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I'm in a period of my practice where i feel ready for a retreat. I have been looking into different types of retreats and have found the Goenka 10-day retreat the most suitable one for me as a first-timer. I do however not now when i will be able to attend one due to long waiting time in the area close to me and my current job do not allow me to travel.

I was wondering about the reintegration-process back into society after 10 days with silence and minimal contact with people and no contact with the outside world. I have done small "retreats" by myself where i would buy food for 1-2 days and then stay inside and meditate. When i went outside after a couple of days and talked to other people i found that i had some aversion towards people and felt uncomfortable in their presence. I would rather stay for myself. I do not know how a 10-day retreat will affect me or if it will.

Personal experiences and methods for dealing with people when comming out of a retreat is what i'm looking for. A side note - i will be doing the 10-day retreat in another country than where i live. I dont know if that has something to say but now the information is there.

Thank you very much.

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I attended a meditation course taught by Venerable Yuttadhammo which was, in total, a 21 day course. Due to inability to take 21 days off from work all at once, I had to split the course into two parts, 7 days & 14 days, giving me two periods of going from the busyness of daily life to the quiet of a monastery and back to busy daily life again in a 6 month period.

I also wondered about how it would feel, after the course, to resume daily activities and to deal with people. I tried to provide a buffer period of quiet time for myself (for when I returned home) by making arrangements ahead of time to take off an extra day from work, stock up on frozen and non perishable groceries to avoid having to go to the store right away, running errands ahead of time when possible. It was helpful just to not have too much piled up needing to be done when I returned home.

I was surprised actually at how challenging it was to adjust to the quiet at the monastery. Being away from internet, music, and most noise in general proved quite challenging to me and it took me a few days to adjust. For future retreats, I plan to build in a buffer period of being offline and quiet for a bit before I go to the retreat too. After a few days though, the quiet felt normal and continued to feel normal until it was time to go home.

I didn't find myself with any strong aversion to people after the course. People seemed loud perhaps, laughing too much, crude sometimes, but nothing that I hadn't noticed or felt even before the retreat. On my way home I had a one hour layover at the Port Authority in New York City. Going from a quiet monastery to the New York Port Authority bus station is about as different as you can get. But it was fine. I was standing, smiling, noting things, while everyone else was running around, yelling, getting stressed out because the bus was late. I was so happy to have had the opportunity to practice mediation and feel so calm in the midst of such busyness.

My best suggestion would be to try to build in buffer zones both before the retreat and after where you are not especially busy, social, (or spending lots of time online or listening to music before) to ease the transition both to the retreat and back to society afterwards. Best wishes for your retreat! :)

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    Thank you for sharing this. It was this kind of answer i was hoping to get. Very useful. Especially about the pre- and post-retreat management and buffer periods. I certainly need to prepare something like that. Can i ask what happend to your practice after the retreat? I mean did it become deeper and more focussed. – Lanka Jun 26 '15 at 17:33
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    It deepened my commitment to daily mediation no matter what. Tough days, sleepy days, busy days, no matter what just keep meditating. Also very lucky to have an affiliated open online mediation community for support. meditation.sirimangalo.org – Robin111 Jun 26 '15 at 17:43
  • Hi Robin. I got into the 10-day retreat in Sweden and it's this october. I'm very happy about it and now i will use the advices you gave me. I wanted to ask you about 2 things. They write that one should wear loose fitting and non-striking clothes. I was thinking about wearing adidas training pants and a black hoodie. Do you think that is acceptable? The problem is that the hoodie i have has a tag on the back, i.e. the place where i work (it says Aalborg Martial Arts) and it's a big tag with white letters. – Lanka Jul 23 '15 at 15:17
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    Congratulations! I'm happy for you. :) I don't really know for sure what the expectations are on either question. But when I had read the rules for the S.N. Goenka retreat; my impression was they don't want you to do anything that would distract others. So strong scented toiletries might be better replaced by unscented ones? And maybe a plain shirt might be better that one reminding others about martial arts? Again, I'm not really sure; but plain might be better. Best wishes for a fruitful practice. With metta. _/_ – Robin111 Jul 23 '15 at 15:22
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    Thank you Robin:) I think you're right about this. I will try to keep it plain and simple. Wish you a fruitful practice too. – Lanka Jul 23 '15 at 15:29
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I used to run a charitable retreat center that hosted scheduled Silent Retreats and also provided a retreat anytime someone requested. We always would explain the dynamics of going on retreat as it started, were available for questions that arose, and provided a closing talk to give suggestions on how to avoid unnecessary stress to one's being after. (And we would answer questions any time afterward.)

