2 months ago* I did a 10-day meditation retreat, put on the by Dhamma.org organization (they have centers all over the world, including one a few hours from me). This will be a long review since there is a lot to say!
They teach a specific type of meditation called “Vipassana Meditation”. First I’ll explain what the whole thing was like, and then let you know my opinions on it.
There a few strict rules that you have to follow during the retreat:
- “Noble Silence” for the entire 10 days – no communication of any kind, including verbal communication, non-verbal communication (gestures), physical contact, or eye contact. There are 2 times each day when you can ask an assistant teacher questions if necessary, but otherwise the entire retreat is completely void of communication. Since I was a bit late on the first day, I didn’t get to meet the other students ahead of time, and had no idea what anyone else looked like until the last day when we were allowed to talk again.
- Complete celibacy (no sexual activity of any kind)
- Can’t kill any animal (including insects like mosquitos)
- Can’t lie (not too hard since you can’t talk)
- Can’t have any intoxicants (alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, etc)
- Can’t have any reading or writing material
- No physical exercise
- No music
- …and a few others
All the rules are to facilitate meditation, minimize distractions, and allow people to get as deep as possible with their introspection. [Read more...]