Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meditate for ten days on a silent meditation retreat? I definitely have.
During my yoga teacher training in India, we were not supposed to speak during meals. The idea was that we were supposed to be fully conscious of our food rather than getting distracted by socializing. Some people took it further and did not speak for an entire day, wearing a little sign around their neck that they were observing silence aka mouna. Some people say observe silence so that you save your energy to turn inwards rather than focusing outwards in idle talking. Once you quiet speech, the mind quiets down too. Others say that there is no need for communication if you realize the great truth that there is no other–‘they’ are no other than me. Whatever the reason, observing silence is a powerful practice especially in conjunction with meditation.
I decided to connect with Alessandro Aliosha Pedori, teacher of contact improv and yoga in Berlin, who meditated in Thailand for ten days at the Buddhist International Dhamma Hermitage of Wat Suan Mokkh. Even though their website is quite comprehensive, even giving out a detailed 11-page description of their yoga classes, I wanted to know what it was really like to experience and live there for a silent meditation retreat.
Listen to my interview* above (or download it!) with Alessandro to find out:
- The most painful part of sitting meditation
- Why Wat Suan Mokkh is way better than Vipassana meditation centers
- What he would have done differently at Wat Suan Mokkh knowing what he does now (hint : bring a pillow!)
- Who would be your fellow meditators and the leaders / facilitators?
- Was the food good?
- The lasting effects of meditating for ten days in Thailand
If you want to meditate for 10 days at Wat Suan Mokkh, here are your ACTION STEPS:
- Pack a yoga mat, a pillow, tiger balm, and some paracetamol. No pretty clothes allowed, so leave them at home.
- Get yourself to Thailand by plane, train, automobile, boat, foot in outside the months of January and February.
- Make it to the Buddhist hermitage by 3pm on the last day of the month to register for the next ten days.
- Meditate, practice yoga, soak in the hot spring, and eat delicious Thai food for ten days.
- Celebrate with a Thai iced tea upon your ‘graduation’ from meditation.
- Stay at the main monastery in the woods for a few days.
- Escape to a tropical island in Thailand.
Interested in finding out more about Alessandro? His soon-to-be-launched website is aliosha.info.
* I apologize for the poor sound quality. My skype-to-skype interviews sound fine, but my skype-to-phone interviews get a lot of static and interference. My new microphone is in the mail; stay tuned to hear the difference with a Zoom microphone.
Have you attended a silent meditation retreat or ever wanted to?
Share your experiences–critical and cynical or blissed out–in the comments below please.
Photos (from top to bottom): Hot springs at Wat Suan Mokkh and Alessandro Aliosha Pedori