Are you one of those people who think of taking your first step to start meditating, or waiting for someone to push you to it, a sign maybe or even looking for a place/ a teacher and haven’t really found them?
I was one of them until my good friend recommended me a place after his own experience. And so I did it! A 4-day retreat! It was one of the best decisions I have made in my life and I feel obliged to share my experience and let as many of you know what it’s like. If all you need is a little assurance that meditation is possible for anybody, then keep reading. If not, you still better keep reading!
Meditation is widely perceived as something a bunch of weird people does. Alone in the woods or in caves, away from the day to day “normal lives”. It’s thought of as an escape route, whereas the truth is, it is the only very real thing, while all these daily havoc is a way of distraction. Although being alone helps, the objective of it is not to become a loner, but to acquire that same tranquility amidst the most complex of environments. And no, it doesn’t mean you will end up being eccentric a.k.a. a “crazy person”. It means you will be more aware of what’s happening and feel the presence a bit more.
So here’s what happened.
Day 1 starts with the simplest form of meditation (you think) – breathing. You realize how much is going on in that little mind of yours when you can’t even focus on your breathing completely for just five minutes. This, of course, improves over time and lays the foundation for the rest of the meditation techniques, which are introduced to you gradually in the following few days. They include walking meditation as well as the many seated techniques.
Each day you will be introduced to a new set of techniques and be practicing them throughout the day.
An important thing is that you get to clarify all your questions and unclear areas with the teacher, although he does emphasize on the fact that once the technique is taught it is important to let your intuition do the rest of the work. Logic has little to do with meditation and you become your own teacher.
The first two days feel like a lifetime, to meditate from morning to night. To share the complete truth with you, my mind was constantly telling me to fake stomachache and get out of the place!
Day 2 is the most difficult because now you are stuck in between “oh man I made a mistake in coming for this” and “it’s just two days more I can make it”. But it gets better. It becomes not so bad. You start feeling in control. You start feeling the presence. You start just being. (Probably one of the simplest explanations one can TRY to define meditation = being). You feel the bits and pieces of that deep stillness. You are ready to dig deeper, and surprisingly, you go to sleep looking forward to the 3rd day.
On day 3 the mind gets deeply connected with the techniques. You realize practice does make it better. You make promises to yourself that you will continue to practice. The 4th or the final day a lot of your problems get answered through the final Q&A session. Most importantly a “special” session (you’ll have to witness for yourself) goes on to help you unload that emotional baggage you have been carrying around. When you actually reach the end of the retreat you wonder, if you really want to go back.
The 4-day meditation retreat isn’t only about meditation. To be able to be device free for full four days and not contact your loved ones or ANYONE, not even the ones meditating next to you is just true accomplishment. It’s probably the biggest achievement anyone can think of, given the present circumstances of us just being glued to and controlled by the “smart” phone and its apps dominated by social media, or being needy to always be acknowledged. I believe the discipline you bring over yourself through this retreat is life changing. If there’s any place you can explore yourself and learn to enjoy and understand your own presence, without the aid of talking humans or technology, it is here.
Just to mention about the place for the intrigued ones, the cool weather paired with breathtaking views will surely calm and relax your nerves before meditation even starts its thing. You get used to the whole timetable and would not actually require speaking to anyone. Oh and the vegetarian meals will blow your mind because you never expected them veggies could be so good, I’m not even joking.
In Liyangolla, Udadumbara, a small village a few kilometers off from Kandy down Mahiyangana road, is where Nisala International Meditation Center is situated. You can visit their website at www.nisala.org for all the information you require to get yourself prepared. Let me also tell you that I was not asked nor paid to write this. My sole objective is at least one of you who reads this will break free from your insecurities about what other people will think of you or from any other reason that’s holding you back and take that step forward.
Let me wrap things up on the most realistic thing you would hear today. You will not be a completely changed person after one retreat, (at least that didn’t happen to me :/) because it’s a journey, not a destination. You have to continue a certain practice and be consistent, upgrade and update, and you shall arrive at your destination one day! But you WILL make some realizations about yourself and about life, and you will know that you need to continue. It’s a rare thought to want to do this, so all you procrastinators postponing this to next month, next vacation or next year, please don’t waste the urge. Thank me later. Just go for it!
If you’re still feeling nervous to participate in the 4-day retreat, you can join their one day programs happening every month. Visit their website to find out how you can join them.
Do you meditate or are you planning to start meditating? Add a comment below and let us know what you think.
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