the good news is the retreat has not turned me off my path [...] i will continue my studies and my practice, just not with mr. goenka as my guide.
I like Goenkaji's method, and I was impressed in my first course (though I disliked it for the first few days of the course because of the rigor it demands and because it was quite different from my expectations) which I took 12 years ago. But I think I can understand what you're feeling about the course. I believe that this method/tradition may not be perfect for everyone. I would even say that any single method or tradition within Theravada may not be suitable for everyone
. There are so many methods and traditions and many good teachers within Theravada, and most probably one of them might be suitable for you. And it's very good to know that you are not turned off your path and you will continue your practice.
i won't go into any goenka-bashing, as i know there are many here who are fans of his "method"
Certainly there are. For many people it's working great.
if i had wanted to spend 10 days in prison i would have commited some petty crime,
So your experience of a popular meditation course was just like that of a prison? In that case, I guess there's a huge gap between your expectations and the actual method and objectives of the course.
and i've studied enough psychcology to know when i'm trying to be hypnotized. it's classic mind controll; [...] the place had a very "cult-ish" vibe...
I don't think so...Not a bit.
I have gone through this website in the past. And that is not an unbiased and fair critique because of many reasons.
they don't like it if you decide to leave.
It's not because they lost a "customer". It's because they think that you didn't complete the full course to give it a fair trial, and you didn't get the benefits you are supposed to get.
all i can say is, to anyone thinking of going to one of these "boot camps", i hope you have done more research than i did, because once i got out, i found ALOT of stuff about these prisons that i wish i would have read before going in.
You are totally right in saying that you need to do some research and understand what it is about before joining the course. It's really a hard and serious work (for good), not a retreat in a resort. But to tag them as "boot camps", which they are not, is unfair and just exaggeration.
i understand that "fun" is not what the retreat is all about, i get that, but i have never in my life been around so many unhappy people. the 20 or so fellas i was there with all looked like zombies. a person can get "serious work" done and still have a smile on his face, can he not?
Most probably you would have seen smiles in the faces had you stayed for full 10 days. I know many people look unhappy in the beginning of the course but they start smiling towards the end of the course. It's not because they are now free from the "prison" but mostly because of the effect of the meditation (including Metta meditation), and a sense of satisfaction that they have got a new perspective and a method to getting rid of Dukkha.