Guidelines for Meditation Retreats with Leigh Brasington
When I first started teaching meditation retreats, it seemed that almost everyone "knew the ropes."
But lately it it seems that a few things need to be made clear before you sign up for a retreat with me.
The following are the basic guideline that will help you and your fellow
retreatants get the most out of a residential retreat:
All retreats with me require that you have sat two or more residential
retreats of one week or longer prior to attending the retreat I teach.
I don't give beginning meditation instructions; I assume that everyone
knows how to meditate and has enough retreat experience that the basics
do not need to be dealt with.
You should have a daily (or almost daily) sitting meditation practice
of at least 45 minutes a day for several months before attending the retreat.
If you do not have such a daily practice, you will wind up spending most of
the retreat trying to get quiet and will not have time to learn the deeper
states of concentration that will be taught.
Reading any or all of the following will help prepare you for what I teach:
is the foundation for all spiritual practice, retreats will be held in accordance
with the Five Precepts:
To not kill living beings
To not take what is not given
To be celibate during the retreat This means no sexual activity during the retreat.
To observe Noble Silence This means to speak only when necessary, such as needed for doing your
work meditation job, during your interviews, during Q & A sessions.
This seems to be the most difficult precept for most people; talking is such
a large part of our lives. But by not communicating with your fellow
retreatants, you allow them and yourself to go deeply inside to gain an
understanding of just how our minds work.
To not partake of alcohol or (non-medical) drugs We are confused enough already - we don't need to ingest
things that make us even more confused.
You also should not change any long term medication right before or
during the retreat; such changes can have side effects that are a difficult
to deal with on retreat.
Since you will be observing Noble Silence, you really
won't need your cell phone! I do understand that it might indeed be useful
while traveling to and from the retreat, but upon arrival, you should turn off your cell phone and leave it off. If you do have a need to make a call (emergency, family
health issue, etc.), you should walk far enough away that you
Leave The Retreat Center when you make your call.
You should NOT have people contact you via your cell phone; you are on retreat!
Give people the phone number of the retreat center as your emergency contact
number - and leave the world behind. You also will not be allowed to connect to the internet during any retreat I teach - please plan accordingly.
Since you will be observing Noble Silence, you
should not communicate with any of the other retreatants (yogis) unless you
are working together on the same work meditation job and need to communicate about doing the job. This especially means
that you may not leave notes for other yogis. If you need to communicate
something to another yogi, you should ask the staff or me to pass your message.
You absolutely do NOT need to take off your watch and set it in front of
you when you meditate. There will be bells rung to end all of the meditations,
so you have no need of knowing the time (unless you are the bell ringer, of course).
You can get much more deeply concentrated if you completely ignore time. It's
best if you do not ever bring a watch to the meditation hall. If you feel you
have to bring a watch to the meditation hall, you MUST insure that it does not
ever make a beep or other audible sound.
If for some reason, you must leave the retreat early, it is very important
that you inform both the retreat center staff and me. If you have to leave early, remember it puts an extra burden on the staff and the other yogis that will have to cover you yogi job - please don't do so except in an emergency.
Some retreat centers have additional guidelines that you should be aware of.
See for example: