So as some of you might know I recently did a 10 day silent meditation retreat – which long story short, was awesome.
I’ve got 10 pointers here that give a pretty good insight into the experience and I totally think you should do it.
10 insights from a 10 day silent meditation retreat:
1. Going from zero to hero hurts. On induction night you have to do a 1hr meditation. I remember relaxing into it thinking I was zen AF and blissfully moving through the hour effortlessly …. and then looked at my watch….. I’d done 12 minutes.
2. And it gets worse. Each day you do 11hrs of meditation. 4:30am => 6:30am, 8am => 11am, 1pm => 5pm, 6pm => 8pm. The first day was the longest day of my life. I remember sitting on a bench overlooking the blue mountains and seeing the track where I did a 50km run and thinking that would be less painful than sitting meditating.
3. And then things improve drastically. By the third day time felt like it had halved from the first day. Your meditations get easier, they go quicker and you don’t get as frustrated.
4. Vego actually felt alright. I love my meat but for 10 days you’re required to go vego (breakfast and lunch and then 2 bits of fruit for dinner) and the insides feel bloody good as a result of it.
5. Sitting REALLY still is fucking hard. There is sitting still meditating and then there is sitting perfectly still for at least 1hr. For the first 3 days we practised ‘respiration’ where you breathe through your nose and focus your attention on the small bit between your nose and your upper lip (the smaller the area of focus the more you sharpen your mind) at day 4 we switched it up to focusing on scanning your body for ‘sensations’. Fuck me. All of a sudden you feel every bit of pain and itchy ness that you never knew existed.
6. The monks are on to something. I use to look at those guys and think they were crazy but I remember on day 5 being in the most blissful state through stillness and silence I’d ever felt and I never wanted it to end.
7. Staying silent (making no eye contact, no gestures etc) is easy but….. the only time I really felt called to talk (or at least acknowledge) was when someone opened a door for me or let me by etc. you feel like a rude prick but you’re not to make any form of acknowledgment or gesture so you just walk on by.
8. I know you’re not meant to but…… I took my journal in. Holy fuck the things I wrote down and the clarity I had on stuff was mind blowing. Reoccurring destructive patterns (that I couldn’t see or couldn’t solve) that have affected my relationships, business and life for the last 12yrs all of a sudden become crystal clear. I don’t want to disrespect the Vipassana community by going against their rules (it clearly states don’t bring any writing material) but the 29 pages of journaling I did was massively liberating.
9. You may lose your shit. It’s ok everyone does. On the final day you get to speak to others and damnnn there were some interesting stories. A lot of people having crazy mediation’s (often about snakes which is said to be a sign of change) and dreams more vivid than ever before and proper breakdowns (panic attacks, wanting to leave, thinking people on the outside world had died etc) but whether it’s the journaling, the mental ‘challenges’ I’ve done before or the mental stuff I have been studying it all helped me to be the ‘observer’ of my thoughts, emotions, sensations instead of being consumed by them (if you’re going to do the course try and remember this, it’ll make a big difference)
10. Coming out is a bit challenging. It takes a little bit to resettle. Tegs and I drove to Melbourne and for the first 30 minutes of talking she couldn’t stop laughing thinking I was either stoned or somewhat possessed. I’d probably take a day or two to ‘realign’ to nature. Definitely don’t go into a new job two days after like I am.
11. Oh yeah and you’ll feel so refreshed and rejuvenated. You’ll feel like a new person.
Long story short – you should do it.
Stay woke hombres.