The other day I signed up for a 10 day meditation class/retreat/experience. Way back when I was in LA a friend of mine raved about this particular practice, Vipassana. I meant to go, but ten days was a lot to spare and I didn't get around to it. Since then I think of doing it a couple times a year, but never end up fitting it in. Finally, two days ago, I put my name on a waiting list for a session in California, where I estimate I'll be by the time it comes around.
I don't know much about the particular practice, although the blurbs on the site sound promising. They say things like, "see things as they actually are". Who wouldn't want that?
The real appeal of going, though, is the extremity of it. It's ten days straight of meditating for nine hours. Complete silence. Simple meals, tea, and simple lodging. That's at least ninety hours of meditation I will have under my belt by the time I leave.
Up until now I haven't really done any meditation. The notable exception is twenty minutes or so at the top of a sand dune in the Sahara. We made friends with a tour group from Italy. One of them gave us a yoga class under the stars, and the next prodded us into meditating.
Over the years I constantly hear rational people whose opinions I trust espouse the benefits of meditation. Once in a while I'll give it a go for a few minutes, get restless, and give up. After this meditation class I'll definitely know how to do it, and have an idea of whether or not it's worth continuing.
As I signed up for the class, I was a little bit giddy. I love finding new semi-extreme things that I can do that fit this risk profile. If it works, the benefits are huge, but if it fails I've wasted just a little time and have probably learned something or at least gotten a story out of it.
And that brings me to my question: what would you have me try? I won't put any restrictions on it, because I don't want to stifle anyone's creativity. The best answer would be something along the lines of, "I've always wanted to try _______ but I haven't had the time/discipline/motivation" or "I got into _____ on a whim and it changed my life."
Let me know what you've got.