Everyone knows how to be kind. Everyone knows how to be supportive. Everyone know how to be giving, loving, and appreciative. Goenka says that the only way to liberation is through meditation but does this mean that the only way to live a good life is through meditation? When I was introduced to Vipassana I was in a rough spot and needed a fresh perspective to see the world from so it was easy to try a new lens and later adopt a new foundation but does this undermine all of the good things I did from my previous outlook? Does it take away from any of the relationships I built before I meditated? Does it take away from everyone who is busting their hump through thick and thin to make the world better even though their not meditating? I think not.
There is no doubt that Vipassana has made me a better person and that it has taught me to streamline my efforts when trying to help others but for the most part I’m doing the same things I used to do. I’m a compassionate listener to those who need to talk. I drive friends to the airport when they need a lift. I give hugs when people are down. Vipassana didn’t teach me how to be a friend.
I think that as part of the Goenka Vipassana community we need to be very careful how we present ourselves. When someone hears that local meditations are closed to those who haven’t sat a 10 day course and that Goenka teaches pure dharma that can liberate you while other paths can’t, it’s easy to create a perception that this is a group of elitists that look down upon everyone else. This is completely against the objective of creating a more peaceful loving planet that everyone can share.
I understand why 10 days is the minimum course length and why group sittings are closed to the public but it’s important that we’re very careful with the perception that we create. In my opinion, everyone naturally knows how to be a kind and giving person and those who live in such a way should be appreciated. If you want insight into how to be a better person check out a 10 day Vipassana course.