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Mixing meditation methods
Answer
4/12/20 5:57 AM
Kia ora,

This is my first post on Dharmaoverground having just discovered it yesterday. 

I live in Aotearoa/New Zealand and have attended two of the Goenka-style retreats at Dhamma Medini and have plans to attend more this year depending on the Covid-19 situation. I am currently practising 2-3 hours a day and feel committed.

I have been reading about other retreat centres in Asia via this website. I feel open to trying other Insight traditions, but also feel some hesitancy. As people on here have noted, Goenka suggests not to mix meditation methods. I still feel like very much a beginner, having only started to develop my home practice this year.

My questions are as follows:
Is it best to develop my practice further in the Goenka tradition before adding new meditation styles? 

For those that have been on multiple retreats teaching different styles, how do you develop a sound home practice?

Two hours of Vipassana a day already feels like a big commitment. Do people practice several styles of meditation at home? Does this not get confusing? Surely it is better to focus on one method? Or not?

I'd especially love to hear from people who have been on Goenka's retreats who have made strides in their practice, as I'm feeling a bit uncertain as to whether I should stick to this path or explore other methods such as a noting.

Many thanks

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
4/6/20 1:39 AM as a reply to Freeling.
The way I remember it is, "it's better to dig one 100' well than ten 10' wells". That is, if you want to try somebody's method, really try it for a while, and don't mix it with other advice. There are weird kind of practice inertias that build up when you practice dilligently every day.

On there being parts you don't like, I'd do them anyway, as advised to by the person teaching the method. If you were doing weightlifting with a personal instructor, there would be days and exercises you didn't like, but the instructor might be asking you to do them because they're beneficial. Many serious monks have been teaching a certain method for decades, and have watched thousands of people undergo the process. They may have very complicated and nuanced reasons for asking you to do things exactly that way.

In my own practice, even when I got advice from a certain monk that really helped my practice, I ignored other parts of what he was advising, because it sounded stupid to me. Later I did more like I was advised to, and my progress improved a lot. I learned my lesson and I try to follow the instructions as given, even if I don't like them. After seeing the method work, I'm able to think why the advice made sense the whole time. I just couldn't understand before actually doing it and seeing it work.

My practice is this: wake up, eat a small amount, enough to actually wake up somewhat, and sit without a timer. Usually it feels like I'm done after around an hour and a half. I take a long walk on my way to and from lunch, and that whole time, I'm doing the "moving around" version of the same practice. For the rest of the day I try to remember to do the same kind of stuff, but usually at some point my brain seems worn out. But its stamina is slowly improving.

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
4/7/20 8:24 PM as a reply to Freeling.
Thank you for your kind and helpful response emoticon

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
4/7/20 10:20 PM as a reply to Freeling.
I've done three Goenka retreats. In general, I like them. My only real criticism is that I don't think Goenka's words always resonate with Western audiences in the right way. The teachers I spoke with on retreats have acknowledged this during interviews. And, just in case anyone thinks this is my own personal interpretation, I participated in a virtual group sitting the other day, and the teacher there said the same thing to 500 meditators, without being provoked by me.

So, my advice is not to take it too literally. I don't think Goenka would want you to, honestly. You know that he says over and over again that you should trust your own experience, after 10 days you are your own master, keep the part you like and throw out the rest, and whatever else he says. I think the Western mind somehow filters this part out and fixates on the rigid parts.

As far as mixing techniques, no, you shouldn't mix techniques. When you do a technique, do the technique.

But Goenka also says that in the beginning, you should try different techniques, until you find something you like. Then, you should stick with it and try to develop it. He says you might even doing multiple 10-day courses while you're still deciding if it's right for you.

The point is not that you should spend your whole life only having tried one thing. Rather, it's that you shouldn't spend your whole life constantly moving from one to the next, without ever giving anything a chance to show results.

(for me personally, Goenka's advice often rings in my ears while I meditate, but I tend to improvise without following anyone's instructions too literally, and I have no problem with this)

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
4/8/20 2:33 PM as a reply to Freeling.
Hello Freeling,
Welcome here, I hope you'll find useful information and advice.
I started a thread that might be of interest to you :
Some views on the technique in the Goenka tradition
where I try my best to share my experience with this technique.

Hope that helps.
Feel free to ask anything that needs clarification.
Best of luck with your practice

with metta
miling stone

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
6/19/20 4:47 PM as a reply to Freeling.
Freeling:
Kia ora,

This is my first post on Dharmaoverground having just discovered it yesterday. 

I live in Aotearoa/New Zealand and have attended two of the Goenka-style retreats at Dhamma Medini and have plans to attend more this year depending on the Covid-19 situation. I am currently practising 2-3 hours a day and feel committed.

I have been reading about other retreat centres in Asia via this website. I feel open to trying other Insight traditions, but also feel some hesitancy. As people on here have noted, Goenka suggests not to mix meditation methods. I still feel like very much a beginner, having only started to develop my home practice this year.

