Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Beginning

A couple of months ago I sent an email to a friend of mine that owns Shine On Yoga, a local yoga center. I asked her if she knew of any meditation teacher training courses that may be available. I am always interested in building upon my knowledge and experiences with meditation so I can be a more effective teacher for those that seek. There are plenty of courses out there, but how is one to know if they have truly found the real deal without spending a few hundred dollars up front? Not to mention, I do not have the few hundred dollars to pay for a certification. It's not so much the piece of paper I'm interested in as the knowledge. I am thirsty! Pour me a drink!

Alas, I digress! Back to the beginning!

During my search for meditation teacher training I came across a web site for a Vipassana Meditation retreat. Having a strong interest in all disciplines from the Eastern part of our globe, I was immediately intrigued. Reading that the retreat is FREE had me reading more!

The retreats are sponsored by a worldwide organization and are free. Program, meals and lodging are all free. You only have to provide your transportation there and back.

According to their web site, they will not accept any donations from participants until after they have completed the 10-day program. They only wish those who have tried it and found it helpful, to contribute to the continuation of teaching the tradition to all who seek. They also offer week end retreats for returning students in which you can offer personal services to assist in the maintenance of the programs and facilities.

I found the closest center is in Jesup, Georgia. The Dhamma Patāpa Southeast Vipassana Center is located in Jesup, Georgia. (It's not far from the coast and close to Fort Stewart.)

The program is rather intense and strict. You must be willing to agree to every condition in the Code of Discipline.

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art Of Living.

From their web site:

"Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion. "

"The scientific laws that operate one's thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace."

Sign me up! In 2010, I will successfully attend and complete a 10-day Vipassana Meditation retreat in Georgia. Stay tuned as we pick the date, complete registration, and begin our preparations for the upcoming retreat. (For example, getting up at 4 AM every morning and sitting for two hours in meditation before breakfast. Ack!)

I'm very excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing my experience with you! Stay tuned!

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