I got accepted to the Vipassana meditation retreat again this year. In the spring, I will be skipping off to the Dhamma Siri center for ten days of Noble Silence, meditation sessions from 4am-9pm, no sex, no TV, no phone, no books, all vegetarian meals, and sleeping on a tiny bed that feels like it has a piece of plywood for a mattress.
It's gonna be GREAT!
Okay... so it's not everyone's idea of a vacation, but I will tell you that it is life-altering in a way that no cruise to the Bahamas ever will be. Life-altering in a good way. Not in a purple-kool-aid-drinking, aliens-coming-down-to-take-us-to-heaven-so-get-your-navy-running-suit-on sort of way. Even though this will be my third year to attend, my father is still convinced that I am being brainwashed by a cult. The whole ten days I'm there, he has the black helicopters and extraction team on stand-by just in case he sees the bat signal. I'm only going to say this one more time, IT'S NOT A CULT.
Besides, I wouldn't be part of any cult that would accept me as a member.
Not to mention I'm not exactly ideal cult material. There's too much dissident in my blood - which you think my father would understand by now, having been the target of much of my insubordinate behaviour over the years. I'd almost feel sorry for any cult who tried to actively recruit me. Talk about catching a tiger by the tail.
Vipassana meditation is an entirely non-sectarian technique, though most of the practitioners and teachers are Buddhist. At last year's session it was pretty evenly divided between men and women, about 100 people total, from all walks of life and religious affiliations. There are no mantras to chant, no visualizations of cloudless skies or sunlit meadows - nothing that would distract you from the inner workings. You definitely have a lot of opportunity to take a good hard look at the state of yourself when you don't have any distractions - plenty of time to clear out the inner sludge that's built up. I'm ready for a spring cleaning.