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.
I second that last comment, try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or MMA.
I train 5 days a week now, every week. It's the most fulfilling thing I've ever done in my life, and I think you'll love it.
Try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu! You might fall in love with it, as you are obviously keen on otherwise healthy and awesome lifestyle choices.
It's awesome that your gonna practice meditation. I noticed the results are similar to vegan food. Meditation is like good food for the mind. Here's a solid guided meditation if you wanna get a head start:
I got into a Theravada Practice of meditation through my teacher. I got training by a Thai Forest Monk. Vipassana is a part of their whole practice. The best part is its free, or as much as you want to give them. The way it works is you call the abbot of the Metta Forest Monestary, Near San Diego and ask him if you can stay there. Then you go and live like a monk.
For more info check out there web site at http://www.watmetta.org/
I only stayed for a few days but I'm going back within the next few months.
One of my stripper friends has talked me into exotic dancing when she comes back this fall. She dances a couple times a month at Rick's in Austin. It sounds like hilarious fun and depending on how much cash you want to make; it's possible to bring in a few grand in one night, but that might involve some private shows for rich gay guys.
Is this challenging enough for ya?
Got a few thousand bucks?
Need to do something cool for 11 minutes?
On a related note, ever since I read "Ender's game" I've wanted to launch a space station with a zero gravity sports arena. Just waiting for 20 billion dollars to fall into my lap.
I just signed up for a 9-day harmony singing camp in Vermont. And I'm really not a good singer to begin with. Always fun to jump into things head first though...
That sounds like it is going to be an awesome experience. I had a friend that did something similar while she was in India and said it completely changed her outlook on life. I will look forward to reading the results!
I first heard about Vipassana from Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer for Weezer. He was explaining that despite being a rock star, he was celibate because of Vipassana. Powerful stuff, I guess. He raved about the benefits of it, although I don't remember exactly what he said anymore. It stuck in my mind, and over the years I thought about signing up, but something always seemed to be in the way of me leaving society for ten days to learn how to meditate.
The idea is simple and extreme, both of which appealed to me. You go to a meditation center in the middle of nowhere, agree to be silent and without any contact with the other world for ten days. Then, on a donation only basis, they teach you how to meditate, which you do for ten hours each day.
Finally, after knowing about it for five years, I signed up and went to a course. No notepads were allowed in, so this is reconstructed pretty faithfully from memory.
If you have ever taken a yoga class, you might have tried meditation. This being said, you were probably confused and maybe didn't exactly know what to do or what the purpose was. Well, let me enlighten you.
Meditation is a form of relaxation as well as a mental discipline. It will help you achieve a deeper state of self-awareness and understanding. Some benefits to meditation include, building self-confidence, increase in productivity, it helps with focus and concentration as well as memory. It provides you with peace of mind, happiness, and cures headaches, helps with anxiety, blood flow and has many more benefits. (For more examples of its benefits, check out: http://www.ineedmotivation.com/blog/2008/05/100-benefits-of-meditation/)
Meditation is like training your mind to become more relaxed, develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness.
How to Meditate and Make it a Habit: