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Going on a Goenka retreat this week--a couple questions

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Hello, all.

I'm going on my second 10 day retreat, and resolving to practice to the best of my ability the whole time. I've been inspired by MTCTB and this wonderful resource to really buckle down and see if I can get the thing done. I'm going to practice according to Goenka's instructions, although when things get all floaty in High EQ, I will probably just let attention and awareness do its thing and see what happens. Currently getting to some level of Equinimity most sits, although I've been focusing on anapana in the run up to this retreat, and it seems to be bringing up lots of pent up shit.

1. In everyday life, I need 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep to function at my best. I know intense meditation can reduce the need for sleep for some people, but some of those people only need 6-7 hours of sleep in everyday life. So my questions is more for meditators with somnolent tendencies. Should I a) get up with the bell and stay awake the whole day, no matter how tired I feel; b) get up with the bell and take a nap after lunch, possibly sacrificing morning momentum; or c) sleep in an hour and miss some of the morning sit but feel well-rested all day. I eventually landed on (c) on my last retreat, because I was tired even after a day of intense meditation, and fighting to stay awake all morning, but I felt bad about missing part of the morning sit. This might sound silly but it's occupying too much of my thoughts!

2. What should I do with jhanas? Anapana meditation puts me in second jhana territory without my really doing anything. If I incline my mind to it, I can stablize the second jhana, and go through three and four. I'm just not sure if it's compatible with Goenka's instructions.

3. Any other general advice regarding the what I should do with my attention and awareness (in TMI terms)? Like, IIRC, Goenka says to "ignore" anything that is not the object of your focus, but (for me) that is not practically possible. I'll leave this vague and see if anyone has advice.

RE: Going on a Goenka retreat this week--a couple questions
Answer
6/10/19 7:56 PM as a reply to Philip Torphy.
1. I would sleep according to need within reason. If you are so tired it is hindering progress, pump the brakes and take a nap. If you cant fall asleep at night, keep practicing. If you are sleepy, try a deep breath > sitting up > standing up > walking. You can also scan faster, more inclusively, at greater detail. If there is pain, focus on it. There are stages that just bring sleepiness. Be inspired that it is likely progress and try to increase energy.

2. I would follow the directions. Disregard cultivating jhanas specifically. But if the factors arise, good. It might be helpful to notice the width of attention. It might be helpful to read the vipassana jhanas section in mctb2.
On your 2nd+ retreat, the annapanna instructions are slightly different. I would follow to a T.

3. Goenka isn't playing around when he say "continuity of practice  is the secret to success." I would maintain mindfulness from the moment you gain conciousness until you fall asleep.

I would be prepared to continue to practice when you get home if you dont land a path. If you can do 2-4+ hours a day and off cushion mindfulness as you can for a few weeks, that would increase your chances.

I would ramp up on and off cushion practice now as much as you can too.

If you are hitting actual equanimity, it is possible for retreat reset to occur. Meaning 4 days of 16 hours of annapanna will start you back over. This is good. Clearly seeing signature of 3c's, a&p, dn, eq in succession with good concentration over a few days will be very good for many reasons. The point is that your meditation may go to shit. Dont be concerned. Just call it progress and keep practicing.

I would look for times where I could get long uninterrupted sits. Like after lunch, I can go from about 11:30 to 2:15. I would do this reclining but I can keep my energy up in that position. 

At the level of the retreat, the day and the sit, I would resolve to clearly see all sensations and come back to the object when I get lost in content with no frustration.

Dont map on retreat. Reflect afterwards. If you want to change meditation technique based on where you are, do so based on the current sensations not there you think you are on a map. 

You may also find this helpful:
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2010/11/going-for-stream-entry-on-goenka-10-day.html?m=1

RE: Going on a Goenka retreat this week--a couple questions
Answer
6/10/19 9:27 PM as a reply to Philip Torphy.
I'm also doing a Goenka retreat this week. Which center are you going to?

RE: Going on a Goenka retreat this week--a couple questions
Answer
6/10/19 9:30 PM as a reply to Philip Torphy.
Hey Philip

Jason’s advice above is pretty solid and so I won’t go on much. Only thing is, re tiredness, if you don’t know about it already you should read up closely and carefully on the 5 Hindrances, especially Sloth & Torpor. AFAIC, and in my experience, tiredness is to be overcome, not surrendered to. That means sitting through it even if occasionally falling asleep on the cushion. The reason is that it’s a stage to be passed so the more you sit with it, the quicker it passes, and vice versa with going off to have a nap. I’ve done it both ways numerous times and only get through it by pushing on. Coffee/black tea helps ;-) Remember that since Day 10 isn’t really a day of practice but instead chatting, you’ve really only got 9 to achieve stuff in. Make it count! ;-) All the best. 

