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TOPIC: A Beginner Goes All Out

A Beginner Goes All Out 18 May 2013 22:26 #11759

Okay now I want to try a Goenka Retreat:

www.mensjournal.com/magazine/print-view/...-meditation-20120821
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A Beginner Goes All Out 20 May 2013 12:12 #11787

That effing sucked!
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A Beginner Goes All Out 20 May 2013 13:04 #11791

Ugh, just read it... So much progress could occur if people could check in with a teacher every half day.
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A Beginner Goes All Out 20 May 2013 13:41 #11792

shargrol wrote:
Ugh, just read it... So much progress could occur if people could check in with a teacher every half day.

Maybe so. I was just amazed by his gonzo spirit! :blink:
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A Beginner Goes All Out 20 May 2013 14:27 #11793

Yeah, good for him for "going for it", but...
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A Beginner Goes All Out 20 May 2013 14:36 #11794

From the article:

I'm deeply, heart-slammingly nervous, yet also elated. This is something I'd long wished to experience: a chance to unplug, de-stress, switch off. To halt, for a decent spell, the incessant babbling – my own and everyone else's. I'd had three children in three years: My life, morning, noon, and, goddammit, middle of the night, was overwhelmingly noisy. I was snared in the new-father vortex of fewer hours to work and more bills to pay. At my last doctor's visit, for the first time in my life, I registered alarmingly high blood pressure.

Ugh is right.

These types of articles don't do serious, long term meditators much good, IMHO. So here's yet another writer dude who decides that mediation is going to sure his medical issues, his noisy life with little kids and apparently his money troubles. It reminds me of watching, listening and talking to ABC's Dan Harris last summer at BG2012. It's all about the novelty and the story, the heroic bullshit they have to endure as a beginner, or the odd seeming people they encounter while dabbling in meditation. It's not clear to me that there's anything here for folks like us. These writers can do a lot of damage or a lot of good, but the stories all seem to trend toward the damage end of the spectrum because they emphasize the weirdness and the difficulty as opposed to the long term benefits of waking up, which I imagine they view with suspicion, like they do UFO believers and Scientology.

Sorry to be so negative but folks, but I suspect we're being stereotyped, maybe even used. Or maybe I'm jaundiced by my experience with journalists.

Anyway, after one Goenka retreat he's got his silence back :P

And so a pernicious myth is perpetuated -- meditation is like taking bad tasting medication! It sucks for a little while but it cures what ails ya. No need for a life-long inquiry into just what a human being is. Nope. Just take this pill (one retreat) and poof! Life is good again.
Last Edit: 20 May 2013 15:03 by Chris Marti.
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A Beginner Goes All Out 20 May 2013 14:56 #11797

Agreed. First of all, the local gang isn't good enough for this dude; he has to go all the way to India. Second, he really is just dabbling. He put himself through boot camp, and that was enough. That's what happens when your interest is so narrow.

I am somewhat biased b/c I never went on a Goenka retreat and don't think they are all that wonderful an idea. Maybe people get breakthroughs, but at the price of how many others getting breakdowns, or just giving up?
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A Beginner Goes All Out 20 May 2013 15:13 #11798

He had to go to India - the story would be nowhere near as cool if he went to the Goenka Center here in Illinois.

This story also plays to our errant western desire to avoid our problems, eliminate them with eastern magic. We here know that's nonsense. Meditation and real spiritual practice is about engagement, not avoidance.
Last Edit: 20 May 2013 15:14 by Chris Marti.
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A Beginner Goes All Out 20 May 2013 16:06 #11801

Funny-- I had too little interest in the Goenka "brand" (especially having to commit to the hardcore spiritual tourist aspect) until I read Laurel's comment about "That effing sucked." For Laurel to write that way made me curious about the article: I thought that was her evaluation of the account.

So, I read it and discovered that that summary was the "money shot" of a fairly humorous account. AND now, with the additional comments, that you all share my qualms about a project such as the author's.

What a funny old world.
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A Beginner Goes All Out 20 May 2013 17:02 #11808

In complete honesty, I was always intrigued by Goenka retreats, because of their price point! To me, they were a way to get 10 days of focused practice but I agree, not exactly the best forum for new meditators. One thing that has always turned me off was that the instruction was by cassette or now, apparently, CD. That sounded way too Jim Jones to me, and so it remained in the back of my mind as possibly interesting.
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A Beginner Goes All Out 20 May 2013 17:36 #11824

Yeah, they would be perfect for you Tom. You would do fine on such a retreat.
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