A Vipassana retreat is hard. Rules are quite strict for the duration of the course. No speaking, no access to your phone, no communication, gender segregation, no sexual activity, no physical exercise whatsoever except walking laps in the courtyard of the foundation, and not even access to any kind of reading material. The idea is to stay clear of any kind of distraction to focus the mind on meditation. While some rules were easy enough for me, I was expecting the no reading material to be the hardest. Turned out, after a few days what I was really craving for was physical exercise, like at least pull-ups or gym. But I did complete the course, though I still found it was difficult to concentrate even at the end.
All you do for 10 days is meditate following a Buddhist technique, punctuated by breakfast and lunch breaks (no dinner, it’s only a snack around 5pm). Meals provided are vegetarian, and it was generally easy enough for me to look for vegan and gluten-free options in what they served. My main interest in following this course was to try to learn to meditate in the best way possible, and I was also interested to see how I would feel after one week without having my mind distracted by any else than my own thoughts. I’m definitely glad I was able to have that experience, even though I found it pretty hard. Everyone has their own experience, and there is a lot to say about Vipassana, so if you are interested, check out this: https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/index .
After Vipassana, I ended back in Calgary. Want to know how?