine on their own, at the end of the day, the benefits should be the same as a ten day retreat. Seems like the retreat is the best option for those who would like to have a "jumpstart" as you stated. The only thing is that I keep on putting off the daily meditation, so maybe obligating myself by the retreat is the best way to go. Thank you.

Goofaholix

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To me it's a bit like asking can you become a good driver without ever leaving the driveway.

It's hard to learn to do it correctly and get some momentum going without an intensive retreat of some kind, and even after years or decades of practice people still find retreats invaluable.

10 day Goenka retreats are not the only option, one can find shorter Insight Meditation retreats or stay at a Buddhist monastery.

frogprod

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Goenka Vipassana is not the only form of meditation by any means.... but if this is the method you wish to learn and practice, yes- by all means the only real way to learn it is to take a 10-day course

it really does take a full 10-day course to learn the technique - plus, the 10-day course gives you practice, practice, practice - something you simply cannot duplicate on your own

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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.... I would like for meditation to help to increase the way I handle stress. 

... Is it necessary to take this type of course to achieve the maximum benefits of meditation? I know it couldn't hurt, ...

Hi Ja,

Welcome to the forum.

It is not necessary to go on a retreat though it might be helpful. You say you know it couldn't hurt. How do you know this?

You want to deal with stress better. The S.N Goenka retreats can be very stressful. Actually it can hurt. There is always some underlying cause of stress - the pressure cooker approach of Goenka retreats may not be the best environment to explore this.

As Goofaholix and frogpond point out Goenka Vipassana is neither the only form of meditation or retreat available.

On the homepage there is a Shamatha or "Calm-abiding" meditation instruction that balances awareness of body and breath with calming/relaxation. You might benefit from exploring the technique, which you can do in the comfort of your own home or wherever in your environment is suited to meditation.

Even if you go ahead with the Goenka retreat, where you will be practising a different technique, I would propose Shamatha to be a very wise preparation.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew

PS you can use the technique of calm-abiding to quickly ground yourself and de-stress at any point in the day when stress arises - not just when you are on the cushion mediating.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 11:46:28 PM by Matthew »
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Ja192827

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I just thought that Vipassana was considered to be the best and most popular one, but it sounds like it would be worthwhile to check out other forms, which I will start with on this website.  I decided to not attend the retreat for now, as the main reason why I wanted to do it was to be able to build up my "meditation muscle" to handle stress better. Thanks for your comments.

Goofaholix

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I just thought that Vipassana was considered to be the best and most popular one,

Goenka's Vipassana is the most organised and accessible one, whether it's best depends on what works for you.  There are several other Vipassana techniques and teachers.

Ja192827

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Thank you.

mdr

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Hi everyone, I just signed up for this discussion group. I have been contemplating attending a 10 day Vipassana A.N. Goenka meditation Retreat. I would like for meditation to help to increase the way I handle stress.  However, I was wondering if all things being equal, if you compared two people, one who took the course and one who didn't. At the end of a year, if both of them meditated Daily, would the one who took the course be much better off than the one who didn't take the course? Is it necessary to take this type of course to achieve the maximum benefits of meditation? I know it couldn't hurt, but it is difficult for me to take that much time off and was hoping I could improve my ability to handle stress by meditating consistently, reading books on the subject, and watching the videos by S.N. Goenka on YouTube which are shown at the course.Thanks in advance for your input.

Ja, it can hurt. Honestly, (i apologize for any eventual un-PCness, it's not mal-intended), i wouldn't suggest 10 day retreat in Goenka tradition to anyone born in the West after 1970ies. Let me explain:  myself, i am an Eastern European female, and i was born 1970. I've been living and working both in the west and in the east (far east included). The methods to which we in the east (eastern europe and far east) are subjugated while growing up are way harsher and stricter compared to our western counterparts. I presume you heard of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Hymn_of_the_Tiger_Mother and other books that dwell on the matter. So, what i've been noticing over and over again is that younger people raised in the so-called free world do not react well to harsh discipline to which we are used. I did Goenka retreat and for me it was good, i am not sure it's for everyone though - especially if one is raised with all the input about "choices, free- will, right to this and that." Once again, i have no intention to open some heated discussion, take my opinion for what it is: one person's opinion (obviously conditioned by her own experience and worldview).

 

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