Author Topic: Jogging  (Read 10515 times)

frepi

Jogging
« on: December 27, 2008, 06:49:48 PM »
I used to jog quite often several years ago. Back and knee pain have brought it to a stop. A week ago , just after my meditation , I decided to go out for a short run around the block. I was amased how easy it went. Not that I was performing well: I had to walk often because I am not really "in shape". But it was still easy because my head was cleaned. When I used to run often , I was always mesuring, evaluating and judging my "performance": am I running fast enough ? That hurts, I should stop but I must go on or else I would be a failure, etc... This time, my running was calm, mindfull. I felt pain but accepted it without judgment and reverting to walking was done without my usual self criticism. This opens a whole new point of view and I am looking forward to start jogging again.

Matthew

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Re: Jogging
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2008, 09:38:11 PM »
Wow. That's a great discovery. That opens up a whole new aspect of how meditation will change your life. I have no doubt the improved physical fitness and resulting posture will also feed back into your meditation.

This habit of measuring and judging is one we are habituated into and your right it interferes with performance. Top sportsman "in the zone" don't do it

Matthew
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mindful1983

Re: Jogging
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2008, 10:47:20 AM »
way to go! when i try exercising calmly and being mindful, i notice i'm a lot stronger. I can pace myself better and feel/listen to my body so that I know if im overdoing something that would cause too much muscle stress. we also have more control over the subtle movements and proper form we need, because we really notice if were doing something wrong.

deanmw

Re: Jogging
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2008, 01:29:22 PM »
Fantastic. That sort of mindfulness is also important in yoga - it's not about getting into the perfect pose, it's about how it feels - i.e. "exploring your edges" to open up the body without causing pain or injury.

I recently met someone who was an amateur tri-athlete. She was in a bad way in terms of spinal and joint problems. She related a story of how she once kept running by stength of will, despite excrutiating pain in her foot. Only at the end of the race did she tend her foot, to find it covered in blood  - she had been running with a piece of broken glass in her shoe that had become imbedded into her sole. I wasn't all that surprised that her body was now a bit of a wreck.

mindful1983

Re: Jogging
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2008, 06:28:19 PM »
painful story! i guess in sports/exercise, as in life, the more we dont pay attention to things that could be wrong, and continue doing them, it really bites us in the end. i guess most injuries are caused this way.

frepi

Re: Jogging
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2008, 06:42:24 PM »
Ouch!!!
Sometimes there is such a thing as being "too much" in shape. I am not sure who is in the worst shape between the obese and the triathlete.

Paul

Re: Jogging
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2009, 10:04:26 AM »
Nice topic!  So are you jogging now Frepi?  I agree totally with what you say about yoga deanmw.  Aikido is also an excellent physical practice to accompany vipassana, there's a lot of mindfulness and closeness to your body in it.  It is also the only martial art that has the goal of not hurting your assailant and restoring harmony which for me gives it the philosophical edge over the other martial arts.

alex

Re: Jogging
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2009, 07:30:46 AM »
I, too, once discovered that jogging actually is a mental thing. Before my yearly retreat, I had recently started and troubles keeping up running for barely 15 minutes. No exercise during the retreat. But after it, I easily managed to run a full hour, and even a 10 minute sprint at the end (because I couldn't believe it) was no big problem.

But a word of warning: Not only in sports can you ignore the signals of your body and thereby damage it. A teacher of mine ruined his knee during his 3 year retreat, trying to sit the lotus position. "Pain, pain, fear to go to hospital, pain, fear" ... he was observing it all the time without reacting. Today he can no longer sit on the floor, and of course neither go jogging.

Matthew

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Re: Jogging
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2009, 08:54:11 AM »
This is a fundamental problem of equating bodily phenomena with Sanskharas - sometimes they are just plain physical injury and the false idea that bodily manifestations are Sanskharas means people try and avoid their awareness rather than responding to it with their inner wisdom - which says if your knee always hurts there is something that needs attention.

Matthew
« Last Edit: March 06, 2009, 08:54:34 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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frepi

Re: Jogging
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2009, 04:00:27 PM »
You just nailed it. This is one of Goenka's affirmation that bothers me. This leads to the belief that if you remain equanimous to every sensations, you cannot get sick or injured. To me, this is nonsense.

Matthew

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Re: Jogging
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2009, 08:50:19 PM »
You just nailed it. This is one of Goenka's affirmation that bothers me. This leads to the belief that if you remain equanimous to every sensations, you cannot get sick or injured. To me, this is nonsense.

