What I wish I knew Before Vipassana
An open letter to new (and old) students who wish to take a 10-Day Vipassana Meditation course, as taught by SN Goenka
A 10 day Vipassana Meditation course as taught by Goenka is intense, confusing, and often frustrating. Although I’ve now completed my third (twice as a student, once as a server), I’ve definitely had my days where I felt like walking out.
So, to help new students that have the aspirations of completing their first 10 day Goenka course (or even old students who want to give it another go), I have decided to lay out all of the things that I wish someone had told me before I took my first course. By going into it with a firm understanding of the below principles, you can focus on the practice, rather than trying to sort through the confusion and skepticisms. I believe that a little additional expectation setting and clarity can go a long way into making sure you get the most out of the experience.
I understand that this post might not be Goenka (or even Vipassana approved), but this is what I would tell to a close friend who is about to take a course. I hope that this helps you to get through it all with equanimity and come out with a smile 😃
*Disclaimer/Spoiler Alert — It’s a long post, but 10 days of silent meditation is a long course. Take your time to get through this. There are also a lot of spoilers in terms of what you will go through. If you want to go in blind and don’t want to know about the technique, I don’t suggest reading past this point.
1) It’s not a “retreat” — I often have people reach out to me and ask me about going on a meditation “retreat”. Vipassana is definitely not a retreat. It’s hard work. Treat it as such.
If you are going into a Goenka course with the intention of taking a vacation or relaxing, you’re in for a rude awakening. It is a course that has you working all day every day. When you sit down on that cushion, go into it with the intention that you are going to work on yourself, and you are going to work harder and push yourself more than you ever have in your life.
Don’t get me wrong, when you leave the course you will feel more refreshed, invigorated, calm and relaxed than you ever have in your life, but in order to get those results you have to work hard and come in with a serious attitude. It’s not a vacation or retreat, your work ethic should…