Author Topic: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat  (Read 156911 times)

ivana

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #100 on: January 15, 2011, 11:21:11 AM »
Hi Venetian
It is fine to have your opinion here as well and I think we are looking for us by meditation. I was scared to go to my 10days Vipassana course to be only wiht myself. I asked people how I should prepare for it and the best replay was "Do not ask just do it if you want it." I survived 10 days with crazy times and find  very peacefull times as well.I have to use a text of Che. "My mama said meditation is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you'r gonna get."
Take care
Ivana

nselkirk

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #101 on: January 15, 2011, 03:23:49 PM »
It has been reported that ever since they changed the instructions at the yearly 3-month retreat at IMS from body-sweeping to Mahasi Sayadaw style noting, they have gotten many more people to stream-entry, and basically never looked back.

Upekkha, when did they make this change? It's very interesting to me since I started with his organization but moved away from body-scanning and hence the organization.

Stefan

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Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #102 on: January 15, 2011, 08:36:00 PM »
But I realized that it was my fault if I couldn't cope with the rigid rules of the "Goenka Monastery"...

That's true EXCEPT that it wasn't your "fault". Why a fault? You tried it - respect! You discovered that it is not the time for you to do it - respect! And afterwards, you don't blame the course for it ... respect again!
I can't see any fault.

Ten-day-retreats of any kind are hard work. One has to be ready for it! Of course, you are warned that it won't be a picnic ... but what does this mean? ... we find out there ...
anicca

Stefan

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Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #103 on: January 15, 2011, 08:50:33 PM »
I was scared to go to my 10days Vipassana course to be only wiht myself.

yes I hated the very thought, too. All the way to the course I fought the instinct to escape, to hide, to run away ... me, ten days just sitting around? It WILL be a horror-trip!!

but then, a wonderful miracle happens!
You find out that you are NOT alone ...
every day there are 50 people with similar intention sitting together with you in the Dhamma-hall, everyone confronted with similar issues ... everybody experiencing the same pain when deep-rooted sankharas arise ... everybody experiencing the same bliss when those sankharas dissolve ... everybody anicca ...
I admit that sometimes I didn't even meditate ... sometimes I simply enjoyed sitting between all those meditators ... these were moments of intense "togetherness" that helped me through the VERY hard times I had to endure occasionally.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 08:54:01 PM by stefan »
anicca

Stefan

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Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #104 on: January 15, 2011, 08:50:52 PM »
... & Metta to You&You  :)
We are not alone.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 08:52:56 PM by stefan »
anicca

color

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #105 on: January 22, 2011, 07:32:17 PM »
Hi, I am so sorry you had this experience. I recently completed the course and felt similarly on day 7. I did feel, I wanted to run, however, staying helped me understand what i was going through.
I suffer from anxiety and at the course I also experienced a lot of anxiety and had a panic attack. I felt like running away and had i not talked to the teacher i would have.  I spoke to the teacher and assured me that this was good.  I remember my reaction when i was told that what i experienced was good, i was getting cleansed in a way. I was getting rid of my old sankaras. I was very skeptical, which I  later realized, contributed to my suffering at the course. I did stay and after my BAD feeling days, I felt great. A feeling I never experienced before.
There was a lot more to my experience that you probably do not want to hear.
In my opinion,the technique is great and if you have had any serious, repressed life trauma it is bound to come up, especially if you had no distractions for 7 days and you were extremely attuned to all your senses.
Also , if you are a person that get influenced by others opinions, reading the reviews and building an expectation may not have been the best approach. Also during day 6 and 7, i realized that this is not a retreat. there is nothing retreaty about it. It is a very difficult course for me at least) . I didin't feel good at all through it. I felt good day 8-9-10 and of course the benefit is amazing in my life after completion and for the people around me.
This will not be what you want to hear but i will say it.  Although you didn't feel good, what happened to you was good. All of your repressed difficulties, trauma, emotional (manifesting itself into physical) pain came out. This often doe not feel good in the moment but now all of this is outside of you, no longer hidden inside. We all often get caught up in feeling GOOD and forget there are BAD feelings inside that we often try to avoid and push away.
I advise you to try the course again and follow the rules exactly, talk to the teacher daily! You are bound to succeed and to have the experience you have, not the one you wish you would have. Your current emotion will pass, and when you are ready try again.
Be Happy

Morning Dew

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #106 on: January 22, 2011, 10:11:33 PM »
Hi color welcome aboard and thank you for this very personal contribution. I respect greatly people talking through their actual experience.
Thank you.