Suggestions were: to not do anything loud or disruptive for a while after (check that your car stereo was switched OFF before starting the car, lest it startle you), let people you live with know that you are assimilating your experience and not avoiding them, avoid news programs and TV that tends to bring up a lot of emotion or buzziness (a technical term), caffeine, alcohol and anything else that would send you for a spin. Heat, hot baths and showers can be depleting, heavy food might not digest well, etc. All common-sense, but nice to have a list.

If you have gone still and quiet for a while, anything jarring or energizing (inappropriately) will be especially disruptive. That said, I agree with Robin111 that the insight and calmness gained is immediately applicable and very empowering. Best Wishes on your retreat!

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Given the good hint of Dhammadathu: "psychiatric hospital", if using a retreat, the Buddhas teaching, just to funcion for the world, e.g. as a compensation, not really up to go beyoung, it's nothing but missuse of gifts.

It's not good, not adviced, to get torward a an unexcelled gift with the inspiration of function for the world.

As Psychiatrist Lanka might know how the matter of reintegration and earnings with such works.

Having this basic fear possible change to a better, it would be nothing but hindrence to gain right view but as often a door to develop strange wrong views, willing to use high Dhamma for the world. This often "schizophrenic" way of live that is further leaded, a broad visible phenomena of so called Vipassana doer, is for the most not of benefit and those people are usually very unvirtuose, not ashamed to perform even grave missconduct, often continue wrong livelihood, having developed such as householder equanimity, a equanimity not based on penetrating the world, e.g. sensuality, matter.

So my person advice is to simply lead a proper lay-persons life, focusing much on generosity, service for worthy and Sila and when the day comes that actually seeing the danger in the world, taking on the going forth if the conditions outwardly, previous cased, are avaliable.

Todau even monks make retreats in same way... look at them. Today a very open remark of a, to that extend, very wise nun. Accidentally from the same lineage (if my person is not wrong) as it seems: A silly Nun, she calls her self, sadly.

Here a share of the (hidden) comments on the "luck" of reintegration, her resume:

Sure? A silly person, even meeting, having Nissaya, but not taking on it, just “how lucky amI, how lucky am I”, seeing form as constant, feeling as constant, fabrications as constant, memories as constant, knowing as constant, will return again and again. How is it, that a wanderering returner is blessed?

It’s not possible to uproot bhava-tanha if kama-tanha is not uprooted. For best possible support, sticking firm to vinaya is most conductive and taking on the Buddhas and Savaka-Sanghas invitation before following the many Maras in- and outwardly. Meaning, not taking what is not given and reject that with strings to the world, even if given.

And what is the cause of gaining right view? To do not associate with the common beloved fools, those who make a livelihood on talk.

Best wishes. It’s not easy if not letting go of unsupportive bounds. Why does one not? Because of this cravings, longing for it, not seeing the backwards, after the joy of becoming giving by sensuality.

Btw., it’s seldom that one is honest to one self and as the Buddha told “seeing ones foolishness, is to that extend, be called wise” so to that extend the silly isn’t silly at at in this case.

Mudita for that is actually really a matter of “lucky” and reason to rejoice benefical with it.

But now, how to get ride of being attached to fakes and cheater and find the Noble ones?

Not sure if known Upasika Kee Nanayon, but as it came to mind as possible supportive, here a share (with string to Nibbana attached):

Stop, Look, and Let Go

Assuming that this retreat might be done already, maybe give also a own answer.

Assuming that not, may Lanka do the best to be soon able to go forth.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial use or other lower wordily gains by ways of exchange or trade]

  • Thank you Bhante. Two things; a) I'm a physiotherapist, not psychiatrist and b) the retreat is done now. I attended it in december 2015. It is my plan to go forth into homelessness when the time is right. – Lanka Jan 16 '18 at 12:37
  • Nyom @Lanka , Is there realy a different? And mudita with you aspiration, sadhu! – Samana Johann Jan 16 '18 at 12:39
  • Conventially, yes there is a difference. Ultimately, no there is not. Thank you Bhante. – Lanka Jan 16 '18 at 12:40
  • It's good to know the difference betweens those help to stay bound and those giving release. Mudita. – Samana Johann Jan 16 '18 at 12:41
  • Yes, I agree. Its easy to loose oneself in conventions and concepts if one is not mindful, heedful and guarding the sense doors. – Lanka Jan 16 '18 at 12:50

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