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Who's been on a meditation retreat?

MingleMingle Veteran
edited September 2016 in Meditation

If you have, how long for and how do you feel you benefited from it?

I have thought about it but the idea of sitting cross legged and meditating for hours on end just fills me with dread. I mean I'm a pretty laid back guy as it is but I don't think even I could have that much patience. Is it as daunting as it seems?

I meditate twice a day for just over 20 mins and I have tried just ten minutes more but I just can't do it without starting to despise it so I stick with what I'm comfortable with.

Although I do one day want to go on a retreat but I think I'll wait until I'm older and perhaps less restless.

lobster

Comments

  • Ive been on some and I found it very useful. It gave me a chance to stop the constant distraction and slow right down. I had some wonderful blissful experiences. It was delightful to notice things like a tiny flower or an ant and find them so interesting.
    I also experienced a lot of grief and pain at times. I felt the whole spectrum of emotions on most days
    Go with no expectations. Don't go hoping for an amazing enlightening experience because you may end up disappointed. The retreats I went on alternated walking and sitting which I find much better than sitting the whole time. I dont ever want to sit the whole day. I don't think its very healthy for your body.

    Mingle
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    If you have, how long for and how do you feel you benefited from it?

    I have thought about it but the idea of sitting cross legged and meditating for hours on end just fills me with dread. I mean I'm a pretty laid back guy as it is but I don't think even I could have that much patience. Is it as daunting as it seems?

    I meditate twice a day for just over 20 mins and I have tried just ten minutes more but I just can't do it without starting to despise it so I stick with what I'm comfortable with.

    Although I do one day want to go on a retreat but I think I'll wait until I'm older and perhaps less restless.

    Not all retreats are like that, and if you want to skip some meditation sessions you can. Some groups do weekend retreats for beginners, others do 5 day retreats.
    Retreats can be a good way of deepening your practice and learning from others, so I would recommend them.

    lobsterkarastiMingle
  • I will be going on a solo retreat soon.

    Yes done Theravadin, Tantric, Yoga, Islamic and Christian retreats. They were all wonderful. Talking to ants and flowers is one of the benefits.

    Many Christian retreat houses in the UK are quite happy to accept Buddhists, atheists and heathens (whoever they are).

    One of my favourite retreats was to Gai House in Devon in winter. Unfortunately due to my heretical tendencies I was informed my booking would not be taken. I had already booked the bus ticket and so went anyway. Of course not being welcome with the advanced adepts, I had to camp several miles away in a small fishing tent.

    I managed to spend the first night doing shivering meditation [must master tummo]. I developed a program of meditation, chanting and walking meditation around a tree. Mindful sardine eating was also part of the program ... B)

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Retreats are valuable in so many ways. They aren't all just sitting in meditation for hours and hours. Residential retreats (where you stay for a few days) are the best for me, as they require you to disconnect from all the trappings of our daily world and connect with yourself and others in a completely different way. The longest I've done was 5 days, we stayed at a wilderness resort (space was donated, it was their off season) and bunked in cabins. It was with my teacher, we had bonfires at night and told stories. It allowed a way of bonding with my teacher and my sangha brothers and sisters that can't happen any other way. It was then that they really became like family to me. We usually do one a year, but I did not get to go this year as it coincided with the very busy end of school year.

    I highly recommend them. Just don't sign up for a 10 day Vipassana-heavy retreat or something. Do a short one that has teachings interspersed with meditation. We did walking meditation and sitting, and the sitting never exceeded 30 minutes.

    If you want to increase your sitting time, do it slowly. If you can sit comfortably for 20 minutes, add 2 minutes. When you are comfortable with that, add 2 more. Eventually you will be able to add slightly larger chunks, like 5 minutes, as you adjust. When I started meditating, i started with 5 minutes and it was like torture. Now I mostly do open-ended meditation.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    If you have, how long for and how do you feel you benefited from it?

    I've done probably 30 or 40, ranging from 1 day with the longest being 1 month. Some of the benefits are mental clarity, focus, happiness, calmness and tranquility. All good things!

    I have thought about it but the idea of sitting cross legged and meditating for hours on end just fills me with dread. I mean I'm a pretty laid back guy as it is but I don't think even I could have that much patience. Is it as daunting as it seems?

    It's never as daunting as it seems. I can't remember the number of times where I've heard someone say "Wow, I'm surprised I was able to do that. That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be" Or something to that effect.

    I meditate twice a day for just over 20 mins and I have tried just ten minutes more but I just can't do it without starting to despise it so I stick with what I'm comfortable with.

    There is a old saying by some teacher, forgot who, but it said "If you can sit past the point of being fed up with it, that's when you make real progress" Or something like that.

    Although I do one day want to go on a retreat but I think I'll wait until I'm older and perhaps less restless.

    I would recommend against that myself. Because that's almost like saying "I'll start lifting weights when I become stronger" or "I'll take a shower when I'm not as dirty" or "I'll start exercising when I'm not so out of shape"

    Doing things like a retreat is precisely how you become less restless!

    karastilobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @lobster said:> One of my favourite retreats was to Gai House in Devon in winter. Unfortunately due to my heretical tendencies I was informed my booking would not be taken. I had already booked the bus ticket and so went anyway. Of course not being welcome with the advanced adepts, I had to camp several miles away in a small fishing tent.

    I thought heretical tendencies were a requirement for Gai House! What exactly did they object to? Was it the sardines?

    lobster
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Take your time. Try a one-day-er. Or a two-day-er. But as my mother once observed, "Don't get too holy by next Thursday."

    Yes it's frightening to imagine, but how accurate are mere imaginings? I've done a lot of seven- and three-day-ers and, while there were some pretty bumpy patches, none of them had much to do with what I had imagined.

    What's the upside payoff? It's impossible to say, but if you try it, you'll be able to say it.

  • It could be a fine experience. Its not that much of a big deal. But the first step is just go and find out.

    lobster
  • @Mingle said:

    Although I do one day want to go on a retreat but I think I'll wait until I'm older and perhaps less restless.

    A restless fantasy or a day of rest? Try a day.
    The truth you ilustrate so well is how no one is able to overcome dukkha until they have finished playing with it. o:)

    and now back to the ageless quest

  • @Mingle. You will be in good company. Others will be just as anxious. Wondering if they can make it through.

    lobster
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