Over the past six months I have posted twice-monthly reflections on how intensive Buddhist meditation retreats offer a compass for everyday life. This column, concluding the current series, touches on the power of intentional silence. A three-month Buddhist meditation retreat is no less mind-altering an experience than ingesting hallucinogens or traveling to a remote land where nobody speaks your language or knows your culture.
But the agent or angel of revelation in intensive meditation is neither an exotic plant nor an expensive plane ticket. It is essentially this: silence.
Why bother saying or writing anything about it? Might as well cook a symphony, dance a landscape, embrace a fragrance. Attempting to describe silence with words should be an obvious non-starter - yet of course throughout written history, innumerable poems and tomes have been dedicated to its mysterious power.
How human, our yearning to define and contain that which de facto lies beyond the purview of language. On long retreats, shared communal silence is a basic way of life. As retreatants don the trappings of temporary monkhood, silence becomes a social norm, no more or less unusual than any other facet of group etiquette. Still, the verbal mind, one quickly learns, rarely shuts up. One spot where I often get ensnared by the deceptive lure of words, ironically or not, is at those exquisite, rarified meditative moments when the mind is free of its usual agitation, the emotions tranquil, and concentration laser-sharp.
When graced to enter that zone, I usually hover for a while it's a joyous place to be but then teeter off balance. What throws me off is a subtle but significant misstep: the urge to articulate what it is like.
The verbal mind gets activated like a hunter of concepts: What is this? How can I describe it? How can I capture it? Hoodwinked, again and again. It can not be captured. It's like stalking and collecting butterflies.
Once a butterfly is preserved and pinned down it may still be pretty, but it's fundamentally no longer what you sought. Ajahn Suhmedo, an eminent teacher in Theravadan Buddhism, offers a precious key to unlock this conundrum.
All that can be said of those rarified moments - or any moment, by extrapolation - is, "it's like this. Do not try to compare it: comparisons only distort. Just be open to the full, raw experience of nowwhatever now it is, and then acknowledge, simply: It's like this.
Sense your way in without the misdirection of words. Words: our greatest tool, our greatest hindrance. Maybe the biggest koanor paradox, of all.Tantra teaches reintegration with the Whole and highlights life from a wholesome perspective.
The long-term study is an individualized program according to your specific focus with guidance and instruction by the Guru. As students go deeper into the study of Tantra at Shri Kali Ashram, the system unfolds itself to them in ever-increasing insights.
10 of the world's best meditation retreats
As such, a longer course of study is recommended. We have structured our long-term courses to cater to individual timeframes, as we realize that it is difficult to commit to long periods of time for study. You can join the long-term courses at any time.
For those aspiring to be tantric teachers or adopt the tantric lifestyle, we recommend a minimum of six months intensive study. This timeframe allows one to truly immerse oneself in the system, allowing time to fully relax, integrate and appreciate the intricacies of the teachings.
In order to overcome ignorance and illusion, new knowledge must be integrated deeply into the self. This process allows the student to build personal strength, responsibility and accountability, which enables them to achieve both opulence and freedom in life.
This allows psycho-social integration. It also produces excellent yoga facilitators. Testimonials from 6 Month Long-Term Students. Looking into these different practices has helped me, but there has until now always been something missing. No matter what I did, and how much I did it, there was still something underlying missing. After having studied tantra for a couple of years in Denmark, I saw there was something beautiful in the philosophy, but at the same time I had the feeling that there was a lot of misunderstandings about tantra and that there were some deeper perspectives missing from the tantra I encountered in Europe.
So in I started looking for a school that could give me a traditional perspective on tantra and yoga to see, if that could give me the answers I was looking for. All Rights Reserved. This first version of this site wouldn't have happened without Rafael and Mayara and the second version without Alex and Ana. We thank them for sharing their dedication and love with us.You can stay in an Accomodation of your choice close to where your sessions will be taking place.
Read More.Ayah Buonaugurio Testimonial- 1:1 Coaching + 6 Month Sacred Biz Program + Retreat
PTSD is usually associated with the result of an extremely violent experience, however this is not the only type of trauma…. An extreme form of sadness that does not seem to have an ending in which feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, demotivation, emptiness….
A feeling of worry, concern, unease, nervousness that is typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome…. Relationships are both simple and complex.
