Author Topic: Fresh after Goenka Vipassana 10 day course  (Read 1028 times)

monami

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Goenka Vipassana
Fresh after Goenka Vipassana 10 day course
« on: March 03, 2017, 09:34:38 PM »
Hello

I am not sure if there are many Goenka Vipassana meditators here, but I will ask. I completed my first course at the end of January and I am now convinced that it did have an impact on my life. Not sudden, but subtle, and I would definitely want to have more of that effect. But now the problems start.. I have managed to sit maybe 3 times for 1 hour since then, and once for 15 minutes..

Please feel free to answer any question from my list, those are just all that accumulated in my head since the course.

1. Motivation and discipline

I am a kind of person about whom people say that she is disciplined. When I decide on a goal, I follow it. I decided to burn fat, I had a flat belly after few months. I decided I will run half marathon, I did. I decided to study a language, I skipped going out and went home in a boring way to complete my online course.

But with Vipassana it does not work. It does not work for the simple reason - I motivate myself by creating negative emotions in myself. What I do I sometimes push myself to the point where I feel that if I do not accomplish what I decided for myself I will die. Often before high achievements in my life I had to go through a kind of mental breakdown because of that habit.

So of course, I cannot do it with meditation. This is far from equanimous. As the result I have almost not meditated at all. The problem is not finding time (this I can push myself to), but as soon as I sit down, I have a huge urge to get up. I am annoyed that I want to get up, I want to push myself to stay, then I am annoyed that I am pushing myself, then again I want to get up.. during the course it was easier as everything was organised, there was a structure, and I had a reason why not to get up. But here.. how do you motivate yourself?

2. Baby steps

Regarding the above -  are there any baby steps to start with? Maybe I am just trying to do too much of hard core (hard core in my scale :P) from the start, that's why I am failing? I have to say that right after Vipassana I did not meditate as I was travelling and next I had terrible flu (tried meditating but just got discouraged). Maybe that is the reason?

  • Shall I just keep on forcing myself and everything will become easier itself?
  • Is it a good idea to give up after 15 minutes when I feel that I cannot stand it anymore? Maybe allowing myself shorter times would make it easier to get to the older state? Or would it rather make me even more impatient?
  • During the retreat I had a chair due to a knee problem. I also noticed that beside knee problem I have a back problem. So what I do I just sit on the bed, leaning with my back against a wall, my legs straight in front of me. Am I working against myself because of that?
  • Often I have the urge to open my eyes. It even feels easier to continue once I have the control of having the eyes open back. Is it a good practice to meditate with open eyes?
  • How bad is it to check the time while meditating (opening the eyes of course)

3. Self evaluation

What happens to me often is that I want to know how well I am doing. I would like to have a measure. I am trying to hold on to random signs, e.g. how long can I stay before checking the time for the first time, or how much my mind wonders, or what is the ratio of gross feelings vs subtle feelings, or how fast can I get to first body swipe.. I guess this is exactly what I should not be paying attention to, but do you have any mental dialogue of how to explain it to myself?

Would be grateful to hear some of your experiences..

stillpointdancer

  • stillpointdancer
  • Member
  • Retired teacher, deepening understanding of Dharma
    • Insight meditation
    • Exploring the results of 30 years of meditating
Re: Fresh after Goenka Vipassana 10 day course
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2017, 10:19:44 AM »
1. Motivation and discipline. A matter of balance, where enjoyment of meditation has to balance out the negative aspects. I was lucky in that I had played around with meditation for many years before starting formal meditation with a group, so I had some fun practices to fall back on.
2. Which moves on to baby steps. I could mix this formal practice with some of the fun stuff, and gently progress, rather than fighting through this stage. I also had the confidence to change the length of meditations when by myself, knowing that I wouldn't let the practice gradually fade away to nothing.
 Over the years I've had to change meditation posture to take into account deteriorating legs (circulation problems). What you describe sounds fine. Chair, bed, mat, none of it really matters. If you can get a posture which allows a relaxed but attentive meditation, you can then concentrate on the meditation itself rather than worrying about your body.
I found that mudras, or hand positions, can be something to concentrate on body-wise. Eyes are up to you. I find it easier to close my eyes with vipassana meditation which incorporates visualization practice, but have my eyes open for 'just sitting' meditation.
3.I had this problem. I use ten minutes or so of mindfulness of breathing to get my mind into a state where I can change to another meditation, being 'in the groove' as it were, ready for a twenty minute stint of something else. Although my teachers didn't approve of my terminology, I had to 'set my mind up' for a meditation.

