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Retreat as a couple?

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Retreat as a couple?
Answer
10/31/11 12:40 AM
Many of you know how it can be hard to balance a relationship and retreats. Since meditation is historically strongly associated with celibacy, there is not many places to receive hardcore teachings and live as a couple. While solitude can contribute a great deal to someone progress, two persons very committed to the path could respect some basic rules and make progress together. Any of you had such experience?

Do you know of any places that allow couples to stay and doesn't cost a fortune? A place in Southeast Asia or India would fit better our situation.

RE: Retreat as a couple?
Answer
10/31/11 4:44 AM as a reply to Simon T..
I don't recall meditation itself being strongly associated with celibacy. This is an area worth investigating as there are lots of common misconceptions regarding sex and the process of enlightenment, as far as I can see the Buddha only spoke against sexual misconduct or adultery for lay people and only monks were required[1] to remain celibate. It's a complex subject but I don't think it's accurate to associate insight meditation for lay practitioners like ourselves with celibacy.

What I can tell you from experience is that it's not sex itself that distracts the mind, on the contrary it's possible to use sex as a powerful tool for development as evinced in the tantric schools and Western sex magick. It's sexual desire which clouds the mind and prevents one from seeing clearly, when one is preoccupied with the desire for sexual gratification it causes suffering as one is always drawn towards the urge to fulfill this desire due to the instinctual drive for procreation and propagation of the species.

Next time you feel "horny", check out how that actually physically feels, particularly when you have no way of fulfilling that desire; it's unpleasant and distracting as the mind is continually drawn to fantasies rather than what's going on in this moment.

Having only even done a three-day solo retreat in my entire practice history, I can't really offer any advice regarding doing this as a couple. I remember reading a post by someone over on KFD who spoke about doing a home retreat with her husband, they both took a section of the house each and co-ordinated their mealtimes so that, even though they were living together, they could continue to practice individually without distracting each other. I don't know how plausible something like that would be, but it's going to save you a shitload of money on travel and fees!

Something else to bear in mind is that only you, or your wife, can do the practices and gain the insights which lead to enlightenment so, no matter how much you might want to help, if you're on retreat then it's every (wo)man for themselves.

Hope you manage to get something sorted out.

[1] Whether 'required' is the correct word, I don't know.

RE: Retreat as a couple?
Answer
10/31/11 5:55 AM as a reply to Simon T..
Stephen and I have done retreats together - this is what we found -

If poss make meals and freeze so they just need warming up - or simple stir fries, one pot rice dishes. We had breakfast, lunch and just fruit and a drink in the afternoon break.

We took turns to be responsible for the days meals.

We communicated only when necessary - though we did find smiling at each other was better than ignoring as we passed.

We slept in the same bed but meditated into sleep rather than indulging in romps

We meditated in the same space.

We had our own walking area - easy as there is a field outside our garden.

We sorted out a talk for each evening - downloaded on to disc or mp3 and listened together in the evening - there's lots of good ones on the web - Ayya Khema has a great selection.

We had a set timetable.

Hope this helps
peace
H

RE: Retreat as a couple?
Answer
10/31/11 6:06 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
I .

Next time you feel "horny", check out how that actually physically feels, particularly when you have no way of fulfilling that desire; it's unpleasant and distracting as the mind is continually drawn to fantasies rather than what's going on in this moment.


When I tried on retreats to "keep the sexual energy" as I was advised, it end up being a disaster. Restless mind, strong fantasies, poor sleep. Maybe it would be fine if I taped off over a long period of time but for a short retreat it's advisable. Actually, for men it can create prostate inflammation (something I experienced long time ago, I remember the advice of the doctor to "get it out regularly"). My advice for a retreat is to have sex only before going to sleep since there is effectively a drop down of energy in the hours following.

A self retreat is probably what we will end up doing. There is a pretty good chance that we will remain in Thailand for the next year and it's pretty easy to find a cheap and quiet place to live outside the town. My tentative at a self-retreat have been pretty much a failure so far but so have been my retreats anyway! There is still a psychological effect on motivation during a retreat that made me push much more.

RE: Retreat as a couple?
Answer
10/31/11 7:05 AM as a reply to Simon T..
When I tried on retreats to "keep the sexual energy" as I was advised, it end up being a disaster. Restless mind, strong fantasies, poor sleep. Maybe it would be fine if I taped off over a long period of time but for a short retreat it's advisable. Actually, for men it can create prostate inflammation (something I experienced long time ago, I remember the advice of the doctor to "get it out regularly"). My advice for a retreat is to have sex only before going to sleep since there is effectively a drop down of energy in the hours following.

If you have set rules for retreat, stick to them without fail and examine any resistance as it occurs otherwise there's no point in setting them in the first place.

I don't know about your claims that not having sex can lead to inflammation of the prostate, but perhaps someone with more medical knowledge could clarify this? I can tell you from experience that not having sex, or masturbating, for an extended period of time, in my case around two to three months[1], did nothing of the sort but did reveal considerable insights into my previously rampaging libido. Bear in mind that this body functions automatically and if the need for ejaculation did arise then I'm fairly sure the body would make this happen one way or another i.e. "wet" dreams and suchlike.

There are ways to direct sexual energy towards developmental progress which may be of interest to you if you're not able to remain chaste for a short period of time, but this is beyond the scope of my knowledge and better learned from someone well-versed in the techniques.

[1] I won't go into the details, suffice to say it wasn't voluntary but after about two weeks I chose not to masturbate either and see what happened. This was unconnected with meditation or any sort of attainment, it was the result of a personal situation when my partner and I split up which I decided to use as an experiment in self-discipline.

RE: Retreat as a couple?
Answer
11/1/11 1:09 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
When I tried on retreats to "keep the sexual energy" as I was advised, it end up being a disaster. Restless mind, strong fantasies, poor sleep. Maybe it would be fine if I taped off over a long period of time but for a short retreat it's advisable. Actually, for men it can create prostate inflammation (something I experienced long time ago, I remember the advice of the doctor to "get it out regularly"). My advice for a retreat is to have sex only before going to sleep since there is effectively a drop down of energy in the hours following.



I don't know about your claims that not having sex can lead to inflammation of the prostate, but perhaps someone with more medical knowledge could clarify this?

.


I experienced a prostatitis myself about 12 years ago. I remember the advice of the doctor, "it has to get out". It seems that it's the abrupt change in sexual habit that create the problem.

RE: Retreat as a couple?
Answer
11/1/11 1:10 AM as a reply to Hazel Kathleen Strange.
Hazel Kathleen Strange:
Stephen and I have done retreats together - this is what we found -

If poss make meals and freeze so they just need warming up - or simple stir fries, one pot rice dishes. We had breakfast, lunch and just fruit and a drink in the afternoon break.

We took turns to be responsible for the days meals.

We communicated only when necessary - though we did find smiling at each other was better than ignoring as we passed.

We slept in the same bed but meditated into sleep rather than indulging in romps

We meditated in the same space.

We had our own walking area - easy as there is a field outside our garden.

We sorted out a talk for each evening - downloaded on to disc or mp3 and listened together in the evening - there's lots of good ones on the web - Ayya Khema has a great selection.

We had a set timetable.

Hope this helps
peace
H


That's a pretty good set of rules.