This is my two cents on Lalji’s comment above #15261, “Let us take an example. Suppose you are sitting cross-legged at one of these meditation retreats. You start feeling pain in your legs. That is a vedana. What would be your response? Do you just notice that and move on without doing anything to get relief from that pain?”
This is my understanding of Goenkaji’s instructions, what he saying is that in the first moment when you notice a painful sensation, you might have a tendency to move right away in response to pain, but he is saying that you also have the ability to not move right away and to take some time to watch the pain and to evaluate if you can actually stay still or if the pain deserves moving. He’s not telling you to move or not move, he saying take the time and make sure that it is a conscious decision to move and not just a reaction. The way I think that relates to what you are saying in changing your habits or Gati, is that just like you say that in between the Manosankhara of say greed arising and one creating a vacisankhara or kayasankhara of actually stealing there is some time, there is gap and in that gap one can choose whether or not to say pick up the ring left in the doctors office in your example or not. What I understand Goenkaji’s technique is teaching, is a practical way to increase that gap or at least to become aware of the gap and to give one more time to contemplate and make a conscious decision before one creates the vacisankara or kayasankhara. For example if someone says something bad to me, and based on my previous gati I start generating a Manosankhara of anger, then similar to observing the pain in the leg in the sitting meditation, I can use the sensations of anger that start with the Manosankhara and observe them and use that extra time I have learned to take by observing physical pain to decide whether or not I am going to express my anger, retaliate, or generate metta for the person and thus try to change my gati.
I understand that you haven’t attended one of his retreats, and I don’t mean to be too forward, but if you ever had the time maybe you can go for ten days – I know I would love to hear your perspective, and from the sounds of this forum exchange so would a lot of other people. It could be an experiment. and it is not so bad, the first time I went I was worried I had joined a cult :) – but they didn’t keep me, they let people leave whenever they want.