These centres exist all over the world but I was thrilled to discover a location so close to Toronto.
This is by no means your typical vacation destination. Meditation is surprisingly harder than one would think—much harder. The schedule at Vipassana was strict with almost ten hours devoted to meditating, a morning wake-up call of 4am and bedtime at 9:30pm. A vow of what they call ‘Noble Silence’ is taken for nine of the ten days. This means absolutely no talking except potentially on brief occasions to the teacher that guides you through the meditation process.
At the retreat, you are taught a simple meditation technique which allows you to tap deeply into your subconscious. For most people, this is a very profound experience. It is said that this technique is how Buddha found enlightenment. Although it is a Buddhist based concept, it’s completely non-sectarian and all people are welcome to attend the course, regardless of religious beliefs.
The course is ten days long. This may seem excessive but after going through this journey, you come to realize that this length of time is needed to develop the technique and receive the benefits. Once the ten-day course is completed, shorter courses of one and three days are available.
Now you might think this retreat would be outrageously expensive, after all you are given ten days of lodging, fed three meals a day, and taught a technique that will help transform your life. The cost is nothing. The course it absolutely free and run entirely on donations by others who have taken the course and benefitted from it.
Vipassana means to see things as they really are and I know personally that I moved through many deep-seated issues. There was no one telling me what to think or how I should deal with problems. This retreat taught me how to look closely at myself and come to my own conclusions. The meditation process taught me that there are easy and straight forward ways to work through these issues.
This course would certainly not be for everyone but I did find being in a beautiful, serene setting and hearing nothing but nature extremely restorative.
It is not necessary to be familiar with meditation, I wasn’t, but it was a challenge to sit for that many hours without prior practice. It became easier as the days went on. The technique I learned was invaluable and something that I will continue to use throughout my life. I felt like I left a hundred pounds of baggage in Egbert – and I’m not talking about my Louis Vuitton luggage set.
To learn more about Vipassana Meditation and the ten-day courses they offer please visit http://www.dhamma.org/ It might just change your life.