Up until I attended this retreat, I thought, climbing Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in Africa was the toughest thing I chose to voluntarily go through in my life.
Having had a rather crazy year, I decided to finish it in silence to be able to start 2020 with a massive bang.
So I thought… “There is nothing better to be able to clear your head and do a few days of meditation before that, right? Everyone talks about meditation in such a positive way, so it must do something for me too, right?”
Little did I know when I was on my there…
Arriving at this monastery/temple about an hour’s drive away from Chiang Mai, Thailand, I immediately gave away my phone to one of the helpers there. I did not bring a laptop.
A year ago I couldn’t imagine my life without a phone for even 3 days. This time it was the best thing I could have done to myself.
I started my 10-day meditation retreat. We didn’t start with sitting by the pool, listening to nice guided meditation audio tapes and having amazing vegan food. No…It was everything else than a ‘relaxing holiday’.
Here is how a normal day in the monastery could look like unless you lose your mind and try to escape or refuse to follow the exercise (and many people do).
- Get up at 4 am
- Meditate until breakfast
- Breakfast at 6 am
- Meditate until lunch
- Lunch at 11 am
- Meditate until meeting with your teacher
- Be excited or angry about the new exercise you get
- Face your own shit
- Work through it & continue
- Sleep a minimum of 4 hours/day
Things which aren’t allowed and you really shouldn’t do:
X Read books
X Write a journal
X Or any digital devices
X No food after 11 am (unless it’s cheese, chocolate or soy milk)
X Speaking AT ALL
X Leaving the property
The above may seem easy. Difficult. Boring. Exciting. You may find yourself breaking some of these rules, which is ok if you realize that you are just trying to escape from yourself. And that is the entire point of attending a silent meditation retreat.
Following this timetable as much as I mentally could, I can say this was the toughest thing I have EVER voluntarily chosen to do.
I went in to have a break from life, get through my burnout and relax from a crazy year. It was everything else, BUT relaxation. It was hell on earth in a Buddhist temple. In this place, life comes at you and you have 2 options.
- Face your fears and your emotional baggage and work through it, or
- Escape and continue to be your own enemy in life
And I am so happy I did it. I lost my mind several times. I was bored, didn’t see the point… I am honestly amazed about all these excuses on earth I could come up with.
One day I was so fed up and ready to pack my bag, and my teacher Mohammed, a huge man from Lebanon was literally begging me to stay. I was so confused, I thought he was crazy and had no clue why he was doing that…plus why he would even care?
I stayed and pushed through to the end. I cleared my mind from thoughts that didn’t serve me, purified my spirit and really faced myself.
We weren’t supposed to write down anything, but I took a few notes down, as things became just so incredibly clear in my mind and I didn’t want to miss out on the important information.
The process itself takes several days until you start to feel symptoms. You dig deep within yourself as much as you allow yourself to.
And everyone’s experience will be a very different one. Here are the main three takeaways from my own experience:
- The longer you stay, the clearer your mission in life becomes. The last few days are the ‘purest days’ and you will see and feel everything very clearly. No more confusion, no more brain fog. (I had been struggling with brain fog for many months. Now, it’s completely gone!)
- I have been struggling with chronic tiredness for many years. After I passed a certain stage of the course within the retreat, the tiredness had just disappeared.
- Businesswise, I gained so much clarity and insights, it was truly unbelievable. Those 10 days meditating was where my blurry vision of building an incredible business community of humans (The Biz Heroes) who are ‘aware’ (or becoming aware) fully took shape.
Taking part in a Vipassana retreat teaches you how to be mindful. It will teach you how to see things, understand yourself and so much more which I am not able to explain in just a few words, if ever in any words.
We react to our bodies’ senses and this his how we drive our own body throughout this life. Without ‘knowing’ it… Which is the reason why we make life seem hard at times…
I can go on and on about this, however, my words or my own experience will never do justice, you will have to go and experience it for yourself, please. I encourage you to.
All I know this was just the beginning for me. More results and insights will happen during the next months or years. Mohamed taught me that I have just opened the can…
It was the most terrible and yet the best experience ever. I have a clear mind, motivation, excitement, more understanding about myself, my fellow everything and first and foremost patience with myself and the world around me.
I already know I will go back very very soon. Self-development and self-improvement is a never-ending journey and it’s so much fun when you start to see results and changes unfolding magically for you.