The residential long meditation retreat was held at Vedanta Society from 6:00 PM Aug. 01 (Fri.) to 1:00 PM Aug. 03 (Sun.). 17 people including Swami Yogatmanandaji participated in this retreat. The retreat constituted meditation from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM on Friday, 5:30 AM to 9:30 PM on Saturday and 5:30 AM to 12:300 noon on Sunday with short breaks in between. The participants will present their thoughts, opinions and feedback on this retreat as comments to this post.
Last year we had the moderator posting meditation retreat comments on behalf of participants. How does that work?
If someone wishes to be anonymous, he or she can send his or her comments to the moderator who will post it. Others can directly comment to this post.
Revered Swamijii: deepest gratitude for the rare opportunity to
practice extended silence and meditation last weekend. While I still
need a lot more discipline (!) at home, it was such an encouraging
experience – one that brings me serenity and hope whenever I reflect
upon it. I had previously felt so discouraged when my practice fell
short of my expectations in any way, but I had a revealing experience
after feeling particularly sleepy and achy during one of our last
sessions: I had to switch to a walking meditation throughout the
building, but instead of just repeating the mantra as I might have
before, now being in the rhythm, I continued my japam as well and found
this to be surprisingly joyful and freeing – a testament to just doing
my best at any one moment and not using
judgment as an obstacle. I loved the guided meditation which gave me
further insight into how to intensify my practice. Thank you again and
again for such a HUGE gift of Holy Company…..with warm wishes to
all….Suzanne / A. Bhakti
The retreat was a wonderful experience and this is one of the highlights of the year to test oneself how much one can really sustain long hours of meditation. Participation in the monthly long hours meditation session definitely helped me to prepare better for this retreat besides the daily practice (of course).
Before the retreat, I had a short talk with Swamiji, who gave me these "parting" remarks: "Pay attention to quality as well as quantity" in my question about a choice between those two naively thinking that I would rather have short meditation sessions with frequent breaks that could be qualitatively richer. Swamiji also agreed that I could take a short nap of 15-30 min which rejuvenates me during the day if needed. I was also cautioned by him against going into stupor during meditation. So I made a determination to practice japa even if I felt that there was no need for it (due to lethargy) during any of the mediation sessions.
The first day of the retreat went off well and I could meditate fairly OK given that I had no body pains during that session. The second day was a full day session and I thought the night before I needed to be well prepared for this unlike last year in which I had great difficulty during the second day. But by the grace of God, I had a better second day than the one during last year although there were body pains associated due to my sitting for a long time.
The reading material helped a lot especially the one from Swami Yatsihwaranadaji's lecture from Vedanta Kesari whih suggested methods to
do japa for long hours. The other motivations that I recalled for concentration
and focus are: The chess champion Garry Kasparov's immense concentration when playing IBM Deep Blue that made him lose few pounds of weight, Tennis stars Nadal-Djokovic's usual very gripping play especially Australian Open Final of 2012 that went for six hours at the end of which neither of them were able to stand properly, etc. The "extra" push that the sportsmen/sportswomen give to go beyond the limits that their own imaginations would conceive as possible is what motivated me to push myself harder. These thoughts, besides Swamiji's advice, definitely helped me to go through the second day much more smoothly than what I had last year.
The third day was more of a "wind down" mode and by the noon time I was just waiting for the concluding remarks from Swamiji.
Swamiji, in his closing remarks, reminded that the bigger responsibility is to maintain a regular discipline of short meditation sessions every day (say an hour each in morning and evening) as they are more effective than such long hours meditation done sporadically. It reminded me of the regular rigorous discipline of training that great sportsmen or sportswomen undertake to achieve their lofty goals by giving up their family, friends and other "fun" activities that most of the normal people of their age would indulge in. I would be very glad if I could imbibe even a little of the discipline, dedication and perseverance that great sportsmen or sportswomen have for perfection in their respective sport, if in my goal of achieving "the perfection" by becoming adept at meditation.
Comments are closed.