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09.09.2013
Given these contradictions, how do I summarise my Vipassana experience into a pithy blog post? If she is reading mine, she’s seeing a circus of bouncing ideas and somersaulting worries. I observe the tingle in my nose, which is now intense and violating. I’m 100% sure that a spider is trying to burrow into my face and lay eggs! Only when I look up do I notice three other meditators standing still, staring into the bush, giggling. While walking to the meditation hall, a bone-chilling wind gains momentum on the hills and smacks me head-on.
My impulse is to gasp, to cover up, to run for shelter, to complain to anyone within earshot. I’ve been deprived of distractions for eight days and my body is becoming hyperaware.
We reach to scratch our noses, run to escape the cold, or open our mouths to spew disapproval before we stop and observe without judgement, and ask: What am I really feeling right now? When I walked out of the retreat and into the car park (or heel-clicked to be specific), I was perplexed about what, exactly, I’d learned from doing a whole lot of nothing.
I don’t really know what happened to me in the meditation retreat, or why sitting for days on end has led to this new mindset. I found what was really interesting about your experience was in fact – what you learnt during that time, seemed to happen in tiny little moments and I think that is so like life don’t you?
I can totally relate to being hyper-aware of every thought, sound, grumble, etc during meditation.
But I thought your final take-away was most poignant…life is a series of moments, which good, bad or indifferent, are all fleeting. I’m glad I found your site when I was trying to figure out what a blogger was a year and a half ago. My mom was in Hospice a couple of years ago…and my grandpa was in a couple of years before that. I’ve endured worse things that the retreat, like 26 days of open ocean, sailing between Mexico and French Polynesia. I’ve read a couple of blog posts of post-meditation retreats but this was the only one that actually gave me an idea of what it was like to be there. I’ve toyed with the IDEA of Vipassana for so long, but have never had the guts to do it. Recognized insight meditation teachers from all over the world offer daily instruction and guidance in Buddhist meditations known as vipassana (insight) and metta (lovingkindness). At regular intervals throughout a retreat, group or individual interviews with the teachers take place. When a Retreat Center course is in progress, anyone who is not already participating in the retreat is welcome to attend the evening talks about the teachings, known as dharma talks. But if you haven’t been to IMS before, please speak first with the Retreat Center office for an orientation prior to attending a talk or sitting period. Teacher talks given at the Retreat Center are available for downloading, streaming or podcasting.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Dermed hadde vi lost alle problemer og krangler for den helgen… Men hva med tiden etter den helgen? These (1DR, DDG, PDG and the social meetings) are open to anyone who has come to the group for at least one month and attends regularly. The group was founded by Lesley LebkowiczLesley Lebkowicz has practised vipassana meditation since 1983 and has spent several years in silent retreat in Australia, the USA, Burma and Nepal. The course rules stated that all distractions and sources of entertainment were forbidden, including computers, books, paints, writing materials, or anything else that one might feel inclined to pack in a weekend getaway bag—practical or kinky. A carpeted walkway up the centre of the room divides the men from the women, and all is silent apart from distant birds and rustling gumtrees. The distractions of real life—friends, jobs, TV, music—are already a hazy memory.


