This Saturday I am heading on a 7 night, 8 day Vipassana meditation retreat. It will be my third and longest retreat I attend within the last 1.5 years. It still a few days shorter than the Goenka courses that last 10 days but it feels a lot longer when I look at it after a busy work week.
The setting for the coming eight days is really nice: an old mill on a lakeside called Friendship Inn (Ystävyyden Majatalo), located just about 100 kilometres from Helsinki. Easter retreat was also held in this beautiful place which is nice as it feels easier to go to a familiar building and meditation hall. The Inn consists of a big main building and two smaller ones, of which one mainly hosts the bunks and other would serve as a perfect dining hall with a glass roof. There’d even be an excellent sauna on the lakeside, but during the retreat the yogis are not using it.
Life is rather easy during these days. As there is a bell ringing schedule divided between the voluntary participants, I don’t really need to think about the daily schedule during the week. When the bell rings I either wake up, enter the meditation hall, go to the dining hall or begin my working meditation. Basically the schedule consists of sitting meditation and working meditation which you do in 45 minute shifts from 6am to 9pm. There are a few breaks but you’re not supposed to stop being mindful even at those times.
Not speaking seems to be the easy part - even for someone as social as me. Not day-tripping is the difficult part, but that’s another story and you can read more about the vipassana mediation from some other source if you’re interested in it.
I love the way Nirodha runs these retreats. Food is really tasty, atmosphere wonderful and so on. I’m really thankful for the voluntary people who keep the things running during the week and take care of the chores we can’t do. And they answer the emergency phone in rare case someone needs to get in touch with us.
So for a week starting right about now (as this one is a timed post) I shall be silent without mobile phones, without contact to other yogis and not reading or writing. See you on the other side!