Friendly

Jeeprs

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #107 on: January 23, 2011, 04:58:57 AM »
HI Color -  thanks, very important contribution, I hadn't thought of that at all.

I have done one 10-day retreat, and want to do another sometime in the future.


Andrew

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Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #108 on: January 31, 2011, 05:11:01 AM »
Though I must admit I skipped the last 5 pages, ( I really should be working...) I haven't noticed anyone mention this type of 'malpractice' in other religions. For the record, I have seen 3 people close to me have massive psychotic episodes (hospitalization in a near vegetative state) in a pentecostal church revival known as 'the toronto blessing'. They never really recovered. So for me, messing with the mind by forcing it to 'let go' or whatever is extremely dangerous.

I hope to achieve a balanced state of mind which keeps desire, aversion etc from dominating my life. If it is capable of more, then so be it.

I feel fortunate to have read this thread, as I was looking at doing one of these 10 day retreats, but to hear that it is no different from the fanaticism I grew up with, just a different brand, has kept me from great disappointment. Also, for the record, I could never get with 'the program' in christianity, in the words of Paul Dempsey (band: Something for Kate) "it was like trying to think in reverse".

"World Negation" and nihilism is entrenched in religion of all types, and I find it boring and passe to see it being touted as the next best thing by some other 'teacher' who seems to feel it is a big secret.
 
I came out of religion without losing my mind, so again, thanks for the great thread and warning. I appreciate the biological notes by the way, Irreverent Buddhist (Matthew).
getting it done

Andrew

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Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #109 on: February 01, 2011, 08:21:43 AM »
In retrospect, the previous post i made is more of a reaction to my own experiences than anything considered about the sn goenka movement which I have no experience of. I have seen posts by others saying how much they got out of it, so sorry to anyone I've offended, that is not my intention. I wish those who haven't benefited all the healing they require and the movement the wisdom to improve the course if that is what is needed.

love

Andy
« Last Edit: February 01, 2011, 08:26:29 AM by daydreamer »
getting it done

Morning Dew

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #110 on: February 01, 2011, 08:34:06 AM »
Quote
so sorry to anyone I've offended

No one offended here  :)  no worries at all. We are all aware where reactions come from and that is the very reason we all practice mindfulness/awareness, to react less and respond more. Try not to be hard on your self, rather be gentle and let go of it and return back to calming your body with each in and outbreath noticing thoughts and emotions, bodily sensations letting go of them without judging them.

Happy practicing!
Friendly Che  :)

chintan

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Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #111 on: February 01, 2011, 04:23:54 PM »
Hi Daydreamer - Welcome to the Sangha :). You make an important point about World negation and nihilism - these are crutches and philosophical concepts used by some religions. Hopefully not by this group of meditators.

When the body is aching / mind is a cesspool of feelings of lust / hatred / disgust and you realize that the seemingly easy task of focusing your breath on your nostrils is no so easy - trust me there is nothing abstract - the pain / frustration and feeling of helplessness is all very real. All who go through a Goenka retreat (maybe other retreats too) go through these feelings and stages - most are able to hold on to the practice and some are not able to. Each person has a very personal experience - its not easy to share using words.

Its like any other coaching camp.

With Metta.



Jhana4

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #112 on: February 01, 2011, 09:05:48 PM »
I have my problems with S.N. Goenkas retreats, but I also think some of the criticisms of it are flat out unfair.

I went on two of those retreats and think they were incredibly valuable experiences.   Ones I might not have had as a college student as other retreat centers wanted fees I could not afford.

I think it comes down to that "not everything is for everybody".

I was well prepared for the retreats.
 
