10 DAYS RETREAT IN SILENCE IN A MONASTERY IN THAILAND (PART 3/3)
Am I willing to do this retreat?
This is a serious question that must be asked before coming. Don’t come because it’s fashion or because it’s not expensive. You must come with a deep wish, a clear goal. Because at one moment during the retreat, you will ask yourself the question, “What am I doing here? “I’m in pain and I’m sick of it, why am I here? And if you don’t have the answer … you’re done. The next day, you’ll break because the mind will have a lot of arguments to tell you that it’s ok, you understand how the breathing works, you’re on vacation and it’s time to go to the beach to enjoy. I needed silence. It was vital for me. And that was my anchor.
Have you ever been silent, reduced your food? Trying to meditate before? I really believe that it’s good and easy to come to live this experience if you are familiar with one of the elements of this retreat. Indeed, if you eat a lot, smoke, don’t do sports, never meditate … it’s complicated. You have to be a minimum ready. The goal is not to start and let go along the way. Don’t under estimate the difficulty of these 10 days which are very difficult for the ego. So if you add stress to your body and your mind the experience is really difficult.
Problems? It’s still better to arrive with your problems, huh. If you don’t have one, if you don’t want to look inside, look at your patterns of functioning, your relationship with the world, your life and that the problems are reserved for others, this place will not bring you something interesting. The purpose of this retreat is to go into your suffering and free yourself from it. I invite you not to underestimate these points because at each retreat there is ¼ of people who quit before the end.
If you still feel like going… then go for it. I give you some tips that helped me hold on these 10 days; maybe it will help you too.
Tips for not leaving in the middle
- The moon was one of my anchors. We started with the full moon and I knew we were going to finish with the halfmoon. So every day, in the morning at 4 o’clock, I took a few seconds to look at the moon and see it change. Time passed and that was reassuring for a part of me.
- 10 days. Count the days. Remember that it’s only 10 days in your life. It’s nothing. Don’t give up. Hold on tight. Count the days. Remember, time is running out.
- Just like emotions. They talk about it a lot in the teachings: impermanence. Nothing lasts. Good as bad times. You will be in pain, very badly probably yes but for 2 hours, maybe one day and the next day it will be fine. So breathe with awareness and enjoy each emotion, each situation to breathe understand how it influences you, how it influences your breathing and therefore influences your life.
- Discipline. There are many rules in the monastery and you need to create your own rules, your own routine that combines pleasure and practice. For example, I created my routine during my breaks, after breakfast, I washed the toilet which was my chore and after, I went to the hot springs to relax my body of all that meditation and mental tension . After I was having a cold shower that revitalized me. I ended with a small massage of my knees and “ding” … The bell sounded the start of new meditations. During the lunch break I was washing my clothes and taking naps to integrate everything that had happened the morning. Find your routine and stick to it, it will really help you.
The discipline is also to go to all appointments. If you start giving up on one, your mind will rush into this little weakness, “why not avoid the next”it will say and son on. It’s the same with your physical posture. If you let go of your posture because of the pain: you’re done …. Find alternative positions: you can stand, kneel, with supports, sit. Find solutions, be creative but do not give up because of your position, having the back straight has a lot of importance in the meditation and breathing exercises.
- Rather than leave because it becomes too hard for you. Take a moment for yourself. Miss a course if it’s really necessary and clear your mind. Do not go on a whim, you will regret it later and instead of making yourself stronger you will feel less well. After all, that it’s not a competition to the one who holds the longest. Listen to yourself and respect yourself is also the purpose of this retreat.
- Moderation, be careful with food that can be a refuge. I advise you to take food once and avoid coming back to serve you. And be reasonable imagine that you serve your 12 year old sister, don’t overflow your bowl it’s not a gift. It’s not easy to meditate on a heavy stomach.
- Give yourself time after this retreat to integrate. Go to the beach, isolate yourself because you will need time and calm trust me. The outside is very painful when you go out, the sounds, the people, the smells, all. 5 days later, I am still lost, I am coming back to reality and I continue to understand important things. So please, do this gift to yourself and take your time after
As I have said many times every situation is a lesson for those 10 days and if you open up, if you open your system you can understand a lot about you and your relationship to the world. It’s a magical experience to live and a journey that will be different for each of us. Nevertheless, for those who are ready to dive I can only advise you to do it.
And you have already experienced this kind of place?
- The place: Suan Mokkh in Thailand loan from Surathani
- Duration: 10 days of retirement. A retreat starts on the 1st of every month.
- Price: 2000 bath or 50 euros, donation welcome. (no refund and no additional costs)
- Registration: in person the day before (until 15H) the beginning of the retirement. First arrived, first served principle is applied. No registration by telephone or in advance possible.
- You can arrive the day before and sleep in the main monastery the day before if necessary and free of charge.
- A website with all the information? it’s here: http://www.suanmokkh-idh.org