I've been struggling in my exercise the past couple of days and honestly, I haven't kept up daily meditation in weeks, although I still practice mindfuless. Last night, being a bit frustrated by my backsliding, and hoping I could "put a chink in the wheel" (morality is a wheel -- goes up, then down, up, then down), I decided to get drunk and I'm knocking off a few beers right now (there's been a 30-pack of Budweiser in the kitchen cupboard for months, just sitting there)...
...And I'd like to go on a retreat. But where could I go?
I've heard about S.N. Goenka's retreats and there's one not too far from where I live. But I just saw this lady's story about them:http://melissamaples.com/pb/retreat.pdf
And that's a bit creepy. One part of me thinks it sounds cultish, but another part of me thinks it's just hardcore mental discipline of the same kind of stuff that a lot of ascetics go through, and it's what I'd go through if I ever join the military, except they'd train me to be an arrogant patriot and a murderer. I stayed in a psych. ward for 2 weeks once for being suicidal and the description of Goenka's retreats reminded me of the same feelings I had while staying in the psych. ward --in terms of the abusiveness, the inhumanity, the apparent frustration one feels from being surrounded by nothing but crazy people incapable of communication, being strangely entertained by something as ridiculously simple as a game of cards and reading the same books over and over, and childishly competing over who gets to pick the TV channel (in the 1 or 2 hours a day of TV that we got) -- that is, in the Goenka retreats, there's no talking with anybody, so even though everybody isn't crazy, the feeling of isolation and imprisonment is probably the same -- and the feeling of freedom upon release is likely just as unsettling.
But I don't like the feeling of not being in control of my own mind. Of course, if my control over my mind so far has had such horrible results
and if everything is void, you know (like nihilism sort of, but instead a pleasant drift into profound omnipotent luminous intuition rather than an anxiety from or attachment to darkness within darkness, ignorance within ignorance), then perhaps throwing my mind into Goenka's hands isn't just a bad idea.
Anybody know of any Theravadin retreats in Maryland\Washington D.C. area, or had any experience with Goenka's retreats?