Is a Meditation Retreat For You?

I went on my first meditation retreat in 2003, shortly after breaking up with my boyfriend and declaring to him that I was going to become enlightened. 

I didn’t know what it meant – enlightenment. And I certainly didn’t know how I was going to get there, but it just came out. I don’t know from where or why, but there it was.

So I signed up for my first retreat 4 weeks later. I had never meditated. And I chose one that I later found out, is nicknamed “meditation bootcamp.” 

We sat for 10 hours a day for 10 days. I thought I was going to go crazy those first 3 days. Someone who had gone before me advised, “whatever you do, don’t leave early.” 

I kept repeating those words in my head because it’s all I wanted to do – run away.

I wanted to run away from everything that was coming up that I had suppressed for so long. Gulp. But I stayed. Phew. I made it through.

And not only that, I was as high as kite by the end of it. I thought to myself, “Wow, if all the world leaders spent 10 days like this, the world would be a different place.”

It was the first time I had felt peace, total peace within me. I wanted others to experience it too.

For years after, I dabbled off and on with a daily meditation practice trying to get back that peace I had lost over time with “life” happening as it does. 

Then I found my teacher Matthew Flickstein in 2008.

I had been in a 6 month state of depression, wondering if I would ever find my true purpose, my calling in life and believed if I felt sorry for myself long enough, the greater forces that be would hear me. Boy, is that a crock of shit. But sometimes that’s just what you need to do. So I did.

Back to Matthew and the two year spiritual program I did with him. The depression lifted 2 months after starting the program. I went to 3 week long retreats the second year. Then another a year later, and have just returned with a 5th retreat with him. (FYI, we meditate 4-6 hrs a day)

Every retreat is profound. There is no exception. To sit in silence with my thoughts for a week. To really see how wrapped up I got, how I use to believe everything that went through my head seems insane to me now. But then it seemed real.

I am so much more peaceful, more happy, more alive, more joyful than I’ve ever been in my life, and I know these are an important part of why. 

If you have any pull, any thought of doing one, I highly recommend it. They are typically held in total silence with no eye contact, no talking, no reading, no writing -nothing that distracts you from seeing the truth of your thoughts – that they are not Truth.

Here’s how to know if a retreat is for you:

  1. You easily react to people or situations.
  2. You believe all or most of your thoughts.
  3. You believe you don’t have time to meditate or do a retreat.
  4. You live by your “to do” list, feeling like when you get it all done, you’ll be happy…
  5. Fear holds you back from really living your life to the fullest.

I think that covers most people, which means you too.
Commit to your life fully, it’s the only one you have…

•Recommended retreat centers:

Shambhala Mountain Center

Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Vipassana Meditation Courses

Insight Meditation Society

Categories: Meditation & Mindfulness

About the Author: Angela Patnode

My passion, my calling, is for you to be totally you. Through private coaching, in-depth retreats, and online group coaching programs, I help you tap into your intuition and clarify your desires and vision, I guide you to take active steps toward making your desires a reality.

2 comments to “Is a Meditation Retreat For You?

  1. plaintain1

    Glad it worked out well for you. I’m hoping to attend a weekend intensive (Mindfulness based) in North London next month. I’ve been practicing meditation since January this year. Of recent I’ve been experiencing buzzing in the ears and also notice that when I come out of meditation I tend to feel agitated, sometimes angry but I still feel the need to continue with the practice. I’m hoping (!) that after doing 11 hours of meditation that it will help to deepen my meditation. Let’s see what happens.

    1. Angela Patnode

      Thanks for writing plaintain! Great job on having a meditation practice – it can be difficult to start one, but once it becomes habit, you’ll notice how it benefits your life over time. Stick with it! It’s not uncommon to feel agitated or angry when you are finished. Sitting can bring up emotions that we often distract ourselves from in our daily lives through staying busy. Be with whatever emotion is there. It’s o.k. that it’s there. When you can be with it, it is allowed to move through you instead of getting stuck in your body. Keep up the great work!

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