Eating disorders or disordered eating habits are characterized as an unhealthy relationship with food, in which food is consumed or not as a way of dealing…. Please drop them below:. Email Address. We know how difficult it can be to make the first step to seeking help. Before making any decision, you are offered a free of charge brief consultation online to discuss your concerns, to ask any questions and for us to be able to inform you on the suitability of our intensive program.
We take great pride in taking exceptional care of each person we see. Anonymity, Respect and Confidentiality are the pillars of our approach. Change is a choice that begins with you. Choose for lasting change and join our personalized program. Our Vision is based on the fact that every form of life is connected to every other. How we think, feel and act influences each other. Like a chain reaction we suffer or we heal. It is through small steps of awareness work that we can learn to develop essential tools with the help of a qualified professional that will allow us to begin a personal journey for lasting change.
A change based on kindness, self-respect and above all, self-love. We also offer online CBT sessions throughout the year. Online sessions can be done in the comfort of your own home or office, in full confidentiality. Sessions are carried out over your laptop with a camera. You are sent a private link to access your virtual therapy session.
There are many types of eating disorders that people are unaware of. The readers will be able to have brief information on how eating disorders are treated, along with knowing where to find the most up to date information, advice and support in the Middle East region.
The Middle East Eating Disorders Association MEEDA is a non-profit organization whose aim is to raise awareness, provide support as well as offer professional eating disorders trainings. The book is the first text aimed directly at students of psychology in the Middle East, and is a riposte to countless previous textbooks that have ignored the culturally-specific ways that psychology is researched and practiced in diverse regional contexts.
Where's best to send them to? Facebook Twitter. Jeremy works like a precise neurosurgeon. And even though our psyche is not visible, he aims his scalpel exactly where it hurts and carves the pain away. For me, he is the surgeon of the soul and very precise one.Facebook Twitter Email. CNN — Adventure travel isn't always about riding waves and ascending heights -- sometimes it's about heading inside, to explore the realm of our inner worlds. While it might be counter-intuitive to travel long distances to sit with a bunch of silent strangers, meditation retreats offer guidance to those on an internal quest.
In the cycles of our life, that serves almost everyone. It's common to worry about a week without conversation, meat or sleeping in. But those who persevere are rewarded. Rules vary, but many dedicated centers will ask for a temporary vow of silence during most or all of your time as a visitor. A rule of thumb is to look for teachers with a good reputation and who come from a long tradition rather than a self-proclaimed guru.
Be realistic about your physical needs and creature comforts. Austere conditions may prompt insight into the difference between what you want and want you need. A traditional Buddhist meditation retreat starts early in the morning; nonprofits will likely expect you to do a work period cut those carrots mindfully and to pick up after yourself. More than anything, says Kornfield, look for "a place that's known for love, [with] a spirit of loving kindness and compassion in everything that it does.
Once San Francisco's northern suburbs give way to what looks like Tolkein's shire, the hills of Spirit Rock appear. Native Americans once used this land for spiritual rites; even the wild deer and turkeys are calm, without any need to flinch from humans. Residential retreats, held throughout the year, run as long as two months. We call it sometimes the vipassana [insight meditation] facelift. You look at the shining faces of people after a week of retreat, and they look like they are 10 years younger.
They're brighter; their presence and spirit has been renewed. The monastery in southern France that he and about monks and nuns call home welcomes visitors of all ages and features one lazy, unstructured day per week. Dalai Lama's teachings, Dharamsala, India. When the Dalai Lama teaches in India, where he sought refuge after fleeing his native Tibet, his talks are typically free and open to the public.
Eleven Directions bridges the gap between the Nobel Peace Prize winner's talks and negotiating a week or so in Dharamsala, the center of the Tibetan community in exile and destination for many a spiritual pilgrim.
Accommodation options include a guesthouse run by the Dalai Lama's brother. Shantum Seth, a Zen priest, advocates being fully open and aware when traveling, and is widely praised by Western Buddhists as the go-to guide in the Himalayas. His tour in Dharamsala is for those who want to connect with and discuss Tibetan culture and practices; other itineraries include "In the Footsteps of the Buddha. The approach strips away talk about dharma and karma to offer meditation techniques straight up.
Their Center for Mindfulness hosts an annual conference for scientists on how meditation impacts health care and vice versa, and has contributed to scientific understanding of how meditation affects the brain and immune system. This summer, Ananda hosts a session at Ireland's Glenview Hotel -- ideal for somebody who wants a location with all the typical traveler amenities.
