The danger in retreats and other isolated spiritual events

atlantis's picture



Average: 4.4 (12 votes)

Retreats and intensives are usually good practices by themselves.

The danger I am speaking about is not about what happens in the retreat but about the outside of the retreat, about what happens after the retreat.

People activate their spiritual volition and awareness during the retreat but limiting their special alertness and presence to that certain isolated event only. Then when they leave the retreat compound, they feel they did a lot and so they deserve a break and then they release awareness as if the game is over. The patient mind just waits smiling for this opportunity and jumps back into control with the old conditionings.

I have seen so many "professional Vipassana meditators" returning immediately after the retreat to even a more inflated ego as if nothing happened,I have seen others, as well as myself, getting out from an intensive and after an hour of unconsciousness returning to our old habits and angers.

This is the real danger. We all have to remember that the retreat is always, in the retreat and especially outside. It cannot be limited to a certain period or place but should be in our daily life, in every moment and moment.

We must verify that we don't use the fact that we have participated in a retreat, especially "hard" retreats to give ourselves a break from awareness and then stop our development when the retreat is over.

The real challenge is as always in the most unexpected place: out there when awareness tends to wonder.



seeker's picture

Krishnamurti

The sadhana is 7 days a week, 24h a day.

This is what Krishnamurti meant when he criticized formal meditation.

seeker | Fri, 06/06/2008 - 20:46
santthosh kumaar's picture

24/7 INQUIRY AND REASONING IS ESSENTIAL

Santthosh

EGO BASED MEDITATION IS NOT OF ANY USE. FIRST ONE HAS TO KNOW HIS TRUE IDENTITY THEN ONLY INDULGE IN SPIRITUAL PURSUIT. INITIAL STAGES MEDITATION AND YOGA ARE ESSENTIAL BUT SEEKER HAS TO KEEP IN MIND THAT THEY ARE NOT THE MEANS TO ACQUIRE WISDOM. 24/7 INQUIRY AND REASONING IS ESSENTIAL TO DIVERT THE SEEKING MIND TO ITS SOURCE WHICH IS THE INVISIBLE SUBSTANCE AND WITNESS OF THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE OF DIVERSITY.

santthosh kumaar | Tue, 07/01/2008 - 04:54
santthosh kumaar's picture

THE REAL RETREAT IS BASED ON THE TRUE IDENTITY

Santthosh
HI ATALNTIS,
It is quiet natural for ego which is physical identity to return to its old habit after the so-called spiritual retreat and returns to its old conditioning.

It is only few who are able to change their conditioning and adopt new conditioning and try to live a new way prescribed by the so-called spiritual practice. But whatever practice they indulge in they still practice it on the physical identity.

If they focus their attention on the breath even if they get thoughtless moments still they are aware subconsciously that they are the body. Because without the body there is no question of breath. Therefore the body has to be there to concentrate on the breath. Therefore the breath and body co-exit as ego. It means the ego or physical identity has to be there through out the practice and experienced the thoughtless state.
Getting thoughtless state is not wisdom even in deep sleep one becomes thoughtless.
CONSCIOUSLY BEING AWARE OF THE NONDUAL NATURE OF THE TRUE SELF WHICH IS SPIRIT OR ATAMAN IS THE TRUE WISDOM.

THEREFORE THE EGO BASED SPIRITUAL PRACTICE WILL NOT YIELD ANY PERMANENT RESULTS. THE RETREATS ARE GOOD IN INITIAL STAGES OF SPIRITUAL PURSUITS TO DIVERT THE MIND FROM OLD CONDITIONING. BUT THEY ARE NOT THE MEANS FOR SELF REALIZATION. THE WISDOM WILL NOT DAWN WITH THE EGO OR PHYSICAL IDENTITY BASED SPIRITUAL PRACTICE. A MENTAL RETREAT HAS TO BE ATTENDED EVERYDAY THROUGH INQUIRY AND REASONING AND ANALYSIS ON THE TRUE BASE TO OVERCOME THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE OF DUALITY.
WITH RESPECT AND REGARDS.
SANTTHOSH

santthosh kumaar | Tue, 07/01/2008 - 04:46
sisi's picture

Important observation

I agree.