 :o Frepi, you seem to be getting where I am coming from :) :) :) Matthew

ps More importantly people with real physical injury are learning to ignore it and making a habit from that.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2009, 08:52:29 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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alex

Re: Jogging
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2009, 10:17:46 AM »
ps More importantly people with real physical injury are learning to ignore it and making a habit from that.

Obviously this Sankhara theory is just another belief besides Nirvana, Hell or Allah. Meaning there is an interpretation with some truth in it. But you are exaggerating now: What you say might happen, but only to the most devoted, of which few exist.

Like the tri-athlete deanmw mentioned: These are exceptions. It is a logical error to deduce general rules from exceptions. On the contrary: Sports and meditation will help most people to listen more to their bodies.

Did you never have any pain when meditating? On retreats my knees and back hurt regularly, the later the hour, the more. At times so badly that I have been fantasizing about needing an ambulance to carry me from my cushion directly to the hospital. But in retrospect it all turned out to be pain without consequences. Maybe it's just tension or pressure, intensely felt. BTW: I had a medical check-up at the doctor, just to be sure my bones and joints are still intact ;).

alex

Matthew

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Re: Jogging
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2009, 08:13:51 AM »
Alex,

I am not deducing general rules from exceptions. Your logic does not follow.

The general rule is that on Goenka courses people are taught that Sanskharas arise as feeling and sensation in the body, that these are manifestations of mental phenomena and that paying attention to them heals the underlying cause.

If this understanding is right, as Frepi indicates in his post, then people are, as I said, being trained ignore the awareness, expecting some shift and resolution of underlying phenomena they look for that and don't go to the doctor.

I'm glad you went to the doctor and got a clean bill of health. My personal experience is that physical problems which first became manifest in meditation later proved to be signs of severe untreated trauma injury that has left me now permanently disabled. I was very aware there was a real physical problem but the doctors did not believe me or really look for it and this lack is what lead to my being severely injured.

When your body hurts it can just be a sign you have been sitting too long in a position you are unaccustomed to, a sign of physical or mental blockages manifesting or something more serious. The equation of Sanskharas with manifestation of underlying mental phenomena is misdleading if it is indeed taught as I understand it.

Matthew
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frepi

Re: Jogging
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2009, 06:27:35 PM »
The way I see it, the observation of sensations allow to remove or at least diminish the emotional response to physical pain, allowing you to see what the real physical pain is. I personnally manage to reduce felt pain on a few areas in my body. There is still pain, but the sensation is greatly reduced, much more bearebal.
For me, Goenka's teaching apply to psychological realm much more than to the physical realm.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 06:29:04 PM by frepi »

alex

Re: Jogging
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2009, 12:21:56 PM »
I am not deducing general rules from exceptions. Your logic does not follow.
There is no such thing as "my" logic. Logic is universal, it can be present or absent, but not individual.


Your statement, which I call a rule, was:

Quote
More importantly people with real physical injury are learning to ignore it and making a habit from that.
[...and...]
people are, as I said, being trained ignore the awareness, expecting some shift and resolution of underlying phenomena they look for that and don't go to the doctor.

You did not just subtly suggest the possibility, or opinion, you claimed it as fact. This is a strong accusation. So, can you back up your claim? The mere existence of the Sankhara theory doesn't prove anything, neither do single examples.

Hundreds of thousands of people every year visit Goenka courses. If what you claim happened with regularity, shouldn't some of them already be in wheel chairs, and this fact be known?

Furthermore, my experience differ. Goenka meditation raises the awareness of bodily sensations (this coincides with your experience, that you suddenly felt injury which might have been there for many years). Only if I allege great stupidity I can imagine a student not doing anything about his pain but watching, and thereby getting used to is after a while (that's why Vipassana can be helpful with chroncal pain).

And I've never heard that a student was advised not to go to the doctor. This alone would be irresponsible. Thus it can be considered offensive if you generally insinuate it to the Goenka group.

These are all indications against your statement.


Quote
The general rule is that on Goenka courses people are taught that Sanskharas arise as feeling and sensation in the body, that these are manifestations of mental phenomena and that paying attention to them heals the underlying cause.

Goenka states on a video that nobody knows exactly how meditation works. That said, he gives some possible explanations, amongst them this popular Sankhara theory. (This is as far as I remember).

Whether it's official or not, whether one believes it or not: there is no claim that bodily phenomena equate with Sanskharas.

Let me rephrase it as logical assertions:
Let S be the set of all felt Sankharas, and B is the set of all bodily phenomena.
The theory claims that S is a subset of B.
Especially B is not a subset of S, and they are not equal.