Just a minute drive from Durban, the Buddhist Retreat Centre's remote location in Ixopo feels fully rural. Former President Nelson Mandela awarded the center National Heritage status for its environmentally friendly approach to using indigenous plants and helping to save the endangered Blue Swallow. Accordingly, walking and bird-watching on the extensive property are encouraged. In addition to scheduled meditation retreats, people in search of solitude are also welcome to come and get away from the modern world on their own.
Located in a traditional Zulu tribal area, the community here does outreach work with the local population through Woza Moya in the Ufafa Valley. Starting on the first day of each month, this forest refuge offers day meditation retreats. All levels are welcome, but the conditions are rugged; in the words of Ajahn Buddhadasa, who founded the hermitage: "Live plainly, aim high.
At registration, you turn in your cell phone; beds are a straw mat and wooden pillow. The Garden of Liberation regularly attracts foreigners and is a good choice for those seeking an authentic forest monk experience with instruction in English. This sanctuary is situated among hills and fruit trees on 12 rural acres in Maui, with views of both the Pacific Ocean and Haleakala.Payment of these installments reserves your place on the course, and will not be refunded if you cancel your application.
This includes all that awakens ones consciousness and keeps it awake…. A starting point for a greater insight in life.
An Introduction to Psychology for the Middle East (and Beyond)
Two things only — your commitment to be involved in an intense sadhana period and your desire to explore your dormant faculties. On the sadhana retreat, you will become acquainted with the very finest methods and knowledge of Tantric yoga. A knowledge that can be used to deal with inhibiting habits and states. You will discover new possibilities within yourself, a potential for well-being, for creativity, or for whatever else you want, in concert with increased energy and concentration. As a participant, you will be able to learn and test things that are impossible to learn properly under different conditions.
The retreat includes the preparation for and the learning of Kriya Yoga, one of the most effective methods of transformation available, together with other advanced meditations and yoga techniques. Kriya Yoga is a dynamic and at the same time profound tantric meditation.
It contains many different kriyas, from strongly energizing and physical ones, to subtle processes that reach beyond the limits of the normal mind. Kriya means processand is also a broader concept in yoga. However, these should not be confused with the tantric meditation Kriya Yoga, which is not a sexual practice.
On my tours around the world, I have met people who have learned Kriya Yoga in an incomplete way, and without the knowledge of this important interaction.
They therefore sought my help. One student had been taught by someone who had not received the kriyas directly from a properly trained teacher. Nor had that particular teacher personally explored Kriya Yoga by using it over an extended period of time.
Swami Janakananda is the first to teach the entire tantric Kriya Yoga in Europe. He was taught the kriyas and tested by his teacher, Swami Satyananda, under the same special conditions and requirements under which he passes on Kriya Yoga today.
Having used this yoga since his initiation, Swami Janakananda now has more than 40 years experience of teaching Kriya Yoga, thus enriching the lives of many people. It happened during my meditation, when I did yoga and in my dreams. When I moved into the ashram, before I participated in any classes, my spontaneous experiences of yet more kriyas continued. Only when I was taught and later initiated by Swami Satyananda, did I dare realise and also fully use what I had received earlier. Then I experienced the powerful spiritual value of these special kriyas.
It is taught in steps, so that your body, mind and energy are prepared and cleansed. First the little Kriya Yoga, Ajapa Japa which can also be learned on the 10 or day retreatsshould be used for some time along with Hatha Yoga.
According to the tradition, the advanced Kriya Yoga should only be taught under the special conditions of an ashram. Our courses fully comply with this requirement. The various kriyas support each other and, with each having their own effect, they play a part in the process, making it both harmonic and deep. Therefore, all the kriyas are learnt in a continuous and undisturbed succession.
During the first five weeks, concentration, suppleness and relaxation are trained.Answer Unmark. Mark as an Answer. Threads [ Previous Next ]. Cem Keskin Posts: A Six-month-long Vipassana Retreat. Introduction and background I have recently completed a six-month long Mahasi-style vipassana retreat that lasted from 30 January till 27 July It is only a summary account of my retreat as I have had a myriad of experiences and it would take much more time and effort to put those down in writing than I can spare at the moment.
As for the kind of Mahasi-style vipassana technique I used, Sayadaw U Vivekananda from whom I learned the basic technique does not emphasize fast noting. You are expected to note and label A distinction is made between the two.
