Many of us would come to him when in the midst of some major life turning point or need to heal something. We hadn’t heard a thing about him; an underground Guru from India with 172+ worldwide Vipassana centers under his belt at the time of his passing and a massive multi-million-dollar Global Pagoda on an island near Mumbai- the largest free-standing Pagoda in the world that seats up to 8000 meditators offering executive courses.
Goenka himself can come across as an opinionated father-figure, yet he aims to teach the highest spiritual path for our best interest. Ultimately he just wanted us all to experience the Anicca within ourselves, so each course is taught with this goal in mind, and each center only allows for meditation to take place in their centers, so as to promote Anicca for mankind. Anicca is the awareness of the arising and passing away of sensations and the Law of Impermanence; change.
Vipassana is an experiential form of purification; no talking, just ‘doing the work’- mentally and emotionally. Unlike a typical church in today’s society where one talks about God, Vipassana centers are set up so we actually experience our ‘God-Power’, our unique Higher, Purified Selves, by taking part in a rigorous 100-hour meditation ceremony over the course of 10 days.
I received so much benefit from my first course that I ran up to my instructor in India and begged to take the next one.
“But of course you can take another. Probably in 3 weeks or so.”
“No, no, I mean the course that begins in 2 days!!”
“Yes, I feel brilliant, and I haven’t achieved such peace in all my life. I am finally understanding what my mind is and how to calm this wet-towel feeling in my chest I’ve had for years.”
And so 2 days later I’d do another 10 days, before walking outside the center for the first time in 22 days. And that afternoon, I’d experience one of the most blissful and memorable experience to date; the ability to walk through slums with men spitting all around me and nothing- no opinions, no judgments, not negative energy- was able to stick to me. I felt bulletproof.
I knew I was home.
We were cared for extremely well that weekend. I was boarded on a nice train ride and housed in a nice nearby cottage and bused to the event, where I’d meet SN Goenka for the first time. He was wheeled in alongside his wife, Mataji, and he shared a talk on Vipassana with a few thousand of us, much like his many audios, before sharing his gratitude with the many Center Leaders from around the country.
It provides us with a unique outcome- a purification of the life-energy in and around the area we are observing on our bodies. It also keeps us relaxed, helps release pent up tension, and provides us with insights in our lives. So it’s not just meditation- it’s relaxation, it’s healing, it’s learning how to feel our bodies, and it’s something that can be done anywhere, anytime.
Vipassana New World was born in late 2010, following a desire of 3 students to learn the Anapana breathing technique over a long weekend that happened to be the weekend the Buddha’s relics were on tour in Houston, TX. We took a field-trip to pay respects to the Buddha’s relics on the first evening of that first course, and since that time, we’ve offered a handful of 3-day and 5-day retreats and 5 full-scale 10-day retreats from Las Vegas to Sedona/ Phoenix to El Paso to Austin, TX, similar in style to the classical Indian Goenka Tradition (as of July, 2013).
The Vipassana technique is challenging, and I do recommend getting one’s feet wet before jumping into a full 10-day retreat, yet if the idea of this technique resonates with you, then by all means, watch the movies “Doing Time, Doing Vipassana” on YouTube, or “Dhamma Brothers” on Netflix. Then sign up for your next retreat today. It will most likely take care of months of personal healing and therapy sessions for you in just a 10-day period.
Satya Narayan Acharya Goenka
B. Jan 30, 1924
D. Sunday, Sept 29, 2013
Age: 89, four months before his 90th birthday
Jan A. Tijmes
Vipassana New World
"You have to work out your own Salvation."