- I had a part time job that ran from 7am - 1pm so getting up an hour earlier at 4:30 am was no tragedy for me
- Years of karate, starting from my teen years got me used to feeling pain to train for something
- I had meditated regularly at some temples and done some day long retreats
- I had studied the Pali Cannon a bit so Goenka's ideas didn't sound too culty or freaky
- I had been a vegan for a few years, so the meatless meals didn't freak me out.  The meals were actually fancier than what I was used to as a student.

Had I been a person without those advantages expecting the retreat to some NuAge experience I think I probably would have made some of the same comments people in this thread and elsewhere on the web have made.

I do have problems with the centers.

I thought the videos worked, but modern life is impersonal enough without being taught meditation by a video.  After having talked with some of the head teachers in some long conversations I was not impressed with the depth of their thought or world views.   Some of them seemed like idealouges at best and not too bright at the worst.   It made me decide that meditation alone is likely not enough to make a person's mind grow -- which in itself is a valuable lesson, worth the two trips up there.

Again, I think it comes down to not everything is for everyone.







Stefan

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Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #113 on: February 19, 2011, 04:18:24 PM »


I think it comes down to that "not everything is for everybody".


... and not anytime.



After having talked with some of the head teachers in some long conversations I was not impressed with the depth of their thought or world views.   Some of them seemed like idealouges at best and not too bright at the worst.   It made me decide that meditation alone is likely not enough to make a person's mind grow -- which in itself is a valuable lesson, worth the two trips up there.


Yes ... on those retreats it is the same with cooks and teachers ... you have to be lucky to get a good one  ;) I was immensely lucky with both. This teacher I met there was close to "enlightened" from my rather limited point of view. I know others who were unlucky with their teachers but still learned a lot from those retreats.
There are legions of people who want to do a Goenka retreat. Many years ago Goenkaji decided to appoint teachers and build the big thing. In this very moment it was clear that there would be stupid teachers and the whole bunch of problems every big organisation has to deal with. But: if Goenkaji had decided to teach only by himself in his Dhamma-hall and sent all those myriads of students home without teaching them at least indirectly ... would that have been better?

No.

Metta, Stefan
anicca

Matthew

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Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #114 on: February 21, 2011, 06:09:00 PM »
...... So for me, messing with the mind by forcing it to 'let go' or whatever is extremely dangerous.....

You can't "force the mind to let go". Letting go does not involve force - it involves letting go of force.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Andrew

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Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #115 on: March 01, 2011, 02:18:06 AM »
...... So for me, messing with the mind by forcing it to 'let go' or whatever is extremely dangerous.....

You can't "force the mind to let go". Letting go does not involve force - it involves letting go of force.

Warmly,

Matthew


Hi Matthew,

It would be a question of semantics what I mean, perhaps let go is the wrong phrase, but it involved force and was a state of reckless abandon mentally.  You may remember the "Toronto Blessing" being in the news in the mid 90's? 2 of my friends ended up in a states which 'nervous breakdown' doesn't seem to describe. One was hospitalized for months and was mostly vegetative, I lost contact and it was very hushed up what happened eventually, I don't think he ever recovered. The other eventually got some sort of sanity back, but gain weight alarmingly and is socially stunted.

My concern is that forcing beyond what a person is ready for is possible and is dangerous. It seems that people have done this sort of thing on these retreats, and I'm pretty sure it's the same type of animal; untrained leaders, emotional fragile devotees and a general abandon of common sense.

Perhaps 'psychological recklessness' is a better why of describing it.

Could be wrong about Goenka, what I've seen sounds similar though; at the time the general message was "Let go, and let God', 'Jump in the river of God', 'Get out in the deep'. that sort of thing. Different kettle, same shade of black. :(

love

andy
getting it done

Morning Dew

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #116 on: March 02, 2011, 05:15:00 PM »
Quote
I'm pretty sure it's the same type of animal; untrained leaders, emotional fragile devotees and a general abandon of common sense.


I cant tell anything at all about Goenka-who guy because I know so little about him but this retreat has nothing to do with him I feel but with Oneself.
Decades of mind conditioning can not be underestimated and the power of such an ignorant mind IS strongly rooted into a habitual perception which will resist such intense retreat causing such terrible and traumatic experiences.
I feel that retreats are best to be done after one has relaxed into the body for a few month and got the insight into the rise and fall of all things (thoughts, emotions, sensations).
I will have more to tell about retreats once I have done my first 10 day Calm-abiding retreat in July this year.

