PeterB wrote:Quite so Ben...perhaps I should have been clearer that by positive I meant in terms of the energising effect on day to day life and practice...rather than it being a smooth and untroubled ride....thanks for the opportunity to clarify.
PeterB wrote:What about yourself Ed, given the obvious crudity of a poll as a measure of anything...what has been your experience of retreats in terms of establishing or maintaining a regular practice ?
zavk wrote:My comments re: the benefits of retreat. When speaking to people who ask about retreat, I usually suggest that the thrust of the retreat--what brings 'benefits'--is not so much how deep one goes in meditation or what sorts of meditative experience one has. This is not to say that such experiences do not happen, but to use those as criteria to measure the worth of a retreat is unhelpful. I usually emphasise to them that it is the EFFORT--the fact the one makes a point to pluck oneself out of one's habitual patterns and follow through on one's decision with firm resolution--this, I suggest to them, is what really brings benefits. I sometimes give the analogy of running on a treadmill: there's an added sense of fulfilment and wellbeing (for me, anyway) when I can follow through on my initial decision to complete an entire session without looking at the timer counting down and without stopping.
I understand what phil is trying to get at in the other thread about not putting retreat on a pedestal, as it were. There are dangers with overemphasising meditation retreat, case in point those groups or movements who treat meditation like a kind of sport and who readily proclaim their meditative achievements (as if they could use coloured belts to signify their accomplishments like in Taekwando or something). But given our contemporary lifestyles which are so compartmentalised and regulated by the clock, the very act of removing oneself from those conditions and following through on the decision let go of distractions and to learn to be still and quiet--that in itself is very beneficial. That's how I've experienced it and that's how I explain it to people who are curious about retreat. The actual benefits of the meditation itself, well, that varies from person to person.
PeterB wrote:For the second poll I considered having above the" Very Positive " option an " Essential" option.but seemed to have the potential to be divisive.
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