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?

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