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Meditation Culture

Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?

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I've removed  every last distraction in my life.

Video games? Passworrds changed to randoms one I can't remember.
Mindless websites like 9gag and reddit? - Blocked through a simple blocker app. I even removed incognito mode so I couldn't go around it.
Youtube? 35 minutes max each day with the help of the stay focused app from the chrome store.

There's nothing I can use to alleviate my boredom. And as I stoop to new lows to do so like scannig Amazon I remove those too.

This has made it keenly aware how I pass my time... how urges to... do something appear and appear and appear.

Yet I'm not meditating like a machine....

So... Why not go on a retreat?

All the 10 day Goenke centers are either shut down or restricted or completely full.

And paying for one in the states is pretty expensive to me.

But what about in myanmar? I have plenty of chase travel points on my Credit card to pay for flights.

I have plenty of money saved up and I'm currently unemployed. This seems like the best time to do it.

Would anyone have any suggestions?

P.S. Reading Kenneth Folk's contemplative fitness, he spoke highly of Sayadaw U Kandala, his knowledge and openness to discussing attainments.. He's dead now but perhaps his successors are like him. Anyone know which center was his?

RE: Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?
Answer
9/26/20 4:15 PM as a reply to Brandon Whited.
Video games? Passworrds changed to randoms one I can't remember.
Mindless websites like 9gag and reddit? - Blocked through a simple blocker app. I even removed incognito mode so I couldn't go around it.
Youtube? 35 minutes max each day with the help of the stay focused app from the chrome store.

There's nothing I can use to alleviate my boredom. And as I stoop to new lows to do so like scannig Amazon I remove those too.
Yet I'm not meditating like a machine even though I'm

For many years I used to do these kind of things because of my habits and addictions.
The anger that I had at myself was intense, so I was demanding intense responses to the situation, intense responses were causing more intense damages, and this cycle of increasing the damages by intesifying the problem was continuing.

I needed to train myself instead of cutting my arm. By bringing more awareness to the situation, changing the way I was seeing it, and making small but consistent changes. By small and consistent changes, I was able to heal a few of them, but some still exist.

Anyway, don't want to give you negative energy, but that solution has not worked for me, and I've been in close relationship with a lot of people with similar problems, and I don't know anyone that has worked for them either. It's free fall solution, the result: crush your bones.

RE: Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?
Answer
9/26/20 4:21 PM as a reply to Siavash.
Jud Brewer and Andrew Huberman are doing great work about destructive habits. I think a lot can be learned from that. Jud's team have an app that seems to be very helpful for people with these problems. I would use it if I could, but it's not possible for me currently.

RE: Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?
Answer
9/26/20 5:04 PM as a reply to Brandon Whited.
Hey Brandon, 

I really appreciate your motivation to get started! I've seen you already started a purposeful practice log. 

I'm sorry for not answering your questions re: retreat but I second what Siavash said. Don't go cold turkey on distractions and sensual pleasure. It's not a long term fix - limit your time doing those things but don't cut them off completely. 

It's great to hear that you have the finacial freedom and time to spend more time on the cushion working towards your goal. Notice though that you cannot sprint the path and that you have to be very strategic in terms of the DN and planning practice. Balancing your practice and life is part of that. If I could go back in time, I'd have changed some things about my practice beforehand. In retrospect, I feel like it's most useful to really get decent Shamatha skills before switching over to insight. I'd recommend getting started with The Mind Illuminated and also getting familiar with the Pa Auk method. At the end it doesn't matter, since some of the DN's really have the potential to screw you up, but it's much easier to navigate through this territory with a mind that is tranquil and equanimous. 
Other than that I'd say get a teacher you can check in every week, or every two weeks. This is important because you have a person that can tell you to slow down when things start to get out of hand. 

Anyway's - just my 2ct. I hope that was still somewhat helpful. 

Good luck! 

