I recently returned from another intensive 10 day meditation experience. Although I’ve written about this experience a few times before, the impact it has on me continues to deepen.
SN Goenka is the teacher of this course, in fact he was the root of many of today’s western spiritual folks including Sharon Salzberg. As a bit of background, he is basically attempting to teach exactly what the Buddha taught, and he is quite qualified. Reason for this is that he learned for ~15 years in Burma, which is apparently the only country to actually preserve Buddha’s teachings entirely. About 100,000 folks take this type of course per year, but as mentioned before, this is more ‘meditation bootcamp’ than ‘spa and yoga’.
To be clear, this is what the Buddha taught, this is not Buddhism (and I am not Buddhist). Buddha taught a way to transform oneself through personal experience of the nature of reality at the root level – something performable by anyone in any system of belief. To literally ‘see things as they are’ – no imagery or mantras, just experience of the moment as it is.
There’s just so many ups and downs over the course of 10+ days that it’s really tough to encapsulate that experience for me at this point. For me, the unique aspect of this is that there is personally experienced wisdom everytime – not something I read from another, not even something I reason out in my mind, but truth experienced. Something about that leading to stronger sticking ability in day to day life, although of course it’s a long path.
Little by little, I’m seeing the importance of the subtle - ones intentions, small actions, and small reactions. They certainly add up, and by the time small becomes big, its really hard to stem the tide. So grateful for the chance to develop in this path and to work seriously on it, at least for a short time.