Long-term solo retreat

Laurynas Plisas, modified 1 Month ago.

Long-term solo retreat

Posts: 3 Join Date: 5/7/21 Recent Posts
Hi all, 

I'm about to go on a solo retreat for 3 or so months. I don't know the exact plan or time I'm about to do that, just trusting the process and will see how it goes. Maybe after some time, I'll fly to Malaysia or some other retreat center. Depends on few factors. In the meantime, looking for advice for my solo retreat. 

Did one before, 8 days solo, 10h per day, sitting and walking. "MCTB2" and Mahasi "Practical Insight Meditation" were my references. Started somewhere in Dark Night (and generalized anxiety) territory, hit EQ during the retreat, and cycled few times between Re-O and EQ. 

Now I'm again in Dark Night (and generalized anxiety) territory. Ideally, the goal would be to flip the switch and enter the Stream. emoticon) Then start practicing concentration jhanas. Will use the same references for the upcoming retreat too. Sit and walk at least 10h/day, cook my own food, make trips to the grocery store when needed. 

So... Plan is to wake up at 4.30 am.
Is it ok to dedicate the first two hours of the day to workout /or stretch + prep for the day & eat breakfast?
Is it ok to write the journal here and there?
Make a call or meet face to face for some time?
Do a minimal reading of those two books (basically to re-read relevant chapters)?
​​​​​​​Or it would hinder my progress in some way?

Any other general advice, tips, agendas, ideas would be much appreciated. 

Than you! 
Pepe, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Long-term solo retreat

Posts: 376 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hi LP, welcome to DhO!

Probably others will chime in later, but for the time being, check Shargrol's posts below. 

- 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years
A general rule for retreats 
A month long retreat is not for beginners 
Five classic negative habits that show up on retreat 
Pacing is everything on a long retreat 

There are many threads in DhO dealing with retreats (check below), but I would recommend searching in the Practice Logs section, as there many ask for advice and answers have more meat, as the original posters are better known in the community.

Long Term Retreat Advice 
1 Month Noting Retreat Good or Bad Idea for Formerly Fearful Person? (check last post)
- How long to achieve stream-entry on retreat? 
Recommended Places for 1-3 Month Meditation Retreats? (in Covid era)
How should I practice to maintain my progress after retreat? 

Then you have a whole section in Daniel Ingram's best posts compilation dealing with "Teachers & Retreats".
Laurynas Plisas, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Long-term solo retreat

Posts: 3 Join Date: 5/7/21 Recent Posts
Hey Pepe, thanks for the welcome and on-point resources! You really heard me emoticon

Shargrol is gold, read what you've recommended and some more. Gave some reassurance and valuable pointers.

I'm meditating for almost two years now, 30min to 2hours daily. Thanks to daily anxiety and dry insight retreat experience, I've learned to accept everything as it is. I don't care too much about the content of my experience. Physical and mental discomfort or comfort - is the same opportunity to note and see 3 characteristics. So my idea is to be in whatever is, gain insight, shift perception, and the anxiety will cease itself over time through allowing it to be and desensitizing nerves. From a zoomed-out perspective, it's working and I'm getting better. emoticon How long it takes - doesn't matter, the focus is on the present moment.

Back to the question - 4:30 am and sports. I'm trying to understand what is the point in waking up that early. That seems common on retreats, so maybe there is a point? Really, I'm more of an owl. Mornings are tough, but I'd be willing to give it a try. And do sports first thing to wake up and because I love it and I feel it's a moral thing to do. Or is there a point to sit through that grogginess first thing in the morning? Just want to be efficient with my energy and time.

Still have one month before the retreat, will increase my practice a bit, do one to few days mini-retreats and figure out the framework of it. emoticon
Pepe, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Long-term solo retreat

Posts: 376 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hey, my longest retreat was 4 days, so I'm not of much help... That's why I provided the links. Waking up 4.30 am is too early IMO, specially if your are an owl. Check Niels' practice logs (the last one or the previous one), also Brandon's, where he starts at 10 am and then extends the sits till midnight. A one month retreat is serious business, I wouldn't undertake such a challenge if I weren't well stablished in EQ for months, to be completely honest. Regarding sports, what do you mean? Running, gym, cardio, etc? I would say stretching and walking would do the trick and if you know yoga or taiji/qigong, that would be better, never heard of anyone doing heavy stuff during a retreat.

Well, I hope someone would add something. Otherwise, check https://www.reddit.com/search/?q=long%20retreat as there are more threads about the topic.

Laurynas Plisas, modified 6 Days ago.

RE: Long-term solo retreat

Posts: 3 Join Date: 5/7/21 Recent Posts

I've called off the search and the answers came, haha. As usual, things are falling into place on their own. Just the mind needed to know how to make everything best. 

I was thinking about jogging, but since I'll do a lot of walking meditation, it's gonna be enough physical activity. Might add some bodyweight exercises here and there, and stretching. 

Today did day 0 run and seems like I'll go with a schedule that goes something like this:

6:00-6:30 Wake up, stretch
6:30-7:00 Walk
7:00-8:00 Sit
8:00-9:00 Breakfast
9:00-10:00 Walk
10:00-11:00 Sit
11:00-12:00 Walk
12:00-13:00 Sit
13:00-14:00 Lunch, rest, write, etc.
14:00-14:30 Spiritual Autolysis (Jed McKenna thing)
14:30-15:30 Walk
15:30-16:30 Sit
16:30-17:30 Walk
17:30-18:30 Sit
18:30-19:30 Dinner
19:30-21:30 Cook, clean, stuff, etc.

Tomorrow will pull the plug from the internet and go in. Don't know for how long, idea is around one month but will see. 
Pepe ·, modified 6 Days ago.

RE: Long-term solo retreat

Posts: 376 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hey, good schedule! Best of luck and metta to you! Let us know how it went. Pepe