Jordane shared with us her experience of the vipassana retreat at the Institute this winter…
Vipassana Retreat, 26th Dec 2022 – 6th Jan. 2023
To end the year with ten days of silence and intensive meditations was exactly what I needed, just after Christmas Eve- which rhymes with all kinds of agape.
Guided by Ven Gendun, a Dutch monk with an infectious sense of humor and kindness, we, a group of more than 40 people, tasted the discipline of a mind concentrated in one point. The exercise is difficult because we have to try not to lose the object of observation while taking care not to have the mind too tense and too relaxed, in this case, the object being the entrance to a nostril.
Hour after hour, day after day, the initially reluctant mind becomes more flexible and begins to enjoy it. The thoughts that were so invasive and distracting, gradually lose their appeal. The mind tastes the serenity of a soothing silence, lulled by the sensation of the breath that comes and goes.
The body relaxes, the noses blow, the throats clear – an exercise in collective empathy for the ills of winter…
The walking meditations in the park, under a nice winter sun, allow us to air ourselves, to feel the ground under the soles of our feet, to focus our attention on this small part of the body. What discipline, what attention to avoid being caught by the spectacle of a bird flying away, a leaf detaching itself from the branch, a small insect jumping from a blade of grass, a sheep escaping from the woods one morning. To look for sure, but controlling the moment not to lose the object of observation.
And what about those wonderful evening hours of listening “religiously” to the Venerable!
His teaching, his direct approach, his experience so palpable – punctuated with laughter, anecdotes, lessons – were very strong moments of the retreat.
It was a journey out of time, an entry into oneself, free of all obligations thanks to the teams on site who were so quick to cook us good meals, to see to our comfort and to the cleanliness of the place.
A big thank you to the teams of the Vajra Yogini Institute. Many thanks to our translator, Aurélie. Many thanks to the venerable Gendun.
We look forward to the next retreat with the venerable this summer!
Jordane, Jan. 2023