It is not only the case of retreats but any spiritual practice we do (yoga, church, meditation) that involves being present and aware.

Feeling fulfilled that we did something, we let ourselves then to lose awareness and get back to aour automatic reaction patterns.

sisi | Sat, 04/04/2009 - 18:23
Quantum's picture

I agree too

That's why I quit a certain type of meditation practice in favor of one I can practice during daily activities even between cushion sessions. I focus on my breathing.

At first, I wondered, "How can I focus on my breathing while driving, or while doing dishes, or anything else." Then I caught my self driving down the road with my mind thinking about many things while watching the road. It was then I realied that my mind is already preoccupied with 1 million and one things while doing all those things. So, what is one million less? Just breathing and what i'm doing in the moment? 24 X 7.

:)

Regards

Quantum | Wed, 10/07/2009 - 21:35
lucas's picture

carry on with the presence, not necessarily with the meditation

Just make sure that while you are doing the meditation you are present. Meditation does not necessarily involves presence. Actually and unfortunately, it hardly does.

The emphasis is to carry on with the presence when leaving a formal spiritual event. Not necessarily to carry on with the meditation practiced at that event, although this also may be important.

lucas | Thu, 10/08/2009 - 23:30
Quantum's picture

Presence

Yes. That's why I just watch my breath (and inner body awareness) now. Watching my breath (and/or inner body sensation/awareness) helps cause me to be more present. And I can watch my breath (and/or inner body awawreness) during the day, and watching my breath is also what I do when sitting on the cushion with eyes closed. Breath awareness is something I personally can do, to be more present, even after I get up from the cushion.

I tried to be present just by being present, and trying to be mindful, but my mind jumps in and thinks about every detail of what I'm doing and analyzes it all. I need something, a bone, if you will, to give the dog (my mind) to chew on, to quiet it down a bit.

I set my timer on my watch for 5 minute increments, and try to stay focused on my breath until the timer goes off. I been watching my breath all day since this morning...amazing how I seemed to have accomplished so much, with so little effort, and things turned out nicely, and everyone I ran into seemed more friendly and helpful.

Maybe it's all in the my mind, though. I'm sure someone will say that. I would, if somebody posted what I just said. "It's all in your mind, dude. This is all in your mind." :)

Breath.

Quantum | Fri, 10/09/2009 - 03:06
santana's picture

Being present is being aware that you are aware

Trying to be present is not easy, many think that they are when they want but actually they are still in their thoughts which in turn are the ones who are present. Their presence is still mediated by their thoughts. It sounds confusing but in action you see this.

So keep on trying, but with no force or expectations. Remember that a good portal for being present is that actually being present means that you are aware of being aware = awareness to awareness.

Take things earnestly but more easily and joyfully like a game and they will happen on their own.

santana | Fri, 10/09/2009 - 07:52
Quantum's picture

I agree with you

Hey Santana,

I was waiting to read something in your that I could pounce on, but I agree with it all.

I have tried to be aware of being aware. AWA (awareness watching awareness.) I actually have a book on just that. And even Tolle used it in a guided meditation. Trouble is, when I try it, it feels like it is my MIND that is watching the MIND. So, I move back a step and watch my Mind watching my Mind. Then it becomes my Mind watching my Mind watching my Mind. So, I step back again...until it seems like what you get when you hold a mirror in front of a mirror.

Get's messy.

So, I just watch my breath, Broh. It gives my dog (Mind) a bone (breath awareness, inner body awareness) 1-2 things to chew on. To make it more quiet.

I just watch my breath. That's my practice. TO me, all words are pointless if they are not applied. Too much theory and philosophy and ego's in this forum. I got a big ego too. I'm proud if it, too. :)

Breath.

PS: Breath-Inner Body sensation.

Quantum | Fri, 10/09/2009 - 16:33
lalo's picture

It's you, not the retreats

But this should not be used as an excuse to avoid retreats. Just be aware and present as possible when ending the retreat.

Remember that the problem is not in the retreat but in you, in your behavior.

lalo | Sun, 10/25/2009 - 06:48