Meditation Retreat part 1

Posted: August 2, 2012 in Mindfulness

I thought that it would be easy to write about a week-long meditation retreat, well it’s not. Almost one week later and I am struggling.

It’s difficult not because it was insignificant, but rather because it is so personal, coming up with something to say that can be meaningful to readers has been posing me a challenge. So I’ll write a short summary here of what it ‘was’ and then I’ll try and give some impressions through my thoughts on things I did in subsequent posts.

A week in silence and meditation, is first and foremost time with yourself. The silence removes distractions from human interaction (gossip, small talk, debates) and digital connections (phone, iPad, camera, music) as well as books and one should also refrain from self-distractions such as writing a diary. All of these things are opportunities to escape the objective of the retreat which can be summarised as : concentration & contemplation.

During some of the talks, I observed mind mind wondering if my iPhone was on ‘silent’. My phone was in a safe somewhere, turned off, and had been for days…

The retreat also serves to remove daily worries such as food and shelter, everything is provided. A schedule of meditations is also provided so that there is nothing left to do but practice concentration, observe your mind, practice mindfulness, and contemplate.

I would say that a week is about the minimum necessary for novices. It takes time to calm the incessant chatter of the ‘monkey mind‘. It takes time to be fully present, to observe and then really spend some time with yourself, understanding one’s attachments, cravings, suffering.

Key benefit #1: I observe my mind, it’s not me, it’s just a part of me that likes to play games. I have started to label these games and it is easier to recognise them for what they are.

Key benefit #2: easy to distinguish between needs and wants, all we really need is food, shelter, and health to survive.

Key benefit #3: alcohol, cigarette, junk food, meat, gossip and other addiction detox. But they do have instant coffee 🙂

A few people have told me that a week of silence and meditation would drive them crazy or that they do not have the time to invest. I look at it like this: is not a week with yourself to better understand who you really are, not a wise and small investment of time? The monetary cost is according to your means (a donation to the foundation at the end).

Side benefits: the food is good, Dipabhavan is in the nicest place I could see on Kho Samui (I did not visit any resorts…), there is probably nothing more authentically Thai around.

Meditation Hall

  1. hook says:

    Welcome back, Fin. I’m looking forward to you expanding on all this.

  2. Arne says:

    Great, George! Sounds very appealing!

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