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:
- You easily react to people or situations.
- You believe all or most of your thoughts.
- You believe you don’t have time to meditate or do a retreat.
- You live by your “to do” list, feeling like when you get it all done, you’ll be happy…
- 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