My questions are as follows:
Is it best to develop my practice further in the Goenka tradition before adding new meditation styles? 

For those that have been on multiple retreats teaching different styles, how do you develop a sound home practice?

Two hours of Vipassana a day already feels like a big commitment. Do people practice several styles of meditation at home? Does this not get confusing? Surely it is better to focus on one method? Or not?

I'd especially love to hear from people who have been on Goenka's retreats who have made strides in their practice, as I'm feeling a bit uncertain as to whether I should stick to this path or explore other methods such as a noting.

Many thanks

Kia ora, Freeling, and welcome to DhO (as the shorthand for DharmaOverground here goes).

I'm a one-trick pony for a very long time in meditation technique, and so don't know Goenka from a hole in the wall. But I will say, that the longer you stay with one basic method, the more you make it your own. To keep changing techniques, in my experience, is to keep buying into promises of glitter or greener grass. But the real practice begins when the greener grass withers and turns brown. In the dukha nanas, you have to keep it basic, to make it through the winter to spring, when all that brown dead grass is just mulch for the new growth. One trick is enough, done deeply and well. You know every trick your self can play to dodge the shit, and over time, you stop dodging, because one method shows you that there's no escape in the end, except the thing we're all trying so depserately to escape with the carrot eternally on the stick of new methods and "fresh" approaches. Sit down and die: this breath, now. This way. This self. Gate gate gate, megaparamahagate.

Again, welcome. When I think of New Zealand, I can't help, in my relative ignorance and poverty of experience, but think of Whale Rider, one my all-time favorites films.

love,
Tim

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
6/19/20 5:22 PM as a reply to Freeling.
Goenka is not the boss of you. I think you should do the practices you feel drawn to do.  Sometimes that means committing and deepening something and sometimes it means experimenting. Reading up on different practices and what they do can be a good guide in that regard.

With the amount of practice you are doing right now you should be able to get a good idea about a practice after a month or so of work with it. You could try things out month by month and eventually craft something that works for you. I personally do a combination of concentration practice and noting and I really like it.

A teacher can be helpful in that process too.

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
6/19/20 11:35 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
emoticon

hottest selling t-shirt on DhO: "Goenka is not the boss of you."

love, tim

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
6/20/20 2:37 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
We need a thread just for meditation themed t-shirt ideas.

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
6/20/20 2:43 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
We need a thread just for meditation themed t-shirt ideas.

i am forbidden by the moderator from starting gratuitous threads. so it's on you my man, and your entrepreneurial aspirations and chops. I would be happy to take a cut of the proceeds, however. Maybe Papa Che could write a sales ditty for us, a real ear-worm catchy thing with a hook that fucks up everyone's meditation, until they scream for the white noise of hell itself.

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
6/20/20 2:55 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
I'll sleep on it.

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
6/20/20 6:18 AM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
... which should also be a meditation t shirt saying.


I think in the dark night, I think I'm an arhat, I think I'm clairvoyant... but I think I'll sleep on it.  emoticon

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
6/23/20 12:47 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
... which should also be a meditation t shirt saying.


I think in the dark night, I think I'm an arhat, I think I'm clairvoyant... but I think I'll sleep on it.  emoticon

dear Shargrol Of Course,

nothing personal, but this t-shirt of yours is incoherent. you can have it printed, but i'd keep the run to a single shirt, for starters. you're the only one willing to wear this rambling, incoherent slogan. meanwhile, i've got a guy i'm working with on another thread, putting out a DhO class of 2011 t, with "Ten Year Night" as our rough draft slogan (cf Luck Kaplansky, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgL7FM41qOY



love, tim

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
6/23/20 12:12 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
I think you should do the practices you feel drawn to do.  Sometimes that means committing and deepening something and sometimes it means experimenting. Reading up on different practices and what they do can be a good guide in that regard.


+1

In my view you want to find something that 'clicks' with you, it may not happen right off the bat but IMO if you are sticking to one technique for months and it's not "clicking" that may be a sign to try something else out.  we are generally more inclined to continue practicing techniques that we actually enjoy.  So keep that in mind and use your own discretion.  

"Reading up on different practices and what they do can be a good guide in that regard."

In college, the first couple of semesters you take a variety of 101's to give you a taste of many different flavors and knowledge systems.  I would think it's fruitful to explore a bit what's out there before you commit 100% to one technique or school.  Unless of course, you know 100% going in that you want to be a ____ (doctor, programmer, scientist) (i am still using the college analogy) emoticon  

RE: Mixing meditation methods
Answer
6/23/20 12:12 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
... which should also be a meditation t shirt saying.


I think in the dark night, I think I'm an arhat, I think I'm clairvoyant... but I think I'll sleep on it.  emoticon

I would totally wear this shirt!!  Well... maybe not in public emoticon