Meditation Sign-up Leaves Me Less Than Rested

I tried at least. My attempts at meditation are now almost over. I’m gonna stick to the bottle for comfort for the foreseeable future.

This is a sad tale of woe, long and drawn out; meditation isn’t the spiciest of topics and failure to get into a meditation program isn’t going to make for a best-selling novel. I’d suggest you not read of my movement from interest to pissed-offness.

I’ve suspected for quite a while that attempting to learn some meditative techniques might help me physically and emotionally. Knowing that I would need structure and strictness and a change of environment to learn anything, I asked around and heard good things about the Vipassana Center and heard that courses were in English and that it was open to all and not teaching religion – this being important to me, as I’m looking for the joys (peace? / insight?) of meditation without the religious baggage that comes with it. Focusing doesn’t (in my book) require an anesthetizing credo. (Actually, I don’t have a Book.)

I have long breaks between semesters and after having already squandering one or two breaks, I promised myself that I would make attendance at a 10 day course at the Vipassana Center in Taichung a priority for this coming summer break. So I signed up over the net (see soon after the Chinese new year began – for a course in June. The site informed me that I would know of my acceptance about two weeks after sign-up.

Friends laughed at me for signing up – we’re talking of 10 days sans smoking, drinking, medicating (of any kind), phoning, meating, coffee-ing, speaking, reading, or (even) tea-ing. Not exactly a laugh-fest. You can’t even take in a porn magazine. Nevertheless, I adamantly wanted to try this and wanted to stick it out for 10 days, no matter what. You must – after all – learn something after that degree of deprivation.

Two months after signing up, I called to inquire. I was told when I called that I would actually find out only a few weeks before the course and not two weeks after signing up and that they wouldn’t be able to know if my application had been received until they processed things months later, just before the course. They had no way to check if I was even in the system.
No problem. I thought that they were probably just too meditative and relaxed and that I might just sign up more than once to ensure being in.

A week ago I got a mail asking if I spoke Chinese, and requiring an answer so that they could process things further as “The conducting teachers of the courses does not speak English,We are not sure whether we can find a English translator for the courses.”

Nice to get some sort of response, but this surprised me as Vipassana courses around the world are often held in English and have been in English in Taiwan in the past. But of course, I wasn’t pissed off (yet). It’s my own fault for not having a better grasp of Chinese. I’m in Taiwan, after all. The courses should be presented in Chinese. But I was somewhat irritated that I had gone through pages and pages explaining the course in English (check the site) and not one had even hinted that this course was not going to be available to me.

I responded to their mail with “Unfortunately, I don’t speak Chinese. Do you know of any other meditation centers that have courses in English? That would be a big help.” And it’s just after that, that I started to get irritated.

I got "Hi, / There are many meditation centers can accept your application, you may find them via website. / Be Happy. / “

They suggested happiness. Be happy everyone. Frigging happy. Happy. Happy.

:noway: It may have been their idiotic thought that I hadn’t checked websites already. It may have been their thought that this particular type of supposedly non-religious, non-denominational meditative training center grows on every bushel; I mailed again and spoke of my dismay that their site has no disclaimer, and asked if they specifically knew of other courses like theirs.

In the next mail, I was told: “The course in Taiwan is bilingual, but councting teachers are not all can speak English, so we suggest tha you may attend the course in Malaysia. We are sorry can’t help you.”

Don’t tell me that they are being sweet, because I get that them responding at all is polite. Still ….
Assuming a councting teavher is a conducting teacher, I’d like to know in what way the course is bilingual? And if I am gonna spend the money to travel in Asia, why would I use it to travel to a specific country, enter a center and sit there for 10 days? I’d rather go to Thailand and wear a red shirt. They need to frigging put the obvious on their English version of the site: it’s no longer a meditation course in English.

Has anybody else out there had a similar experience of trying to take a healthful and meditative break? I don’t care if the Vipassana philosophy works for you or not. But where can I learn meditation without the overt religious crap? And preferably in a restrictive setting where you sleep with a bunch of farting vegetarians? Other than barring my own doors, inviting vegetarians over and not going to the 7-11 for smokes?

I realize that this particular center does their work not for gains in this goddamn friggin world, but is supported by donations and therefore can’t be expected to live up to normal standards of service, but I’m slightly amused that people could be so relaxed as to not add salient facts to a website.

Take a break – everybody – and say “Om”.

I’m far from heeding their “Be Happy”. Your experiences?

Pity, sounds like you could really do with some meditation.

Having done a few Vipassanas I’d suggest going ahead with the one above anyway. You really don’t need to speak much and I’m sure there will be someone on the course who speaks enough English to explain the basics. All you need.

I did one in Northern India many years ago as the only foreigner there and they had tapes I listened to in the evenings instead of the live talks.


ThreadKiller, stick with the bottle. That, exercise, and socializing a few times a week keeps me happy and calm. :slight_smile:

I thought Vipassana was about not talking also…being silent for whatever time you sign up for. Thing is you don’t need to go to a meditation centre to meditate. Ofcourse if you are looking for someone or something to be mad at…you can continue being mad. But really 10 days of meditation is neither here nor there…you will feel great and soon enough be back to your meating, porning and smoking.