Furthermore, you are not asked to focus on a particular part of your body and note only the objects that arise there. You are also not expected to focus exclusively on a particular type of object, say only physical. Objects of all types that attract your attention are to be investigated. Before I had begun my vipassana retreat at Panditarama Lumbini, I had only had meagre experience with anapanasati meditation and Goenka-style vipassana, and none with Mahasi-style vipassana.
I did have considerable exposure to Advaita Vedanta teachings and techniques however, and had had some significant experiences, which possibly correspond to 1st and 2nd paths in the Theravada system See Two awakenings: Two peak experiences of a Vedantist turned Buddhist. So, it is possible that I have been working towards 3rd path since at least the beginning of my retreat. This test period lasted for about a week.
First, on a personal note, it suggests that I have previously had at least one enlightenment experience in the Theravada sense, as I have mentioned above. Second, it suggests that different contemplative traditions are compatible with each other, that we are treading a Universal Path of Gnosis regardless of the traditions we may be following. I will obtain more evidence for this thesis when I attain the Path and Fruition stages and seeing how these experiences compare to my peak Advaita experiences.
Dozens of objects of various kinds would present themselves during each sit. There would be particles exploding into and out of existence, vibrations at various frequencies, auditory hallucinations, flashes of light, energy releases, perceptual distortions of the body, etc. I could observe all of these objects with astounding clarity. At the end of the second week, I started experiencing significant rapture and spent a few days enjoying it.
Then, Sayalay Daw Bhadda Manika at Lumbini gave me a good grilling and told me that I was simply clinging to the pleasant experience and not making any progress. When intense bliss arose again during the next sit I expressed my gratitude for the experience and turned away from it. Now I know why many vipassana teachers have their students avoid jhanic bliss like the plague. It is very easy to become a bliss junkie and just hang out in La-la Land as Daniel put it without moving ahead one bit.
A Three-Month Buddhist Retreat (or, The Silence of the Lamas)
This experience began with the rising and falling movements of the abdomen becoming increasingly harder to discern and gradually included all objects that would arise. Often, I would see an object somewhat clearly with the periphery of my attention but when I wanted to have a closer look at it by placing it in the middle of my field of attention it would just disintegrate.
Dark night related mental states i. As the stage progressed, they increased in frequency and intensity.Given the nature of the landscape, it is easy to choose total seclusion here. At the same time, having a sympathetic support community-based in the same valley can offer a sense of security and support to those who find that helpful and reassuring. Experienced meditators in the community are sometimes available for interviews and advice during your stay.
Our cabin was specially built for solitary retreats. It has been constructed using ecologically sustainable methods: A round-wood frame, a stone base supporting strawbale and lime render walls, and a turfed roof.
The south facing glazed wall allows lots of light, while the broad porch roof provides plenty of shade in the summer months. This cabin is much loved by all who stay there. The facility has a supply of water from natural springs for drinking and washing, and individual compost toilet. An adequate wood supply is included in the costs between the end of November and the middle of March.
More wood can be requested, and a log saw and small axe make the collection of smaller wood and kindling possible. Each facility has its own small solar energy system providing lighting for the evenings.
Food and cooking facilities are included in the cost. Each facility is stocked with basic food stuffs and fresh vegetables and other perishable foods are left each week in a container a good distance from the solitary facility, where the retreatant can collect them. A note can be left in the container for the support community who will provide whatever supplies are running low.
If you have special dietary requirements you can discuss it with us before booking. We operate a minimum stay of 1 month. A reduction can be negotiated for those wishing to do longer retreats of two months or more.
We will currently accept bookings for retreats up to a year in length. To contact us for solitary retreat enquiries and bookings: solitaryretreats ecodharma. We offer courses, events and retreats which support the realisation of our human potential and the development of an ecological consciousness honouring our mutual belonging within the web of life — drawing on the Buddhist Dharma and the emerging ecological paradigms of our time.
Site developed by Nick Day. Few places in Europe offer a comparable sense of wild remoteness and yet intimate beauty. Whether it is just a couple of weeks for reflection or a 6-month intensive meditation retreat you are looking for, the quiet, remote and beautiful landscape offers the ideal location. Low impact dwelling provides simplicity and comfort, while ideal surroundings and a sympathetic support community covering all the basic logistics, will ensure that you can give all your attention to your period of retreat.
The cabin Our cabin was specially built for solitary retreats. Availability and minimum stays We operate a minimum stay of 1 month.