Q: I did a 10 day silent retreat at Goenka’s school of Vipassana recently. Though challenging, it was a very powerful experience I must say. But I could never reach the same level of insights and healing from my meditation practice at home, when I meditated for 1 hour every morning. Seems like meditation could work only when it’s practiced that intensely. Or maybe I’m just doing something wrong… If you have any advice, please share?
A: The core of the practice is to let go of all wanting, all craving, and all grasping for any experiences for this ‘me’. If you investigate that very desire for even intense meditation experiences, whether that be bliss, peace, or insights – you see it is rooted in a sense of a self who is always wanting something or wanting things to be other than they actually are. True wisdom arises when one can be fully with the way things are – that is the Dhamma. As Ajahn Chah says in this teaching, look honestly at what is happening in the mind in terms of love/ wanting/ grasping and hating/aversion. Stay with the quality of knowing, penetrate until you are able to transcend these extremes – this constant pull and push which is the cause of suffering. Then the heart and mind are released and at ease.