I've been associated with the Goenka tradition for 25 years. In that time I have sat many ten-day and longer courses as well as serve on courses. I've also sat and served in Australia, NZ, India and Myanmar.
Pre-course jitters are natural. I still get them from time to time.
Many Hindus participate in ten-day courses, particularly in India where the Govt of Maharashtra gives its employees an additional ten-days leave on top of their holidays to do a ten-day course. My teacher, SN Goenka, came from a Hindu famil and during the discourses he talks about some of the pre-course jitters he had as a young Hindu businessman.
Throughout my time participating in courses, I have witnessed a large number of clerics of various religions participating in ten-day courses. As Goenkaji says time and again, there is no conversion from one organised religion to another.
The benefits of practice include positive changes to one's personal and professional life. I won't bore you with the details of mine. If you do attend a ten-day course, Goenkaji, via the evening discourse, will talk about the immediate benefits he received as well as the benefits that some of his co-students received as well as anecdotes from the life of his teacher, Sayagi UJ Ba Khin. U Ba Khin also went on to speak in front of a delegation of Israeli government officials headed by Prime Minister Ben Gurion at IMC (International Meditation Centre) in 1961 on the positive impact of Vipassana Meditation on government administration and productivity.
If you have time before your course starts, I recommend that you track down and read a copy of John Coleman's excellent "The Quiet Mind". John Coleman is a contemporary of Goenkaji and anothr of Sayagi U Ba Khin's students. In the 1950s, Coleman was outed as a CIA agent in Bangkok and 'disappeared' by spending a number of years undergoing a spiritual journey where he met up with U Ba Khin, Maharishi, Krishnamurti and others. Coleman eventually became one of U Ba Khin's assistant teachers and he still teaches today (occassionally). It is very inspirational.
All the best with your upcoming course!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725
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