Until then  :-X

Friendly Che   ;)

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #117 on: March 02, 2011, 06:00:40 PM »
well i always felt the whole technique is soo well formed that it only unfolds the truth you r ready for. may be i am wrong because i never had a bad childhood.

atomjack

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #118 on: April 18, 2011, 06:53:35 AM »
To this day while I meditate, now and then negative thoughts and emotions come up from memories of my Goenka retreat from over 2 years ago. While I feel on the surface I've let it go,  I know that deep inside there is still something holding on to the past that tells me I wish I never went on that retreat. As much as I try to stay present and have become a more confident meditator, for some reason, random thoughts of my time there practicing Goenka meditation still appear.

Morning Dew

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #119 on: April 18, 2011, 07:35:01 AM »
I dont know anything about Goenka or any other retreats but last week I meditated 3x40 minutes and this invoked such an uncomfortable overwhelming feeling of loneliness so disorientating and cold.
I fell into this feeling holding me so fast I could barely breed. I did plan to meditate a few more times but after this overwhelming experience I collected my stuff and left the summer house returning to my city home.

I was thinking for myself later on "what would happen if I was on a retreat and such would happen"? I dont think I am near ready for taking a retreat or maybe am.

Dusko

Andrew

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Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #120 on: April 18, 2011, 08:27:11 AM »
Hello my friend,

I am at work, wisdom would say I should wait to get home to reply, but heh, we both know how wise I'm not!

simply, I feel that you are holding some part of your being in contempt.

Let me know if this 'gets a reaction' and I will elaborate if you want on what I have seen in myself reflected in your words at times.

love

andy
getting it done

Matthew

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Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #121 on: April 18, 2011, 01:43:43 PM »
Dusko,

It seems that you have been through a Dark Night stage but may have more to come. This would not be surprising given your history that you have shared.

In peeling the layers of this onion the middle way is just as important as at any other point on the path. Don't be too hard on yourself and don't be too easy on yourself.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Alexanderjohn

Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #122 on: April 20, 2011, 01:53:45 AM »
Quote
I feel that you are holding some part of your being in contempt.

This resonates with me also, I too have felt that kind of feeling of loneliness although mine was more a feeling of suffocation, like however i tried to let go I wasn't letting myself breath naturally and freely. I think this may have started from the Goenka retreat I did, I probably took it too seriously and as a result denied certain aspects of my "self" that I believed to be unskillful. It allowed me to gain insight into my suffering mind but as a result I reacted a little to it and started almost blaming the "ego", its only now I'm genuinely starting to see I have to let it be as it is, let me be as I think I am but practice to see beyond it and just keep smiling. Not "try" to get rid of it as such because that just seems to cause despair. I think thats probably why many of these "terribly and traumatic" experiences happen because the mind is seen "as it is" and its bloody scary and filled with dukkha so you reject it, but it just plain doesn't work like that.

Just rambling here really,
Alex

Andrew

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    • Letting Go.
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #123 on: April 20, 2011, 08:58:19 AM »
Hi Alex,

Being indoctrinated by any belief system can lead to what you are describing. And I have seen it growing up as well, seemingly happy people being convinced that they are hopeless sinners and going to all sorts of emotional lengths week after to week to deal with it. I've seen it lead to sickness and suicide. Not a good idea to be blaming anything that you also identify to be you!.


It's such a natural thing to do though, so you can't even blame yourself for blaming!

Ramble on my friend, I like reading your thoughts..!

love

andy




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quantum mystic

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DJ Shaka - still out there?
« Reply #124 on: February 05, 2015, 02:24:51 PM »
Hello. I realize this is a long shot as it's been 5 years since the original post, but i wanted to ask it DJ Shaka is still out there (meaning in the forum)? I ask as i would like to know how he is doing as someone who also had great difficulty and suffered following my first Goenka retreat. I can't seem to find his contact as he seems to be a 'guest'. Anyway, I'll wait to hear.

 

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