<aside> ℹ️ This is Part #1 of a two-part newsletter!
🙋♂️ 🚩 You are here, in Part #1. Part 1/2 - What it's like: 10-day Goenka Vipassana Meditation Retreat Learn about the retreat itself: how it's run, what they teach, who runs it, etc.
Part 2: 2/2 - My experience: 10-day Goenka Vipassana Meditation Retreat Once you have the context from Part 1, I can better explain to you my own experience, how it went, and what benefits I took away from it.
<aside> 💬 "Staaaaaaart again. Staaaaaaart again. With a calm and quiet mind, start again."
These are words you'll hear repeated multiple times daily on 10-day retreats run by the late teacher S. N. Goenka. His voice reverberates through the meditation hall, played on the speaker system via voice recordings from an identical 10-day course held in 1991. These are words you hear time and time again. His voice is deep, calm, and imbued with a tone that to me seemed to convey compassion and understanding that you're working hard, and maybe even having a tough time.
<aside> 💬 Along with these words:
"Work diligently. Diligently. Paaaaaaaatiently and persistently. Work continuously. Continuously. And you are bound to be successful. Bound to be successful."
Which he will recite to you after instructions are given or repeated at the start of a meditation session. He has enough phrases and consistent mannerisms that I can easily recall the above from memory, and what was at-first a curiosity or quirk eventually became a friendly reminder to pace myself, breathe, and do my best.
👋 Hey everyone! I'm back from my 10-day meditation retreat. Glad that last week's scheduled newsletter (I'm not actually here) reached you all OK. 😁
You're probably wondering, if you haven't asked me already:
Probably the first assumption people might make about meditation retreats is that they're relaxing, refreshing, soothing, or some kind of getaway. And I don't blame them either, because "retreat" is a bit of a misnomer when we're used to its connotations with holidays and relaxation.
In any case, maybe you're not going to be surprised to hear that this 10-day experience was very challenging. It was absolutely a bootcamp, and pushed me to my limits, and at times beyond those limits. The experience demanded diligence, patience, persistence, and continuity of practice.
There was some measure of theory and instruction, but mostly a toooooonne of practice.
But, as it should, hard work begets results. And while it was definitely a nice flex of the muscles for the willpower/determination part of the brain, my meditation practice has naturally developed, and I've come away with many realisations and benefits, some of which were unexpected. Before we get to any kind of recounting of my experience, please bear with me. 🙏
First, I need to spend basically a whole newsletter giving you the context about the retreat: who, what, where, why, etc. Since the setting is so unique, if I jump straight into "here's how I found it, here's the experience I had" I'll be all over the place with tangents explaining all the details herein anyway. So instead of rambling myself through that mess, I've split this into two parts.