What will the retreat be like?
Retreatants will arrive on Thursday afternoon/evening and leave on Sunday just after lunch. Everyone will be asked to observe noble silence, which means not talking or making eye contact with others (except teachers or volunteers) and completely refraining from communication devices (there will be an emergency contact number if people need to reach you). Most of the time will be alternating between seated and walking meditation. Each day there will be a dharma talk, 1:1 scheduled meetings with me, three meals, and time for exercise or walking outside.
What do I need to bring?
- a pillow slip and two single bed sheets, or a sleeping bag
- bath towel, toiletries, and medications
- earplugs if you are a light sleeper in a shared room
- comfortable clothes for meditation and walking
- raincoat or umbrella
- torch, water bottle
- warm clothes and perhaps a shawl or blanket for meditating (it can get quite cold in May)
How will I get there?
There is limited public transport in the area, so we will be attempting to organise carpooling from Sydney (and maybe Canberra). If you need a lift or can offer lifts, please indicate on the form, or let me know. We can also organise a lift from a nearby train station or bus stop.
What should I do to prepare?
While it can be helpful to have an existing regular practice, it’s not a necessity. The main thing to do is to block out that time as well as you can so that you can commit to being on retreat. Other than that, try to have an open mind about what might happen and try to not hold onto any expectations too tightly. Be open to whatever might come up and see what happens with time dedicated to silent practice.
What are the benefits of retreat?
Going on retreat is one of best ways to deepen your practice. While in noble silence there will be much less talking, responsibility, or distraction. You will have the opportunity to maximise your time meditating, increase mindfulness in all activities, while also getting direct support from teachers. For most of us, this is simply not possible in our day-to-day lives. While there are a wide range of experiences of retreat, regardless of what the experience is like, most people find that result of that time is increased awareness and equanimity. There are great benefits to going deeper into the mind through meditative techniques in a supportive environment.
What has your experience of retreat been?
I’ve found that by dedicating time to meditation and awareness I’ve always gotten something incredibly valuable in return. It hasn’t always been what I was hoping for or expected, but I’ve always learned something about myself, opened up some new quality of mind, or discovered something meaningful. It’s given me a lot of faith in the practice and in the potential for transformation through meditation and these techniques that allow us to cultivate calm and clarity by paying attention in particular ways. I feel like my life has been greatly improved from having spent time on retreat and I’m incredibly grateful that it’s something I get to do and get to facilitate for others.
Can I really do this?
Yes! Most people who go on retreat get great benefit from it. If you have any physical or mental conditions you’re concerned about please ask!