90 Day retreat advice

J C, modified 3 Years ago at 4/23/19 5:24 AM
Created 3 Years ago at 4/23/19 5:18 AM

90 Day retreat advice

Post: 1 Join Date: 4/23/19 Recent Posts
Hello there,

I am beginning a 90 day retreat next week and am looking for advice on how to best utilize my time.

I have previously attended two 10 day goenka courses and have had a 2 hour practice for just over a year, I havent been practicing since January however.

Any advice is appreciated, What is the most effective method of Vipassana etc?  how to split my time  between methods?

I will be taking a copy of The mind illuminated, MCTB, Seeing that frees with me.

EDIT: forgot to mention that the retreat is self lead so i will not be recieveing instructions, but have regular interviews with teachers.

Daniel M Ingram, modified 3 Years ago at 4/23/19 5:41 AM
Created 3 Years ago at 4/23/19 5:41 AM

RE: 90 Day retreat advice

Posts: 3250 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
"What is the most effective method of Vipassana?" is a pretty loaded question.

Definitions of "effective" vary widely. Tolerance for risks and side effects also vary widely. Some definitions of "effective" might advocate for speed over comfort, while as others would advocate for comfort over speed. Some definitions of "effective" might involve simultaneously cultivating jhanic qualities (TMI), while others might advocate for relentlessly dissecting experience (more hardcore strains of Vipassana), while others might be much more about a very organic acceptance of this moment however it presents (more some aspects of some Dzogchen/Mahamudra but also Vedantic and some Zen traditions).

When I try to answer that question, I like to know a lot more about the person asking it, as that will determine most of the answer I give.

So, I will ask you a few questions:

What is your definition of "effective"?
What would be your definition of "success" on this retreat?
What is your tolerance for risk and instability?
How stable is your underlying mental health?
Do you have any significant trauma history?
How well do you handle difficult emotions skillfully?
How is your sense of "ego strength" in the traditional, Freudian sense of being able to enter into difficult emotional territory with some sense of objectivity?
How much do you prefer more structured vs less structured techniques and approaches?
Which maps do you prefer, if any?
What is your basic personaly like, in terms of more spacious, more analytical, more intuitive, more heartful, more desirous, more aversive, more calm, more energetic, etc.?
What are the difficultues you ran into on your previous group retreats, and how will you handle them on this solo retreat?
Any unusual strengths you bring to your practice that you might use to your advantage?

Why do you desire to split your time between methods? Nearly all of the traditions and methods would be at least partially correct that sticking to their method for some reasonable period is more likely to be more effective than mixing it with other methods, though there are obvious exceptions.

That's a start, anyway.

TMI, Seeing that Frees, and MCTB are obviously all solid resources, but they also have some obvious paradigmatic differences and different feels. Which calls to you more and why? Do any aspects of any of them not feel like as good a fit, and, if so, why? If you have trained in the Goenka tradition, what will you be bringing from that in terms of maps, models, goals, techniques, and paradigms?

Which teachers will you be in contact with during this retreat, and would they be ok with the diversity of resources you are going to be using? Will they have the expertise to navigate the various different conceptions of and effects of practice found in those resources?
Jinxed P, modified 3 Years ago at 4/23/19 1:08 PM
Created 3 Years ago at 4/23/19 1:08 PM

RE: 90 Day retreat advice

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
Where are you doing this retreat?
Laurel Carrington, modified 3 Years ago at 4/24/19 10:41 AM
Created 3 Years ago at 4/24/19 10:40 AM

RE: 90 Day retreat advice

Posts: 440 Join Date: 4/7/14 Recent Posts
Just to add that you shouldn’t wait until the retreat begins to recommit to daily practice. I have often gotten trapped into thinking, oh well, once I’m on retreat I’ll meditate up a storm, so I can slack off sitting now as I prepare to leave. I am probably too late with this comment if you’re leaving next week, but I  would advise you to get your groove back now and not put it off. My own hard-won insight is that short or long retreats are vital supplements to daily practice, not substitutes or even jump-starts.