Vipassana 30-Day – Northwest in Movement


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Vipassana 30-Day - Northwest in Motion


Retreat, Communion

I’m feeling nervous and apprehensive. My palms are clammy, similar to earlier than an vital trip or run.

I’m nearly to depart Seattle for a 30-day Vipassana meditation retreat on the California Vipassana Middle east of Fresno within the Sierra foothills.

The pagoda constructing and campus of the California Vipassana Middle within the Sierra foothills.

I’ve practiced this meditation approach because the late Nineteen Eighties.

The commonplace Vipassana retreats are 10-days lengthy.

They're rigorous: You agree to remain your entire time. You conform to a vow of silence (though you're allowed to ask the lecturers questions.) The every day schedule begins at 4AM, ends at 9PM, and 10+ hours per day are devoted to meditation. There aren't any meals after 12 midday. Throughout the retreat, contributors reside as monks and nuns.

Meditators who make a long-term dedication to this system finally turn out to be eligible to do programs of 20-days or longer. These are extra self-directed, and much more rigorous: “there are no rest intervals.” Which suggests the purpose is to repeatedly wrestle management of the thoughts, and work on paying attention each waking second.

The Buddha’s time period for that is Sampajanna: the fixed thorough understanding of impermanence:

…One should develop constant thorough understanding of impermanence, in whatever one does, walking forward and backward, in looking straight and sideways, in bending and stretching, in wearing robes and so on. So much so, that in sitting, in standing and even in sleeping, one has to experience constant thorough understanding of impermanence. This is sampajanna.

I usually spend your entire ~90-minute lunch interval strolling (with mindfulness!)

After I signed up for my first course in 1989 I had completely no thought what I used to be in for. Which is fairly frequent.

Afterwards, it took me fairly a while to make sense of that first meditation expertise. Now, a long time have handed, and I've a strong understanding of the observe and integrating it into on a regular basis life.

I'm more and more capable of level to tangible enhancements: Higher empathy in the direction of others, extra persistence, fewer knee-jerk unfavourable reactions in provocative (and even not-so provocative) conditions.

Regardless of my earlier meditation expertise, and a stage of “comfort with sitting with discomfort,” I’m keenly conscious that my first 30-day course might be a severe endeavor with sudden challenges.

Strolling on the CVC campus within the Sierra foothills jogs my memory of childhood hikes, and of Zen Beat poet Gary Snyder…

Throughout the previous a number of weeks, I’ve felt a constructing sense of anticipation.

A part of my anticipation was triggered by a documentary about Thomas Merton I got here throughout whereas channel browsing a number of weeks in the past.

Merton was an American Trappist monk, author, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist, and comparative religions scholar. He was a prolific writer who wrote about spirituality, social justice, and pacifism. His autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain was a bestseller. He was a proponent of interfaith understanding, and he explored Jap religions. He pioneered dialogues with outstanding Asian religious lecturers together with the Dalai Lama, Japanese-American Buddhist monk D. T. Suzuki, Thai Buddhist monk Buddhadasa, and Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

Within the documentary, Merton mentions the ideas of retreat and communion, which I instantly related with my upcoming retreat.


After I describe what I’m doing, I say “I’m going to a silent meditation retreat.” The Vipassana literature describes these as “meditation courses,” as in we're getting into a course of examine about our personal minds. They're “retreats” within the sense that we're stepping away from daily life, however they aren't retreats within the sense of escape. Truly, they're the full reverse of an escape. We do these programs to come across our deepest selves in a means that's solely potential in a secure, secluded, quiet, managed atmosphere.

The solitary life, being silent, clears away the smoke-screen of phrases
that man has laid down between his thoughts and issues.

In solitude we stay head to head with the bare being of issues.

And but we discover that the nakedness of actuality which we've got feared,
is neither a matter of terror nor for disgrace.

It's clothed within the pleasant communion of silence,
and this silence is expounded to like.
–Thomas Merton

Group meditation periods and a nightly lecture occur within the meditation corridor (aka “Dhamma Hall”). Every meditator has an assigned seat.


Though the person work at Vipassana programs is solitary, we additionally expertise layers of communion and group.

“The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words. It is beyond speech. It is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity, but we discover an old unity. My dear brothers and sisters, we are already one. But we imagine we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be, is what we are.”

― Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton

I’m doing this explicit course with a number of meditation pals I’ve recognized for many years. We’ll be working laborious training Vipassana alone, but collectively.

3 times a day there are group meditation periods. Throughout these time durations the collective effort builds on itself because the retreat progresses, enabling everybody to domesticate sturdy quiet minds that peacefully observe no matter comes up.

Within the case of this explicit 30-day course, I’ve additionally gotten assist and encouragement from meditation pals who aren’t going to be doing the course, however who know the way laborious it's.


Interested in Vipassana? Learn my primer about Vipassana, which additionally features a critique of the popular culture proliferation of “mindfulness.”

There are Vipassana meditation facilities all around the world. We've three meditation facilities within the Pacific Northwest; one in Washington state, and two in British Columbia:

Dhamma Surabhi, close to Merritt, BC

Dhamma Modana on Vancouver Island

Dhamma Kuñja, close to Onalaska, WA

As well as, a brand new middle is being established in Idaho, and programs are periodically held in Oregon at a state park with in a single day sleeping amenities.


You possibly can view the unique put up right here

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