Vipassana Retreat - anyone?

I signed up for a Vipassana retreat in September - ten days of silence, no reading, no writing, ten hours a day of meditation.

Wondering if anyone else has done this, thoughts, recommendations?

No experience with this type of retreat but curious as to what you expect to get out of it?

What do you do for the other 14 hours in the day?

Talk, read, write, lol

No talking, no eye contact, no reading, no writing.

Wakey wakey at 4AM, meditation starts at 4:30. Meditation sessions run 60-120 minutes. Breaks, breakfast and lunch (no dinner), and then watch videos of SN Goenka giving meditation instruction, sleep.

I would like to stop being an asshole :slight_smile:

I have covered this territory before in my log, don’t expect people to be familiar with it, but have struggled with some mental health issues.

The purpose of the retreat is to teach Vipassana (insight) meditation techniques. There are many different types of meditation and supposedly, Vipassana is the one that Buddha developed and taught, was supposedly lost to most until Goenka revived it and brought it to the West because what cult is worth anything without a cool origin story?

I am hoping to quiet my mind, to gain some peace.

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This is the answer i was hoping for.
This is very intriguing to me. Have you ever done anything like this or are you jumping in the deep end? I don’t think i have the mental fortitude to attempt something like this.
I applaud you for taking a leap! I think a lot are too scared to experience the unknown.

Yes - to quote Ulysses from O Brother Where Art Thou, I been searching for answers for a long time.

Reiki level two, CMT, a ten month Breathwork Facilitator training, a ten month Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training, a week on an ashram in upstate NY, and three trips to rehab.

But - sitting in easy pose for ten hours a day will likely make me very angry, question the purpose, etc. . . so it really is jumping into the deep end. I will definitely be a changed person if I complete the ten days.

I am certainly reticent - I don’t think scared, but not gung ho about it. I was hoping to hear from others that had already done a retreat. There are plenty of reviews out there, both positive and negative, but I trust the opinion of this community more than the randos on social media.

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I’ll be very curious to hear your thoughts/impressions once you complete this journey. I hope you get closer to finding what your looking for.

I’m a big meditator, though I’ve never done a retreat (and don’t have any interest). A trusted friend of mine from SF has done a few Vipassana retreats and has gotten a lot out of them, so generally I would consider them favourably. I’m also a fan of the old-school Buddhist meditation techniques from the Pāli suttas.

From the flash of an impression that I have of you I think you would do really well and, like you said, it will definitely leave a lasting change. Insight can put you in contact with peace whether your mind is quiet or not.

I’m with @s.gentz and super curious to hear how it goes!

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You’re braver, or crazier, than I because I wouldn’t even attempt it. I hope you make it and get something positive out of it.

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Never done this.

I’ve done time alone but I ended up talking to myself/God.

A Catholic professor of mine recently was talking about a retreat she did…I think it was 4 days, no talking. I believe she said it was life changing.

We have two ears, eyes, even nostrils, but only one mouth. It’s probably good for most of us to learn to shut up once in a while.

Sounds very interesting

I’ve tried meditation in the past but never stuck with it long enough to see big changes

Usually my mind starts wandering after a few minutes or if I’m tired I find myself dozing off

Did you start with like 5-10 minutes and gradually build up to 120 minutes over time?

To be clear, the 120 minutes was part of Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training - I do not do that on my own.

Dhamma.org, who runs the retreats, recommends working up to sitting in meditation for an hour twice a day before attending a retreat. I typically sit for about half an hour in the mornings now, but that is it. I will definitely need to ramp it up before attending.

It is a bit of a paradox in that you need to have patience to develop patience. I believe learning to sit still, and to be quiet, are highly underrated skills. Jon Kabat-Zinn says we are human beings, not human doings, so just sit and be for a while.

Over time I have noticed a dramatic improvement in my ability to regulate my emotions - but I am doing other work as well so I can’t attribute it all to meditation.

Searching for answers.

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I have not, but I’m looking forward to hearing your experience.

I did some work using methods from the book The Mind Illuminated before ending up going the daoist direction and using different methods.

I don’t really know much about vipassana or “insight” meditation. I did see this which was somewhat explanatory.

@The_Myth Good luck & I also hope you are able to not only complete the retreat but also come away a changed man[positively].

I hope this is not out of line to ask, but your post immediately made me think of those ayuhuasca retreats, where people are looking for peace, healing, answers…anything. Have you ever attended one? If so, how was it? I was just curious. My brother in law is a marine officer and had some PTSD from Afghanistan, multiple tours, and he went on one after all the other “standard” western treatments didn’t do anything for him (psychiatrist, therapy, drugs, groups, etc). He said it was life changing and that he was able to quiet all the static in his head. Of course he also said that it was a very personal journey and the conversation ended, and I left it at that as I figured he would have shared more if he was inclined. He really did show a marked improvement afterwards in almost every aspect of his life, so I count it as a positive thing.

Whatever a person can do to find peace, to quiet their mind, to heal, hey, I say go for it, whatever it may be. Well, maybe not if you have to join an actual cult like Heaven’s gate or something…but besides that, yeah, go for it.
Also, I highly support your practicing/training more and more each day with regards to meditating, being quiet, not talking, etc. If you go in there “cold”, that’s gonna be a huge shock to go from 30mins or so, up to 10 hours!

@LoRez - my limited understanding of Vipassana is that the first three days are focused on annapana, or single point of focus, typically the nostrils/upper lip where the inhalation and exhalation occur and can be felt. If that is a challenge, you can focus on the rising and falling of the belly during respiration - with the goal of samadhi.

I believe that insight is introduced in the evening of the third day through body scanning similar to yoga nidra with the intent of feeling what is going on in your body but not reacting to it - pain, itchiness, etc… By sitting with these distractions and not reacting the student learns the impermanent nature of life.

@meastlake1 - I am intimately familiar with altered states of consciousness for dealing with trauma. My breathwork training is similar to learning to become a trip sitter, but the trip (altered state of consciousness) is induced by
breathing techniques rather than psychotropic substances.

In desperation a few years ago I took a mushroom trip alone and it was transformational. I believe I wrote about it in the woo woo thread. I have a close friend with severe PTSD from two tours in Afghanistan. He and his buddies gather every year for a mushroom trip and it has been very healing for them as well.

I’m pretty good mentally right now, but am looking to be great. I think the retreat could help me.

I recently tried DMT but did not have a transformative experience. I am pretty conservative when it comes to psychedelics and suspect I did not use enough. I do plan on trying it again but am very conscious about being intentional in my use of plant medicine.

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