I am aware that there is superstition amongst some Goenka followers. But this is different from official teachings.

greetings,
alex

Matthew

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Re: Jogging
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2009, 07:44:47 PM »
Hundreds of thousands of people every year visit Goenka courses.

And less than 1 in 20 ever attend a second course. That says a lot.

Goenka states on a video that nobody knows exactly how meditation works.

Quite simply, Goenka is not in a position to state this as fact and is incorrect in his understanding - so this is BS.

Given that Goenka shows narcissistic tendencies - he has not managed to train one assistant teacher in the many decades to the point where they can lead a course without using his videos - is suggestive of one thing: Goenka does not know how meditation works and he is projecting this on the world outside.

Quote
Meditation is called the Great Teacher. It is the cleansing crucible fire that works slowly through understanding. The greater your understanding, the more flexible and tolerant you can be. The greater your understanding, the more compassionate you can be. You become like a perfect parent or an ideal teacher. You are ready to forgive and forget. You feel love towards others because you understand them. And you understand others because you have understood yourself. You have looked deeply inside and seen self illusion and your own human failings. You have seen your own humanity and learned to forgive and to love. When you have learned compassion for yourself, compassion for others is automatic. An accomplished meditator has achieved a profound understanding of life, and he inevitably relates to the world with a deep and uncritical love.

That is a very good explanation of how meditation works. By looking deeply you know yourself. By knowing yourself you know the world. By learning compassion for yourself it develops automatically for all. Very little on the BS scale there. Here is some more good information about what meditation is. It also points to some of the reasons behind the confusion:

Quote
There are many, many books on the subject of meditation. Most of them are written from the point of view which lies squarely within one particular religious or philosophical tradition, and many of the authors have not bothered to point this out. They make statements about meditation which sound like general laws, but are actually highly specific procedures exclusive to that particular system of practice. The result is something of a muddle. Worse yet is the panoply of complex theories and interpretations available, all of them at odds with one another. The result is a real mess and an enormous jumble of conflicting opinions accompanied by a mass of extraneous data. This book is specific. We are dealing exclusively with the Vipassana system of meditation. We are going to teach you to watch the functioning of your own mind in a calm and detached manner so you can gain insight into your own behavior. The goal is awareness, an awareness so intense, concentrated and finely tuned that you will be able to pierce the inner workings of reality itself.

Furthermore, my experience differ. Goenka meditation raises the awareness of bodily sensations (this coincides with your experience, that you suddenly felt injury which might have been there for many years).

No, the opposite is true - I was NOT practising Goenka meditation. I discovered these injuries using different Vipassana techniques to Goenkas'.

Thank you for clearing up the confusion about bodily sensations and Sanskharas not being identical in Goenka's system. I think you are right that there is some level of confusion about this.

Matthew
« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 08:52:40 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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frepi

Re: Jogging
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2009, 08:50:05 PM »
Given that Goenka shows narcissistic tendencies
??? Where?

- he has not managed to train one assistant teacher in the many decades to the point where they can lead a course without using his videos
This could simply be a way to keep his teachings in their original form. Without this, there is a strong possibility that some assistant teacher decides to alter the teachings. Though this could lead to an enhancement of the method, there is no way to be sure.

- is suggestive of one thing: Goenka does not know how meditation works and he is projecting this on the world outside.
This is pure assumption

Matthew

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Re: Jogging
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2009, 08:57:32 PM »
Given that Goenka shows narcissistic tendencies
??? Where?

See below

- he has not managed to train one assistant teacher in the many decades to the point where they can lead a course without using his videos
This could simply be a way to keep his teachings in their original form. Without this, there is a strong possibility that some assistant teacher decides to alter the teachings. Though this could lead to an enhancement of the method, there is no way to be sure.

Not a good choice of argument - as Pammojam points out on his website Goenka has deviated from his teachers technique whilst claiming a pure lineage. The fact that hundreds of thousands of people must watch decades old Goenka video's instead of learning from a real life human being - who has learned the technique - is a very narcissistic choice for Goenka to have made.

- is suggestive of one thing: Goenka does not know how meditation works and he is projecting this on the world outside.
This is pure assumption

No it is not. It is psychology.

Matthew
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frepi

Re: Jogging
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2009, 10:34:07 PM »

Not a good choice of argument - as Pammojam points out on his website Goenka has deviated from his teachers technique whilst claiming a pure lineage.