Until this retreat, I had no idea that so many people are perfectly comfortable with letting one rip in a silent hall.
Seven minutes have ticked over, seven of the six thousand minutes required to get through this course. What the hell is going on with the grass? I notice that it’s not one shade of green, but a full spectrum of vibrant greens! I’d eaten twice-daily meals of delicious vegetarian food, I had slept soundly in a comfortable bed, I had discovered an incredible new ability to sleep upright against my will, and I had meditated. Anxiety used to be a huge part of my life, and I dealt with it in the way that someone who lives by a freeway deals with the constant racket of traffic. I suggest that all of you befriend her on Twitter and Facebook, then head over to her blog. I wrote entire stories in my head, and since there are no distractions, the ideas don’t get lost. Sailing as a lifestyle is full of intense emotions: the highest of joys, the lowest of lows. That 20% of stuff that can go really, really wrong when sailing is what worries me the most. Thank you for the reminder that everything is temporary, my head is so full of extraneous noise at the moment, I need to make the effort to be still and detach from the barrage of thoughts which threaten to unhinge me. I’ve never considered a meditation retreat, but your post is making me think I may need to change that. But accepting it for what it is without judgement, including all the anxious chatter, is liberating. I must say that my relationship to nature has improved significantly since doing the retreat. Your blog posts remain one of the very few I can read from start to finish as I would do a book, without scanning through them instead.
I was totally transfixed reading every word of your experience and felt I could relate in parts. It’s actually kind of relaxing to be looked after, fed, etc, and not have to worry about other people or daily obligations. Your paragraph about life being an ongoing series of painful moments and happy ones is so TRUE. I just have so much trouble setting the time aside for it, I know it would be great but still I struggle, there’s always so much to do day to day.
It’s something I vowed never to subject myself to although I love meditation and have been doing yoga for thirty years now. While the context is the Buddha’s teachings, these practices are universal and help us to deepen awareness and compassion. Which is just the beginning of the #nakedness #raw #nothingness #silence I'm about to experience. I bilen pa vei oppover begynte krangelen om hvem som skulle a velge rom og seng og altmuligrart. We are a group of meditators practising in a Western form of the insight tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. He has been a meditator since 1988, practising mainly within the tradition of the Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma with teachers who have included Sayadaw U Janaka, Ven Pannyavaro, Ven Sujiva, Patrick Kearney and Sayadaw U Vivekananda.
How can I tell you, dear blog readers, why meditating for one hundred hours over ten straight days was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself? Where do I even begin? Our new norm is sitting upright for hours on end in a room full of strangers doing the same.
She reminds me of the preserved bodies of meditating monks that are often on display in Buddhist temples, long dead and dried up like beef jerky. My racing ideas and worries are occasionally interrupted by a ringmaster’s feeble attempts to assert discipline.
As if to demonstrate these teachings, the temperature is constantly jumping between warm breezes and snap freezes, then back again.


Our habits of reacting are automatic, carried over from moments in our past, from stale old memories.
It was in the background, loud and obnoxious and invasive, but always there and unable to be silenced. But whenever a worry comes into my head or a fear threatens to take over, I can pause the moment before the adrenalin kicks in, before I become lost in an automated reaction. Good and bad ebbs and flows like the tides, and trying to hold onto pleasure is as silly as trying to grasp the waves to stop them flowing back out to sea.
There is absolutely no way I could manage more than a week with a blank mind and no way of acting on ideas. But most of the time we’re all too busy thinking about what is for lunch, how we f*$%ed up in a meeting, or what our best friend did to upset us. It took a little time but eventually I was content to spend hours in the hammock only tracking the moon and stars, my mind in a blissful state of quiet. As a novice sailor I have some ideas, but I’d really like to read more about how this would have helped you.
For me, having these skill taught in Vipassana would’ve allowed me to stay in control of my fear and anxiety during the trying times.
Sounds like your new-found skills are serving you well and hopefully others around you gravitate toward this new calm (calm begets calm) during trying times. I struggle with anxiety quiet frequently and I find that meditating really helps with this but I don’t do it often enough for it to be 100% effective.
I am amazed that you could endure the retreat, but obviously it was worth whatever discomfort it took. They have these retreats all over the world, so I wouldn’t be surprised if your sister is doing the same one.
I always worry these classes are a waste of time or money but it’s later on that I really feel the difference in my mind, my mood and my focus.
I’m glad to see your perspective has changed and that the trip had a meaningful impact!
The day is spent in silent practice with alternate periods of sitting and walking meditation, as well as a one-hour work-as-practice period.
He is a trustee of the Buddha Sasana Association of Australia, the organisation that owns and manages the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre. The gardens are full aimless women, like someone has released a busload of Alzheimer’s patients at the park. You write them down at the end of the retreat and act on them once you’re out of jail.
For the first time I saw my computer for what it really is: a cold piece of metal, a lifeless tool, a device for doing tasks. He also taught me how to meditate, so reading about your distracting thoughts (itchy nose, etc.) made me laugh so hard. My sister-in-law (lives in Spain) is going to a retreat that sounds just like this in Portugal. More information about this form of meditation is provided here.CIMG’s foundation is the weekly sitting group. The only moving part of Buddhist Jerky is her eyeballs, which roam the room and penetrate each of us in turn with the intensity of a mind reader. But all he’s taught me has been so helpful even a year after especially the importance of a deep breath first when faced with any trigger of anxiety or stress. But I realised in that moment I’d become attached to it as though it was an extension of myself.



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