Silent Meditation Retreat

I’ve wanted to do a meditation retreat, but between the cost and the time commitment, I’ve never gone. So I decided that I’d try to recreate the retreat experience in my home. I settled on a period of three days and, with lots of help from a friend, made up a schedule and ground rules.

Overall it was a good experience. I definitely had some trouble with distractions. Staying in my home made it easier to be tempted by the internet and books. Even cleaning was looking like a fun activity. But it was good to spend a lot of time meditating. I didn’t have any “breakthroughs” or anything, but I did have some productive journaling and introspection.

The main type of meditation that I did was a mindfulness meditation. I’ve been doing mindfulness meditation regularly but not daily for several years and typically do a 30 minute session. One of my goals was to find out what a longer mindfulness session felt like. In my original schedule, I planed to start at 60 minutes and then two 90 minute sessions, a 120, and finally a 180.

That first 60 minute session felt really long. The first 90 minute session was also on the first day and I was not able to complete it. I just couldn’t stay focused and it felt like my “attention” muscle was worn out. After that I changed the schedule to have 60 minute sessions. That worked better, but it was still difficult if I wasn’t fully awake at the beginning of the session.

On the third day, my second hour long mindfulness meditation went really well. I was able to stay focused and my mind was mostly clear. After most sessions, my mind feels a bit more clear and relaxed, both tired and energized. This session had that same feel, but to a much greater degree. I also felt a new sensation of being extremely focused and present. All my actions and even physical movements felt like I was doing them with 100% intention and I had no distracting thoughts. That effect lasted for about 10 minutes and was very cool.

Something that I didn’t like were the noises of my apartment. I’d like to try another day of meditation somewhere with no distractions and no noise.

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