10-day Vipassana Meditation Retreat in the Mountains of Northern California

"Everyone seeks peace and harmony because this is what we lack in our lives. From time to time we all experience agitation, irritation, dishar­mony. And when we suffer from these miseries, we don't keep them to ourselves; we often distribute them to others as well." --dhamma.org

In comes a meditation technique called vipassanā or vipaśyanā, in the Buddhist tradition means insight into the true nature of reality. 

Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.

During the retreat, you turn over all technology + valuable possessions (i.e. wallet, car keys).  No books or journals are allowed. The point is to go deep within, feel the (dis) comfort, sit or walk with your thoughts. Meditation periods last up to an hour or longer. It's all about mind over matter, you are stronger than you think. 

Below is a brief synopsis of Sean's experience:

First off let me say that a man left 2 hours into the program. He demanded his keys after hearing the schedule of waking up at 4 am, eating only breakfast, lite snacks, + lunch, cleaning common areas + not talking for ten (10) days!!

Here's the thing, I wanted to join him after hearing the schedule too.

1-What were your thoughts on meditation before and after the ten-day silent retreat?

I knew very little about meditation before attending the retreat but as a military veteran, I understand now how important it is to provide our minds with the same kind of training we do for our bodies to perform at an optimum level.

2-Can you survive without your phone for a day now? Why?

Yes, I can because once upon a time I lived without the internet and cell phones for quite awhile and I was pretty happy.

3-What do you crave career-wise? What do you avoid out of fear? Why?

I crave the freedom to work for myself regardless of a certain monetary value and to collaborate with other like-minded individuals to retrain people to not simply accept what society dictates as a success.

4-What was the biggest takeaway? Why?

Before we can pursue our dreams we must train our minds to accept we already possess all the necessary tools to make these dreams a feasible/tangible reality and if one does not the mind must accept we are capable of acquiring them.

5-What has the experience shown you about your own fears? (Experience in life) (Mental trauma meditation allows mental training and recovery)

My own fears tend to sabotage me creatively even before I have begun drawing. The mind is constantly accessing risks and shame while knowing without mistakes we cannot learn/grow.

The experience has shown me every time that I have chosen to face my fears whether not the outcome was positive or negative I have grown. Life is about growth.

6-Would you recommend the ten-day course?

I would but with certain conditions which may prove challenging. Don’t research the course prior to attending. Embrace the fear of missing out. (FOMO) Ask yourself what can you truly live without. Ask yourself when was the last time you had a truly new experience.