I like the ideaof sitting still for 5 mins at first and then gradually increasing the time. Just sit still comfortably on a chair, concentrate on your breath and don’t do anything. Let the mind wander and keep bringing it back to your breath or the view you have or whatever. That is the hardest thing to do. It is simply easier to be with 100s of people in a group and do as they do, but to sit alone each day is super hard. I know we are all alone nd typing away or cooking or singing, but try sitting with yourself and believe me we are not that good a company!!

mmmmm okay dunno why I had to share that :slight_smile:

:slight_smile: I’ll follow your advice, but will avoid the the exercise. Difficult to exercise and drink at the same time.

Er … I’m as relaxed as the next person. The next person is pretty freaked out though. Just think it all sucks and we should do all we can to get the most out of it before death.

Thanks, I’m considering doing it. Just to freak out the Vipassana people, if nothing else. You’ve given me good ideas about how to suggest it to them (tapes). Will mail them now. They are not good with phones.

Divea, I’m not sure what you are trying to say. Love you and thanks for the thoughts, but as I said (“Knowing that I would need structure and strictness and a change of environment to learn anything ….”), I do need a different set up. Meditation by myself doesn’t work. Works for some, but not for many and definitely not for me.

Mate, if they piss you off now, just wait until you’re half way through that Vipassana! I’m usually ready to murder someone, anyone, with absolutely no provocation by then. :laughing:

So much for the calming affect of meditation! Actually, the upside to Vipassana creeps up on you and you don’t really become aware of it for quite sometime. Worth keeping in mind.

Good luck.

Just that you don’t need a fancy course…5 mins of sitting still will reap the same benefits and is equally rigorous!

I’ve done Vipassana in Aussie, and I recommend it as a course. You do sound quite stressed out though. During Vipassana I felt frigging amazing, very attuned, relaxed and aware/sensitive.HG I will PM you.

[quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]Mate, if they piss you off now, just wait until you’re half way through that Vipassana! I’m usually ready to murder someone, anyone, with absolutely no provocation by then. :laughing:

So much for the calming affect of meditation! Actually, the upside to Vipassana creeps up on you and you don’t really become aware of it for quite sometime. Worth keeping in mind.

Good luck.

Nice to hear from someone who has done it. I had no specific expectations for the course - my main goal was to just stick it out for 10 days and see what happened after that. With no nicotine, I am sure I would have murdered somebody long before half way through.

Trying to kill your own thread? :wink:


Just that you don’t need a fancy course…5 mins of sitting still will reap the same benefits and is equally rigorous![/quote]
:slight_smile: I’m okay with sitting. I’m actually quite good at it when I get a chance to do it. I’m sitting now.

But you are right - I will have to teach myself meditation if I can’t do the course I would like.

Knowing myself, however, the learning would have been more successfully carried out in a controlled, strict setting for a prolonged period of time. I wanted the shock and change. I strongly believe in meditation and feel I would have learned a lot from the Vipassana course.

I’m not the most relaxed, but far from the least relaxed of my group of friends.

I’m really just pissed off that some twats don’t think it’s necessary to state things clearly on a website.

I don’t appreciate them wasting my time.

By the way, I tried suggesting that I could use CDs and it didn’t go down well: “We are sorry,we can’t accept your application.There are some check-in will be held to understand how is your meditation, so all the students had to speak Chinese.”

I’ll just mail again and suggest they update their site. But I suspect, they’d rather not. If it’s in English around the world, they might not want their sister centers to know. Just a gut feeling.

Never mind - I will find other means of relaxation and learning for the break.

Contact head office?

Will ask them to update the site first. I mean, they’re not doing this for money and it’s a great service, even if not available to me. But don’t worry. I can take on a few meditators if I need to.

Easier said than done :laughing:

You’re right - they’ll just assume I’m too stressed and in need of meditation (that they wouldn’t give me).

You could try Shinzen Young. A highly respected American teacher, he offers online retreats once a month. Typically they last four hours, and range from introductory to ‘deepening the practice’ courses.

Check him out here. There are links to Youtube talks as well on the front page.

The courses run for 1 1/2 hours, followed by an hour in which you can speak to the man himself, followed by another 1 1/2 hours.

He’s not only the bomb, he’s also cheap as a dime. $20 US for a four hour session. And doing it online works very well in my experience.

While Shinzen works within the same broad insight tradition that Goenka does, his approach is ‘noting’ bodily sensations and thoughts, rather than the body scanning approach of Goenka. Noting, I should add, is widely regarded as superior in effects to body scanning. ‘Superior’ as in faster and more effective in achieving the outcomes aimed for by the practice.

The only downside are the schedule times. Due to the time difference between here and the states, retreat starting times can range from 1am/4am/8pm/12midnight. Pretty grim. But don’t overexert yourself the day before, get to bed early, - if its one of those early morning starters - and you’ll be spending time with a master of his discipline. This cannot be said about the attendants at a Goenka retreat.

Btw: Don’t mean to bash Goenka retreats. They can be valuable. Its a shame the local outfit couldn’t find a way to accommodate you.

Thanks for the suggestion Dial. I’ll check out the links you suggested when the summer break hits. I was really looking forward to the total change of environment to help me along my meditative way, though. I’m more likely to turn on my laptop for porn or work. I don’t think e-meditation will work for me, but I’ll check out all options - thanks. :slight_smile:

Cheers TK, give him a try. He might be to your taste. As I say, he’s very well thought of.

As to online activities - work, porn, plus spirituality seems like a well balanced life to me. :sunglasses: