Monday, January 5, 2015

Meditation School Drop-out

I went on a 10-day Vipassana meditation course over my winter break. I used to refer to it as a retreat but it was nothing of the sort. It was work. Why go, you ask? Many reasons but mostly the timing was right. I've been wanting to do this for several years and since the course coincided with my winter break, why not. 2014 wasn't the best of years what with my dad dying and all. Seemed like a good way to clear my head.

The basic premise of the course is to learn the technique of Vipassana meditation and to practice sufficiently so that you can incorporate it into your daily life. During the course you must observe noble silence. This means: no talking, no non-verbal communication of any kind including eye contact, no reading, and no writing.

Men and women are segregated and we took a vow of celibacy for the 10 days. You could talk with the course managers if there were problems with your accommodations, you needed aspirin, etc. You could also sign up to speak with the teachers during lunch break but only to discuss questions about the technique we were learning. All of this was meant to help you focus on the meditation and to eliminate distractions. Noble silence was important to help you have your own experience so you didn't feel the social pressure of wondering why your experience wasn't measuring up to the person next to you.