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Meditation Retreat tips
10 day retreat tips
Answer
5/16/18 9:26 AM
Hello DharmaOverground,

I am planning to go on a 10 day Vipassana retreat at Dhamma Paphulla. Please give me few tips about attending a retreat as this is my first retreat.
Any information regarding the retreat or practice or tips would be very helpful.

RE: Meditation Retreat tips
Answer
5/16/18 12:15 PM as a reply to Dileep.
Hello Dileep,

1) I assume this will be a Goenka-style vipassana retreat, right?

2) If this is the case, the main question is: Are you planning on following Goenka's directions, doing your own thing entirely, or a mixture of the two? There are several pros and cons to each of the options, both from the point of view of what the most effective practice for you might be, and from the ethical side of things, given that you will make a commitment on day 1 to only practice as Goenka instructs.

3) What are your goals for this retreat?

Whatever your answers to 1-2-3 are, I suggest this post by Nikolai:

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.it/2010/11/going-for-stream-entry-on-goenka-10-day.html

RE: Meditation Retreat tips
Answer
5/16/18 3:37 PM as a reply to Dileep.
I have completed five of these meditation courses, and have also volunteered for five courses.  This is what I suggest:

disclaimer


1) Please only practice the meditation technique they teacher.  It's because they know what they are doing but also..... practicing another technique is lieing and breaking morality.  It will create bad karma in the category of dharma.  That is not a category you want bad karma in.  The more important something is the worse karma comes from breaking it (and dharma is the most important thing there is). In the same way this is why it is very good to help people along the path, it brings the best karma there is. 

On top of this, the vibration of the whole center is of the meditation technique they teach and is very strong.  Using their technique is like going with the grain and will aid you a lot. 

disclaimer done
_______________________________________________________________________________________

1) The most important thing to know is that some bad things will come up, and that actually means it's working.

There are two types of rough patches you will have:

a) One is simply that your real life issues are going to show themselves.  Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, anger, jelously whatever bad issues you have will come.  This happens because meditation is introspecitive and brings awareness to these things, like shining a light on them.

Here is the fundamental mechanism to all emotion:

If a negative emotion comes up and you just watch it and accept it, it goes away.  The term they use is "to remain equanimous", to not react.  And when bad emotions go away in this manner, it goes away for good.  It is not like putting a bandaid on it.  It dissolves and burns them off compeltely.  The opposite of the mechanism is also true. If you react to the emotion it stays and may even grow.

But with the meditation technique you are gaurenteed to win.  But the win may be gradual.  It may overcome you, you watch it, it settles down, then it over comes you again, you just watch it, it breaks down even more.

I had a panic attack in one of the first few days of my retreat  I brought it up to the Assistant Teacher and he did not seemed worried at all.  I then felt that either he was crazy and I was in big trouble or that he knew something that I didn't and everything would be ok.  The latter turned out to be true and from that retreat those panic attacks came up and out for good.

b) The other rough patches you will go through are actually stages along the path to enlightenment.  You can put as much or as little attention to learning about these stages as you want.  They aren't necessary to know at all.  You need no knowledge, no book, no teacher.  Your meditation does everything all on it's own.  So know that several of the stages are rough and certain specific emotions come out in each one... but you burn those emotions off in the exact same as described above


2) Don't let the information in the Nikolai link overwhelm you.  You need nothing.  You need no teacher.  You need no knowledge.  You need no book. The meditation does everything entirely on it's own.  All of my attainments happened outside of my meditation retreats and all of them with eyes open. Just think of your progress as linear and let whatever happens happen.


So in conclusion... be ready for bad stuff, but in the end it is not possible for it to win.  You have your sword, your meditation techinque.

RE: Meditation Retreat tips
Answer
5/17/18 3:10 AM as a reply to neko.
Thank you for your response Neko and Bailey.

AS for Neko's questions, please find my answers.
1) I assume this will be a Goenka-style vipassana retreat, right?
Yes Neko. This is a Goenka style Vipassana retreat.
2) If this is the case, the main question is: Are you planning on following Goenka's directions, doing your own thing entirely, or a mixture of the two? There are several pros and cons to each of the options, both from the point of view of what the most effective practice for you might be, and from the ethical side of things, given that you will make a commitment on day 1 to only practice as Goenka instructs.
I have promised the center that I will be entirely practicing only what is being taught there. However, off the cusion, I would like to keep myself aware of each activity that I am doing and if distracted while doing mediation, I will note it.

3) What are your goals for this retreat?
I am not sure of whether I have crossed stream entry. Finding it out is not my main goal at the moment. My main goal at the moment is to just complete the retreat with all my heart. So I am more of curious of what would happen on this retreat rather than having any goal. Adiitionally, this retreat might answer whether I am a stream enterer or it might make me stream enterer.

Thanks.

RE: Meditation Retreat tips
Answer
5/17/18 5:09 AM as a reply to Bailey ..
@Bailey,

I’ve sat over 15 courses and served well more than that helping to build a dhamma hall and dhamma pagoda and dusting Goenka’s residence/bedroom/library and pagoda cell. I then went and did my own thing on a ten day and got to 1st.  Am I doomed? 

Dogma for scare value is still just dogma. 

Though for beginners, please follow the instructions to learn the valuable technique and use it to develop an extremely valuable awareness of the subtler realities of mind and body. 2 cents

nick

RE: Meditation Retreat tips
Answer
5/17/18 1:33 PM as a reply to Dileep.
Focus all your attention on the pysical sensation of your belly rising and falling, like a rabid dog ( as dan would say ). And, relax, relax, relax.

RE: Meditation Retreat tips
Answer
5/17/18 6:26 PM as a reply to Dileep.
Follow instructions. Be mindful of sensations during transitions and times between sits.

Memorize the stages of insight and read about how to handle them, such that, if and when they arise, you are not thrown or surprised, but instead know how to handle yourself and practice well on the sensations that make them up.

RE: Meditation Retreat tips
Answer
5/18/18 2:38 AM as a reply to Dileep.
Dileep:
I have promised the center that I will be entirely practicing only what is being taught there. However, off the cusion, I would like to keep myself aware of each activity that I am doing and if distracted while doing mediation, I will note it.

Goenka's instructions for off-cushion practice is to be aware at all times of some body sensation. These instructions are given relatively late in the retreat (day 7 perhaps?) but I don't think it will hurt if you get started with that earlier emoticon