RE: Going on a Goenka retreat this week--a couple questions
Answer
6/11/19 9:12 AM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Jason Massie:
1. I would sleep according to need within reason. If you are so tired it is hindering progress, pump the brakes and take a nap. If you cant fall asleep at night, keep practicing. If you are sleepy, try a deep breath > sitting up > standing up > walking. You can also scan faster, more inclusively, at greater detail. If there is pain, focus on it. There are stages that just bring sleepiness. Be inspired that it is likely progress and try to increase energy.

2. I would follow the directions. Disregard cultivating jhanas specifically. But if the factors arise, good. It might be helpful to notice the width of attention. It might be helpful to read the vipassana jhanas section in mctb2.
On your 2nd+ retreat, the annapanna instructions are slightly different. I would follow to a T.

3. Goenka isn't playing around when he say "continuity of practice  is the secret to success." I would maintain mindfulness from the moment you gain conciousness until you fall asleep.

I would be prepared to continue to practice when you get home if you dont land a path. If you can do 2-4+ hours a day and off cushion mindfulness as you can for a few weeks, that would increase your chances.

I would ramp up on and off cushion practice now as much as you can too.

If you are hitting actual equanimity, it is possible for retreat reset to occur. Meaning 4 days of 16 hours of annapanna will start you back over. This is good. Clearly seeing signature of 3c's, a&p, dn, eq in succession with good concentration over a few days will be very good for many reasons. The point is that your meditation may go to shit. Dont be concerned. Just call it progress and keep practicing.

I would look for times where I could get long uninterrupted sits. Like after lunch, I can go from about 11:30 to 2:15. I would do this reclining but I can keep my energy up in that position. 

At the level of the retreat, the day and the sit, I would resolve to clearly see all sensations and come back to the object when I get lost in content with no frustration.

Dont map on retreat. Reflect afterwards. If you want to change meditation technique based on where you are, do so based on the current sensations not there you think you are on a map. 

You may also find this helpful:
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2010/11/going-for-stream-entry-on-goenka-10-day.html?m=1

Thank you, very helpful all around. "Call it progress and keep practicing" is going to be my (rhetorical) mantra.

I recognize "don't map on retreat" to be good advice, but how the heck do I follow it? Discursive thought always appears at some point, and it seems like by the time I've noted (or noticed) "mapping thought" the damage is done, i.e. it's already influenced how I am approaching the meditation. Especially during the DN, I'm constantly spacing out, and, having picked up a bit of a map obsession from this place, my mind goes there whether or not I like it. I suppose "don't knowingly entertain map thoughts" is the best I can do.

RE: Going on a Goenka retreat this week--a couple questions
Answer
6/11/19 9:12 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
I'm also doing a Goenka retreat this week. Which center are you going to?


Shelburne Falls!

RE: Going on a Goenka retreat this week--a couple questions
Answer
6/11/19 10:30 AM as a reply to Paul.
Paul:
Hey Philip

Jason’s advice above is pretty solid and so I won’t go on much. Only thing is, re tiredness, if you don’t know about it already you should read up closely and carefully on the 5 Hindrances, especially Sloth & Torpor. AFAIC, and in my experience, tiredness is to be overcome, not surrendered to. That means sitting through it even if occasionally falling asleep on the cushion. The reason is that it’s a stage to be passed so the more you sit with it, the quicker it passes, and vice versa with going off to have a nap. I’ve done it both ways numerous times and only get through it by pushing on. Coffee/black tea helps ;-) Remember that since Day 10 isn’t really a day of practice but instead chatting, you’ve really only got 9 to achieve stuff in. Make it count! ;-) All the best. 

Thank you, will review the five hindrances. Stimulants definitely help (even eliminate) the strong dullness, but I'm so back and forth about whether I should use them or not, as they increase my anxiety in everyday life. I don't expect that to be a concern on retreat, as it mostly manifests itself while interacting with others, but then the question is about "applicability" of stimulated meditation to my non-stimulated everyday life. Maybe an insight is an insight is an insight and I should not worry about this and power thru with the help of coffee, then drop it when back? Wow, I'm really getting my mind in a twist over this.

Thanks for the well wishes!

RE: Going on a Goenka retreat this week--a couple questions
Answer
6/11/19 10:46 AM as a reply to Philip Torphy.
Philip Torphy:
spatial:
I'm also doing a Goenka retreat this week. Which center are you going to?


Shelburne Falls!
Me too!

RE: Going on a Goenka retreat this week--a couple questions
Answer
6/11/19 1:28 PM as a reply to Philip Torphy.
I would say just note "mapping thought" but maybe just acknowledge it.

Just doing pure body scan, I would just come back to the tactile field. There will alway be bodily sensations related to what is going on in the mind. Recognize thought is not self so not in your control. A mapping thought is the same as an itch. It comes up, stays and then goes away regardless what we wish for it to be. See that over and over. 

Some intellect is needed though. To follow his instructions, you do have change the technique based on the current sensations i.e. part by part vs sweeping. Maps are just a derivative of sensations so it should be relatively easy to push it back to sensations. 

But yay it's going to happen.... emoticon