It is a good choice of argument. Goenka didn't want to have his method altered by one of his followers. It would have been difficult for Goenka to alter U Ba Kin's teachings if Mr Kin (or Mr U or Mr Kin) had made recordings of his teachings, assuming a method existed at the time.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 11:55:50 PM by frepi »

frepi

Re: Jogging
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2009, 12:02:59 AM »

If this understanding is right, as Frepi indicates in his post, then people are, as I said, being trained ignore the awareness, expecting some shift and resolution of underlying phenomena they look for that and don't go to the doctor.

That is not what I meant. Goenka doesn't teach to ignore awareness. He never said to ignore the pain, on the contrary, he teaches to analyse it objectively but to remain equanimous to the pain that arises.

Matthew

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Re: Jogging
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2009, 02:16:23 AM »

Not a good choice of argument - as Pammojam points out on his website Goenka has deviated from his teachers technique whilst claiming a pure lineage.

It is a good choice of argument. Goenka didn't want to have his method altered by one of his followers. It would have been difficult for Goenka to alter U Ba Kin's teachings if Mr Kin (or Mr U or Mr Kin) had made recordings of his teachings, assuming a method existed at the time.

"Goenka didn't want to have his method altered by one of his followers". ..... yet he altered the teachings given to him?

.... And yes there were methods of recording, given that Goenka is still alive and kicking and has not (to my knowledge) yet reached the ripe old age of 131 years, that being how long ago Edison patented his first practical recording device.


If this understanding is right, as Frepi indicates in his post, then people are, as I said, being trained ignore the awareness, expecting some shift and resolution of underlying phenomena they look for that and don't go to the doctor.

That is not what I meant. Goenka doesn't teach to ignore awareness. He never said to ignore the pain, on the contrary, he teaches to analyse it objectively but to remain equanimous to the pain that arises.

Maintaining equanimity is an art that takes time to master. I doubt many do in ten days. It is highly probable that many people think they are maintaining equanimity whilst actually hypnotising themselves into ignoring what they are aware of.

Matthew
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alex

Re: Jogging
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2009, 10:43:22 AM »
Matthew,

we are opening a wide field of discussion now. This is interesting, though I fear I might not have enough time to participate as I would like to, so I try to keep it short, and please excuse any delays.

First, to finish this:

Quote from: The Irreverent Buddhist
people are, as I said, being trained ignore the awareness, expecting some shift and resolution of underlying phenomena they look for that and don't go to the doctor.

and my comments on it. You haven't explained yet the basis for that statement. Do you want to add anything or shall we leave it with what was written?


Besides that, you have made other claims in your later response. I see them to be relatively unrelated to the above, because just because Goenka and his theory and teachings have flaws does not mean that everything he says is BS ;).

To enumerate them:
1.
Quote from: alex
Quote from: The Irreverent Buddhist
   Hundreds of thousands of people every year visit Goenka courses.
And less than 1 in 20 ever attend a second course. That says a lot.

No, that means nothing because I cannot compare that number to anything similar. Compared with the number of people who continue smoking after their first pack I'd say it's not so addictive. But compared to the number of people who re-visit Norway after their first trip, it's fantastic  ;D.

But more seriously: Do you know, for example, of any drop-out-rates of other courses? Or what's your point?


2.
Quote
Goenka does not know how meditation works

I consider the quote you gave a very beautiful explanation of how meditation works which feels very true to me. Thanks for that. But I have one problem here: It's just a claim. Goenka claims to know the *truth*, has the only unbroken lineage, and because he is right, all others are wrong etc. blah blah. You contradict him because you somehow know (or feel) another *truth*, and because you are right, Goenka is wrong. You beliefs are wrong, because mine are right! Welcome to the club! Next step is "silence, I kill you!!!!"  ;)

You get my point? Subjectively I'd say your explanation is "better" than his, but this would be just a belief and cannot be used as basis in an argument, because everyone believes different. Especially deductions from, or statements based on that belief, are not allowed.


3.
Quote
Goenka shows narcissistic tendencies

I like that one, really. I thought these videos were really strange. But his narcissism is just an interpretation of yours. Psychology is not a true science, because it is widely based on speculation and guessing, because we cannot read the others' mind - so we will never know Goenka's true motivation.

Maybe what frepi says is true, he's just trying to keep his teachings in their pure form. There is no way of proving his or your interpretation, therefore it just remains an opinion, or a belief. To me, there is no point in discussing these. Even if he were narcissistic, what exactly would this prove?

Again, just because Goenka and his theory and teachings have flaws does not mean that everything he says is BS, and if he errs on one thing is no logical reason that he is wrong on another.

I just want to stress that I myself see Goenka critical - I am not and was never a follower. There is no need for becoming emotional. I'd love to see some good criticism of him, which should be based on more logical assumptions, so that people with different background, other feelings and beliefs, can accept it.


greetings,
Alex

frepi

Re: Jogging
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2009, 01:00:11 PM »

"Goenka didn't want to have his method altered by one of his followers". ..... yet he altered the teachings given to him?

