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Meditation Retreat! Deep Healing for The Non-Self

So this is my last day at work before I go on a 13-day meditation retreat at one of my favorite meditation centers in the universe, The Karme Choling Shambhala retreat center in Vermont, which this time of year should look just like a picturesque scene out of the Shire from Lord of the Rings.



Just call me the Viggo Mortensen of Buddhism, boys and girls. I do have
to leave my own personal Liv Tyler behind for 13 days, which is just
about my only lament.

So, have you ever done a guided meditation retreat yourself? If you are interested in meditation and Buddhist philosophy, whether Zen, Insight Meditation, Tibetan Buddhism or Shambhala, you gotta eventually do a retreat. Yes, I said GOTS-TA!


It’s great to do a day-long or weekend retreat where you live, but eventually you gotta get the hell out of town for at least five days (my arbitrary minimum) and work with your mind. In fact, here are some steps to establishing and deepening a solid meditation practice.

1) Read a good introductory meditation book and listen to Buddhist podcasts

2) Find a weekly group near you. Weekly commitment is important. If there’s not one near you, you could always do the Interdependence Project‘s home-listen series.


3) Establish a short daily (yes, daily. Consistency over all else) practice of at least 10 minutes.

4) Find a Buddhist teacher (or small group o teachers) to work with regularly – (I will be blogging about finding a teacher soon)

If you’ve done those four, then step five is for you:

5) Get your tush on a retreat! The power of a meditation retreat is not something that can be put into words, you just need to do it!

Here are some cool retreat centers to check out:

Insight Meditation Society (Massachusetts)
Shambhala Mountain Center (Colorado)
Tassajara Zen Center (California)
Karme Choling (Vermont)

Anybody doing a meditation retreat this summer? Where? When?

Comments read comments(6)
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Mitsu Hadeishi

posted June 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I agree, Ethan, retreats are really key. I do at least two a year, typically, a week long or more. I agree five days is a good minimum, though I personally recommend at least a week. Gives you a few days to settle into it and a couple days at the end to start to think about returning to the regular world.
I’m going to a retreat with our sangha in Morro Bay, CA this summer (July). We were there in March as well. Good times.

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posted June 8, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Luckily, as a teacher, I can always count on getting to do a summer-time retreat. (One of the main benefits of the job!) I’ve gone on retreat the past two summers at Karme Choling. I’m looking forward to retreating at Shambhala Mountain Center this summer. I leave on Wednesday!
My only lament is not going to Karme Choling this summer. It’s such a magical place. :) Take a dip at Adam’s Hole for me, will ya?!

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posted June 8, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Definitely agree, I personally didn’t understand what the possibilities were for deep peace and transformational understandings of the mind until I did my first retreat, now about seven years ago.
I’m really grateful this summer to have two retreat periods, one which I returned from a couple of weeks ago (10 days on Martha’s Vineyard with some amazing friends) and 19 days come the end of July at Insight Meditation Center in Massachusetts, a place you mentioned in your post. Have a good sit Ethan!

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posted June 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm

I’ve been practicing Vipassana meditation ( for the past six years or so, and it’s been life-changing for me. The retreats are 10 days and totally free of charge (a voluntary donation at the end, of any amount, will help the next students attend a course)– which in the beginning gave me faith that this practice might be credible.

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Your Name

posted June 9, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Meditation retreat is one of the best exercise we can do to ourselves.
We let the release of our day to day stresses and maintain our peace and sanity.So,the retreat sounds very necessary,it is one of the best
time we can give to ourselves,and a time to connect with God by this
practice of Meditation with matching peaceful place,that’s healthy

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posted June 10, 2009 at 11:56 am

no time. no money. working poor. not sure what i’d be retreating from ennyhoo.

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