At the end of every 10 day course, SN Goenka tells people they should make a strong determination to sit for 2 hours every day for one year. While I’m committed to sitting 2 hours every day, I’m not sure I like the consequence of this challenge. What if someone is unsuccessful with this strict daily discipline. If someone doesn’t meet this high bar, will they not benefit from the practice? Most people quit their daily practice shortly after their 10 day course, and I’m wondering if this seemingly impossible goal is part of the issue. I’m hear to say that I’ve heard from many meditators that they’ve benefited from a daily practice regardless of how short it is. The key, from my perspective, is to set a goal that you feel comfortable with, and stick with it. Over a period of months or years, you can increase this period, but it’s not necessary to become the ideal meditator over night.
I’m not trying to undermine what Goenka has taught. I think the bar of 2 hours a day is good for very serious meditators. I just think it’s important for us, as the community of Vipassana meditators, to encourage all meditators to keep working, regardless of the stage of commitment they have with their practice, and to help them to feel included in this community.
As a society, we have a lot of learning and growth ahead of us, but we need to respect and appreciate the time and effort it takes to reach the higher levels of this practice. I hope everyone who has given up on this practice because to the extraordinary daily demand become motivated to pick it back up at whatever level of commitment they’re comfortable with. Time to meditate.