Author Topic: The need to retreat  (Read 2583 times)

Ben

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The need to retreat
« on: October 09, 2007, 02:07:05 PM »
Hi Ben and thanks!  Its great to be in touch with you again!  We didn't hear from you for a while, I seem to remember you saying that you were going on a long retreat?  I've still some work to do to convince my wife of the value of going to a retreat, but she's slowly coming round to the idea now she sees the benefits that meditation is having on me and therefore our family life :)


Hi Paul!

I would have liked to be a more prominent member at the old vipassanaforum.com but with my lifestyle and moderating responsibilities on another forum, it was just too difficult.
Thank you for remembering.  Yes, I attended a 'long course' (20-day course) of vipassana meditation in New Zealand in July/August which was probably the hardest but most rewarding experiences I have ever undertaken.  Despite the similarities of the technique and similar timetable to a 10-day course (Goenka tradition), the experience was quite different.  Far more intense. 
Fortunately, I have a wife who is very supportive of my practice.  Even still, it took two years of negotiation to attend the long course!  But at the end of the day, practice isn't about how many or what kind of retreats you do.  Its about integrating the Dhamma into life.  Retreats are a wonderful experience and a great tool, but that's all they are, a tool to help you progress.  The real progress comes in the day-to-day, maintaining sila, meditation, living the Dhamma, walking the Noble Eightfold Path.
Paul, don't give up on your aspirations to attend a retreat.  The day will come!
Kind regards

Ben
Kind regards

Ben

Paul

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The need to retreat
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2007, 04:32:05 PM »
Ben, OK I get the message I'll start the negotiations now  :)   I understand what you say about the path, I seem to sometimes fix on right effort and concentration and forget the rest; you made a very good point there!  My aspirations to attend a retreat will stay, its one thing I really want to do in life.

Thank you!  Paul

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
The need to retreat
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2007, 06:10:43 PM »
Ben, OK I get the message I'll start the negotiations now  :)   I understand what you say about the path, I seem to sometimes fix on right effort and concentration and forget the rest; you made a very good point there!  My aspirations to attend a retreat will stay, its one thing I really want to do in life.

Thank you!  Paul

Paul,

In the meantime here is a suggestion:

Negotiate with your partner that for one day (or one day a month) or a half day even, you are going to do a private retreat. Find a friends house that is empty, a cheap and quiet B&B or send the wife and kids on a day out so you have a retreat space.

Structure your day in advance: Ideally you need to awake in that retreat space alone that morning. Have a timetable:

7am wake & shower
7.30 - 8.30 am Sit
8.30 - 9.30 am slowly, meditatively, prepare and eat a healthy breakfast
9.30 - 10.30am Sit
10.30 - 11.30am Walking meditation outdoors, natural surroundings
11.30 - 12.30 pm rest (you will need it if  you are unused to intense practice)
12.30 - 2.00pm slowly, meditatively, prepare and eat a healthy lunch
2.00 - 3.00pm Sit
3.00 - 4.00pm Walking meditation, outdoors etc, OR Read a Dhamma text
4.00 - 4.30pm Sit

~o~ end of retreat

Now this must sound like a lot to organise but I would be surprised if you could not quickly think of a suitable place and be doing it - if not this weekend then the weekend after - and it is definitely much less organisation than finding and negotiating attending a 10 day retreat.

I would also say that as preperation for a long guided retreat this sort of private solitary short retreat is as precious as gold. It may also help your "convince the other half campaign" - she may notice it increases those positive effects she has noticed already. In fact with two or three of these under your belt she may book you on a retreat sooner than you think :D

In the Dhamma,

Matthew

:)

ps ... if you are wondering how this became a topic on its own ...
* The Irreverent Buddhist puts his hands up
« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 06:15:08 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Paul

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Re: The need to retreat
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2007, 12:53:13 PM »
Thank you and excellent idea Matthew, I'm going to try this out!  At home it wouldn't be possible, but there are a lot of places up in the mointains where this would be doable.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Ben

  • Guest
Re: The need to retreat
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2007, 01:07:12 PM »
Dear Paul and Matthew

I would even approach a Buddhist monastry (if there is one close to you) or even a Christian monastry.  I am sure they would welcome you if you wanted to do a one-day solitary retreat.
Kind regards

Ben
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 05:36:27 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: The need to retreat
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2007, 06:19:23 PM »
Dear Paul and Matthew

I would even approach a Buddhist monastry (if there is one close to you) or even a Christian monastry.  I am sure they would welcome you if you wanted to do a one-day solitary retreat.
Kind regards

Ben

Ben,

Not a bad idea at all - and certainly good for two or three day retreats. For a one day I would go with the mountains though.

The problem with doing a one day in such places is that it can be pot luck and you have half the monastry breathing down your neck as you may be the only interesting thing that showed up all week.

There is no silence like the mountains. Moses retreated up one, Jesus too - and the desert of course, then there's the Buddha under the Bodhi Tree.

There is something special about such places and the isolation to be experienced in them, which combined with meditation can make for deeply transformative experiences.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 06:22:46 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~