Not that impressive...
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that my grand experiment in learning a meditation technique called Vipassana lasted a grand total of 36 hours. I didn't make it two whole days! The whole course is supposed to last nearly 12 days, with 10 complete days of work and a half day on each end.
It was to much for me to handle. My resolve crumbled under the weight of the mental workload of hours of silent focus on my own breathing. I was utterly unprepared for the rigor of that exercise in mental stamina.
I was also unprepared for the physical stress of sitting for at least 10 hours each day. Amazingly sore in the muscles of my low back, hips, and core several days after leaving the retreat center. Sitting for prolonged periods like that, especially when focused on trying to stay still, is no joke.
I went into the experience arrogantly thinking that I could handle it, even though I have literally no prior meditation experience...other than occasionally using an app on my phone before taking an afternoon nap. In hindsight, what I attempted to do was as foolish as trying to climb Mt. Everest without ever having hiked through the snow.
Anyway, even though my time there was extremely limited, I did learn a few things. Hopefully my experience can help someone else.
Lessons I learned: (in no particular order)
1. I have a serious addiction to technology.
Have you ever left your house and forgotten something? We all have. Maybe your wallet. Or your cell phone. When you realize that you are without some important part of your regular gear you almost feel naked. Vulnerable. Well that is the way that I felt as soon as I handed my phone and keys over to the assistants during the check-in process. The idea of course is to eliminate all distractions and extra stressors that will interfere with the process of practicing meditation. However, my stress level immediately went up as I stepped away from the table and the realization hit home that my communication link with the outside world had been severed.
Take-away: I need to put my phone down more often. Unplug. Get out in the woods and just walk around. Out of wifi range. No music. No podcast. No audiobook. The world is a noisy and chaotic place. I know that I use my phone and other pieces of technology to distract myself most of the time. A significant percentage of the time that I spend in front of my computer is just clicking through websites. Watching lots of YouTube videos. Checking Facebook incessantly. Not really accomplishing much of any substance. Not adding value to the world. Making excuses about not having enough time to do the things that truly need to get done. Anyway, I'm rambling...the point is to disconnect from technology to give your brain a rest from the frenetic pace of daily life. Set aside time to lose yourself in nature. To be quiet.
Get outside. Chances are good that it is a beautiful day.
More to come soon...