-O 

RE: Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?
Answer
9/26/20 7:41 PM as a reply to Brandon Whited.
If you have the technique down and have been on previous retreats, just do a solo retreat at home. If you have distractions at home, rent the cheapest airbnb in town. I have done this several times.

Be well stocked with healthy but easily warmed up food like oatmeal and canned soup. Prepare the easy meals as mindfully as formal practice. Dinner is not break time. Make a schedule for 16 hours a day but shoot for 17 or 18 hours. Although be ready to pump the breaks when needed.

These teachers are not going to give you much more than regurgitated Practical Insight Meditation instructions. The good teachers will spot what hindrance is coming up or what factors are out of balance and help remedy that. However, you can read up on that and be ready. Also gaining experience both when you fix and don't fix the issue will be helpful.

The one issue that a teacher can help with is delusion. This impact can be minimized by just sticking with good technique. You can post here if you get stuck too.

People act like some Sayadaw teacher is a magician, and there are benefits of a teacher, but 16 hours a day of continuous practice had something to do with it too. Haha.

If you do go solo, you ought to do a mental health check in with a friend. I would just shoot a friend a text daily on my retreats.

That said, if making a large investment and having someone to be accountable to makes you more serious about continuous practice over a long period then go for it. That would be worth it. emoticon

RE: Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?
Answer
10/1/20 2:11 PM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Thanks for all the replies.

I've considered them all.

I'll continue to work on my practice at home. And I'll go to the next 10 day retreat in the states that opens up.

RE: Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?
Answer
10/2/20 9:24 AM as a reply to Brandon Whited.
I find it interesting to note the tension between the judging/planning process and the things that actually happen

RE: Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?
Answer
10/2/20 3:08 PM as a reply to Brandon Whited.
Since you mentioned Asia, I just noticed MBMC in Malaysia opened two months ago.  I don't see any retreats scheduled but you can self-retreat.  You have to wear a facemask which i assume is not an issue.  MBMC is a beautiful spot

RE: Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?
Answer
10/3/20 4:23 PM as a reply to Brandon Whited.
IMS (Insight Meditation Society) is doing  virtual retreats worldwide and one of the best. I have done 4-5 retreats with them this year.

RE: Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?
Answer
10/6/20 3:59 AM as a reply to Brandon Whited.
Hi Brandon

I have a blog with a list of meditation centres in various parts of Asia where I trained or stayed to have a look around, so they can be vouched for. There's loads of info on the places, including contact details. Of course there's a lot more places out there so it's only a taste. The top post on the website is a listing of places around the world based on recommendations from people I know and whose judgement I trust. 


https://placestomeditate.wordpress.com/


If you can get on a plane and get to those countries, then go for it. There's likely to be a lot of under-occupied meditation centres around Asia (I mean the places that are normally popular with westerners as opposed to the places popular with locals which are possibly as busy as normal) and that means peace and quiet, plus possibly extra time with the teacher. But best to check they're accepting foreigners. Some countries are dealing very well with the pandemic and so they may not be excited about the risk of dealing with people from countries not dealing with it so well. (See what I did there? ;-) )

As for training at home, how many people do you know have been able to keep up 16 hours a day for, say, even just 2 weeks? I mean really honestly keeping that up. I've known a lot of serious meditators in my time and I don't think I can name a single one who could sustain that. On the other hand, when at a good centre, there's a vibe, a camaraderie, and of course the setting and the teacher's presence, all add up to give one a lot a of drive and encouragement. So wherever possible, go train in a good venue. 

As you suggested, maybe a 10-day Goenka in the States is the best for now. Like you, I noticed the centres here in Australia book out, usually within minutes when the website opens up new dates. Incredibly popular. 

Ok, keep on keepin it real! All the best. 

RE: Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?
Answer
10/5/20 9:37 AM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Yep, I also liked IMS a lot.

RE: Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats?
Answer
10/5/20 10:31 AM as a reply to Ben Sulsky.
thank you so much for all the info.

Looking at IMS now