Not sure where to go from here!

Carl West, modified 4 Months ago at 1/31/22 7:52 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 1/31/22 7:52 PM

Not sure where to go from here!

Posts: 3 Join Date: 1/31/22 Recent Posts
Hello!

I just got back from my 5th, 10 day Goenka retreat. And as always, I came back quite destabilized. This time around I worked the hardest I ever have - hoping that this would finally be the time I feel the way Goenka describe people who finish a course.
​​​​​​​
He talks about how developing feelings of appreciation towards “this wonderful technique”. He mentions how people at the start of the course look so miserable, and how at the end they look so happy now. They’ve removed all these “impurities”. Instead, I feel worse off, although things are slowly returning to being stable.

Not seeing the sankharas talked about in MCTB I tried to find more info on this site. It seems like not everyone (or anyone else) subscribes to how Goenka explains it. Anyway, I feel like I’ve given Goenka’s technique more than a fair try. Honestly, I feel like I’ve wasted with a lot of time on it, as I was getting into deeper states with other methods.

What initially got me into meditation is how it let me be more functional and boost my facilities. I’m back in school for Computer Science, so being more proficient in academics is a priority.

With this being my main goal, perhaps I should stick with pure concentration practices for a whole? Not sure where to go from here or what to do. I haven’t yet been able to perceive the difference in insight concentration and shamadi concentration (stabilizing on object VS seeing its impermanence). 

Many thanks!
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 2/1/22 6:30 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 2/1/22 6:30 AM

RE: Not sure where to go from here!

Posts: 4417 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I'd like to understand better what you want to get from a mediation practice. When I read your first post it makes me think you see meditation as a tool to use to increase your ability to succeed in your education. You also say. "... being more proficient in academics is a priority." You hint at having other objectives. I suspect you do because otherwise, you wouldn't have been motivated to attend multiple 10-day Goenka retreats.

Did I get it right? What folks here will suggest to you hinges on your objectives.
Carl West, modified 4 Months ago at 2/1/22 7:59 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 2/1/22 7:59 PM

RE: Not sure where to go from here!

Posts: 3 Join Date: 1/31/22 Recent Posts
Well I do have the overall, yet somewhat vague goal of just wanting to be able to live a better life. Keeping things in a clear perspective of what's important, and to promote a state of being that can allow me to live more in line in such ways.

I bring up the academic aspect because it would be the most life changing thing for me to succeed at. Lack of concentration and anxiety are the two biggest hinderances for me here. 
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 2/2/22 6:46 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 2/2/22 6:46 AM

RE: Not sure where to go from here!

Posts: 4417 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Okay - thanks.

Be aware that you are engaging in a meditation method that's going to be a roller coaster ride. It's not a straight line to your objectives. It will, at times, present you with what seem to be existential issues, make you reactive, cause you to question very basic assumptions that you might not even know you had, and so on. It can also cause extreme bliss, satisfaction, and warmth. It will generally be a long and winding road, to quote the Beatles song.

I'm telling you this to get you to think about matching your methods to your goals. There are alternative methods of mediation that might suit your immediate objectives better than Goenka's, or a path based on vipassana - both of which are aimed at full spiritual awakening, otherwise known as "The Ride."
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 2/2/22 8:06 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 2/2/22 8:06 AM

RE: Not sure where to go from here!

Posts: 1760 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
And to further paint the picture, there are other modalities besides meditation that work on concentration and anxiety. Many modes of therapy, many benefits from exercise and sleep and nutrition, lots of "systems" for organizing your work to be more productive.

I ask Carl this lightheartedly, but why not daily exercise and reading and using "Getting Things Done: the art of stress-free productivity" by David Allen?
Carl West, modified 4 Months ago at 2/6/22 12:14 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 2/6/22 12:14 AM

RE: Not sure where to go from here!

Posts: 3 Join Date: 1/31/22 Recent Posts
Over the years I think I've tried just about everything. I'm pretty on top of my sleep, fitness and nutrition. Thanks for the book reccomendation, I've been sitting with audible credits not knowing what to do with.
Emil Jensen, modified 4 Months ago at 2/6/22 1:22 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 2/6/22 1:22 PM

RE: Not sure where to go from here!

Posts: 319 Join Date: 7/16/20 Recent Posts
Okay, so I'm not so shy of being less politically correct....

I'd say (with humility of course...) do another practice already! If Goenka style doesn't work for you, then move on. You did indeed give it a fair try and you should be seeing the results, at least looking back years.

I also did 5 Goenka retreats and the last one got me suuuuper annoyed and just tired of it.
So I stopped practicing for two years and started noting. That did me good. Perhaps you try that noting, see if it works..

It's a very popular technique in here so if you need help with it, you're in the right place.

Good luck!
thumbnail
terry, modified 4 Months ago at 2/6/22 1:27 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 2/6/22 1:27 PM

RE: Not sure where to go from here!

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
aloha carl,

   I've been talking about nothing but sankharas lately, in the form of addictions. Any repeated behavior has the nature of habituation, and becomes a tendency. 

   Habit is the mammals way of freeing up center stage consciousness for more immediate problems. We automate processes under conscious control when at all possible to save energy, it is our default program. If your aim and motivation is improving functionality,sankharas are rightly your focus.

   Multiple ten day retreats sounds like hard work. Perhaps you think you can earn awakening through dedication and hard labor, and are disappointed that your strenuous efforts have not born fruit.

   I don't fault your motivations but it seems to me you are barking up the wrong tree, as shar and chris indicate.

   On the other hand, if you meditate enough perhaps your desires will abate and you will find freedom in spite of yourself. The grasping ego who is disappointed at a lack of progress could become self aware and realize that is better than progress. You, my friend, you - could separate from this grasping ego and stop identifying with it.

   For me, meditation is a break from work, a form of repose. An ease. I turn my face to the world rested and with a better attitude, a better mood. Meditation is like treading water. When the water is calm, it is like floating. But that's me. I've never been on a long retreat. Or perhaps I've never been off one.

   Anyhows, bra, with all the work you do, you could be ready for metanoia. It's a ride. Or maybe not.

​​​​​​​terry

Breadcrumb