The only thing I would add, is to make your meditation experience as enjoyable and interesting as possible. I couldn't understand the people at the Buddhist center saying how much they disliked meditation, seeing it as a chore, until I understood that they hadn't allowed themselves this aspect of meditation.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Manohar Shrestha

  • Member
  • Let's explore our mind and body
    • Vippasana ( Sayagi u Ba Khin tradition) student
Re: Fresh after Goenka Vipassana 10 day course
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2017, 03:50:32 PM »
1. Motivation and discipline

Vippasana is "Yatha bhuta nana dassana", that means observe as it is with equanimous mind. As a result, meditators' negativeness gradually decreases and transform them into better person.  This could be motivating fact for beginners.


2. Baby steps

Vippasana meditators are not supposed to make expectations, the process works naturally. Obviously, it is difficult to mediate while travelling or during sickness. Besides formal sittings, meditators can practice Anapansati (observation of breath) whenever possible in any posture.

You are suggested to force at moderate level only. The enlightened one has given an example of strings in a musical instrument, its should be neither very loose nor very tight for good music. Similarly, you can not train a wild horse with force only.

If you can practice for 15 minutes only, just accept it. Try to practice bit more next time. Even if you can not practice at all, do not get disheartened. Try next time again.

Allocate a small space where you will practice meditation only. This is important to have good vibration during meditation.

During formal sittings you are required to close your eyes. Gradually, try to sit on comfortable cross legs position for better results.

3. Self evaluation

In my opinion, Vippasana meditators should not focus much on self evaluation. As a meditator practice regularly, she/he will notice positive  results naturally.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 04:13:15 PM by Manohar Shrestha »

raushan

  • Staff
  • from India
    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: Fresh after Goenka Vipassana 10 day course
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2017, 12:53:21 PM »
Hi monami,

Quote
What I do I sometimes push myself to the point where I feel that if I do not accomplish what I decided for myself I will die. Often before high achievements in my life I had to go through a kind of mental breakdown because of that habit. This is far from equanimous.

Quote
Shall I just keep on forcing myself and everything will become easier itself?
You should stay with the feelings that you are trying to  push yourself, that you want to get up. Try to be mindful of thought what's happening when you want to get up.
Getting up isn't the solution but don't focus too hard on your thoughts and feelings. Focus on your sensation of breathing this may calm you down and bring into the present.

Quote
Is it a good idea to give up after 15 minutes when I feel that I cannot stand it anymore? Maybe allowing myself shorter times would make it easier to get to the older state? Or would it rather make me even more impatient?

I don't think so. I don't think there is perfect mind state to meditate. Your mind will have all kind of states that's is Anicca. Try to be mindful in all the states.

Quote
Often I have the urge to open my eyes. It even feels easier to continue once I have the control of having the eyes open back. Is it a good practice to meditate with open eyes?

As a beginner I think you should practice with closed eyes as it helps to focus. Also, it depends on the technique of meditation. Some techniques can be practiced with open eyes easily.   

Quote
How bad is it to check the time while meditating (opening the eyes of course)

Try to use the timer with alert tone for whatever period you want to sit in meditation. Don't be hard on yourself if you checked the time few times. It's fine. Important thing is you are practicing it regularly and daily. These doubts will slowly get cleared after few days.

Quote
I am trying to hold on to random signs, e.g. how long can I stay before checking the time for the first time, or how much my mind wonders, or what is the ratio of gross feelings vs subtle feelings, or how fast can I get to first body swipe

I don't think Goenka Jee taught this way. He told your task is to observe what ever senasation comes not to measure the ratio. It doesn't matter you do the body swipe fast or slow. You just try to be equanimous. Initially it can be difficult.

dharma bum

  • Member
  • Certified Zen Master (second degree black belt)
    • vipassana
Re: Fresh after Goenka Vipassana 10 day course
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 02:11:01 PM »
after my first 10-day retreat, i had similar problems - part of the problem was that the memory of the retreat is fresh in the mind and your expectations are that you will slip into that state easily, which doesn't happen. so you're really not expecting to have so much trouble focusing. it took me a few months/years to get back into the right state of mind to meditate regularly. one way to do this is to remind myself at the beginning of the session that the purpose of the session is to sit through the session and that i will be distracted, but i have to persevere. i use the same trick when i exercise. i tell myself in the beginning that i will be tempted to quit, but i have to finish it regardless of the pain, distractions etc. it seems to help when you set your expectations realistically.
Mostly ignorant

Laurent

  • Member
  • don't feed the troll
Re: Fresh after Goenka Vipassana 10 day course
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2017, 01:02:41 PM »
As long as you do not generate craving or aversion while observing sensations, you are developping equanimity.
So, even when you can not meditate more than 15 min, don't judge yourself and don't feel disappointed by this, continue to do what you can and you will notice that later you are naturally able to stay more long.
If you are not able to feel clear sensations on the body, practice anapanasati for some time.
At a time, it is also possible that you need a new 10 day course to refresh your comprehension of the technique.

Metta.