Yes according to Pamojjam, it seems he altered them. Should we condemn him for altering what was teached to him? I do not have an opinion on that because I do not know what was the method before. But Goenka made sure his method couldn't be altered.


Maintaining equanimity is an art that takes time to master. I doubt many do in ten days. It is highly probable that many people think they are maintaining equanimity whilst actually hypnotising themselves into ignoring what they are aware of.

Matthew

If some people think that then they didn't listen to Goenka's evening speeches. He clearly says that one course is not enough to master the technique. What more could he do?  To that you will surely reply that he says so because he wants them to come back, to induge his ego or to cash in their donations or to make sure his plan to rule the Earth moves forward.
There is no way out of this Matthew. The more I read your anti-Goenka rant, the less I find them credible. I read the analysis of the Goenka retreat you posted. Most of what is said could be applied to any Buddhist meditation temple. What can be truely be blamed on Goenka is that he says his course is non-sectarian when it is profoundly buddhist. Yes, there is too much Pali, too much ceremony, too much Dhamma, too much traditional singing and this annoyes me (especially the singing). But as far as the technique goes, I don't have anything against him. You say that his technique is not good because none of his students has reached arahantship. How would you know that? Have you ever met an arahant? Do arahants go on and publicise their state?
You also claim that many ( what is the number please?) beginners have commited suicide at the end of the retreat. Many people commit suicide after a breakup also. Or after loosing a job. Should we condemn the ex lover or the ex employer? There are so many people that attend Goenka's courses that just by the sheer numbers, some suicide are bound to happen. Add the fact that, as I already posted somewhere here, many people are drawn to meditation for psychological reason, trying to ease the pain. It is my belief that the probability of suicidal tendancies is much higher in the beginner meditator group than in the general population.
Listen, we all know now that you hate Goenka. There is no need to make that point anymore. Please sit on your hatred and look at it. Then let's move on


Lets turn the page on this please.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 04:51:56 PM by frepi »

Matthew

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Re: Jogging
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2009, 01:48:32 PM »
Listen, we all know now that you hate Goenka.

This is a profound misunderstanding and I am sorry if my style of communication has given you this impression.

The situation is that I find all charlatans inexcusable - wherever they come from. This is why, though my background is in Tibetan Buddhism and Zen (both are Mahayana schools), my practice and attitude is more Theravadin. Tibetan Buddhism is a mess of cultural accretions and Buddhist teachings. My teacher gave me an excellent foundation in basic Buddha Dhamma and some deep non-verbal insights into the true nature of reality. I was lucky - she is a brilliant and highly realised teacher. But within Tibetan Buddhism there are many problems: teachers sleeping with students, alcoholism etc, etc.

I feel compassion for people who lead or are lead down the wrong path - but that will not come out as some kind of gooey "aaaaah poor you" when you are in discussion with me.

Sometimes compassion is telling hard truths. Another form of compassion would be not to tell those hard truths: it would certainly give me an easier life than I have, but the motivation behind it would be a selfish one and lacking of real compassion.

Matthew
« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 01:48:54 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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Alex

  • Member
Re: Jogging
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2009, 09:15:20 AM »
Hi all,

I was drawn to this topic because I'm doing a 7-day retreat next week with the Batchelors in Holland and I'm also training to run the Antwerp 10 miles at the end of April. I want to continue my training during the retreat, but not if that would interfere too much with my meditation. Retreat is from saturday evening till Saturday at lunch and my trainings would be Sunday, Tuesday & Friday.
I already talked with Stephen (Batchelor) about it, and he said it would be fine if I could run while being aware.
But if anyone has any thoughts / experiences to share, that would be great.

Quote
Listen, we all know now that you hate Goenka. There is no need to make that point anymore. Please sit on your hatred and look at it. Then let's move on.
Lets turn the page on this please.

Well, maybe this thread isn't the right place, but I think it may be interesting to explore this further.
A few years ago, when I first felt attraction to vipassana, Goenka's courses really scared me off. I know that's very personal, but when reading reading on the internet, you read both positive and negative about Goenka's methods. And that is very interesting. Yesterday I found this: A Critique of Vipassana Meditation as taught by Mr S N Goenka, but I haven't taken the time to read it yet.
It is not inconceivable that someone could offer something very valuable to many people, while still being misleading in some way.

I don't have a lot of time to spend here the next few days, but I look forward to sharing and discussing more after the retreat!