No speaking, reading or writing and only two (vegetarian) meals per day.
If Vipassana meditation was meant to be the answer to modern misery, why did it sound so much like a communist prison?
A year ago, when I took the leap into freelance video production from a full-time corporate-world job, I wanted to gain some perspective, take some time out for ‘me’ and draw a line in the sand between the old and the new chapters of my life. However, work starting coming in so quickly that I couldn’t actually guarantee ten days (twelve including arrival and departure) where I wouldn’t be disappointing my new roster of clients.
Finally after three failed attempts, my availability and their course schedule aligned. I decided that no matter how irresistible the job, how juicy the day rate, I would commit to ten days of silence at the Dhamma Bhumi retreat in the Blue Mountains.
I had heard about it from friends over the years who had good things to say, but if you’d asked me what I thought I was walking into, I had envisioned moping around an old house in the hills alongside a handful of morose, bohemians, silently staring at the carpet. What I actually discovered was a sprawling spiritual retreat nestled in the splendor of Blackheath, the second oldest of it’s kind in the world and brimming with the vibrations of thirty years worth of contribution.
One-hundred students – aged twenties to fifties, divided into the male and female sides of the campus – would follow a simple, sequential process with the aim of understanding the method and theory of Vipassana Meditation. My modern cynicism was on high alert for any trace of a cult, but to me the system is faultless.