We are happy to report our arrival in England.
The flight was smooth… and we are resting up in our Yotel here at Heathrow before we jump on a bus to Hereford.
Well actually, that’s not completely true… we will actually be staying at the long course centre (for courses longer than 10 days), which is located right beside the main centre.
We’ve posted the website link to England’s main centre site because the main website provides information about Vipassana meditation and how it is practiced, and it provides answers to common questions about sitting courses.
We thought we’d also post some common Q&As that we get asked when we announce that we are heading off to sit a 30-day meditation course……
Wow. 30 days? I’ve heard of these places in that Eat, Pray, Love book… Are you going to an ashram?
No…an ashram is defined as “a place of religious retreat or community life modeled on the Indian ashram. ORIGIN from Sanskrit āśrama ‘hermitage.’ ”
The type of meditation we practice is not religious, there is no guru, and there is no “community” or “residence” at the centre where people live all year round. The centre and the meditation courses are run by volunteers. These volunteers are regular people with regular jobs and everyday lives (i.e. no monks or nuns, but monks or nuns from various religions do take these courses).
One way to think of the centre is to think of it as a place where you go to learn a particular skill – like a school. We are learning and practicing the skill of Vipassana meditation. We are taking a 30-day course so we can take some time to further hone our practice of this skill… in this case, a lot of time. 😉
I’m interested in meditation, but 30 days is a long time, are there shorter courses?
Yes. The introductory course is 10 days. You learn the technique in stages, over the course of 10 days. Although you practice in silence, you do get instruction. Each day you learn a small part, then you practice it for the day; the next day you get more instruction, which builds on the previous day’s instruction. By the end of the 10 days, you’ve had enough practice that you then can go home and keep practicing on your own. For more information, click on the link above.
Ok, but 10 days is still a long time… are there shorter courses? Like a weekend course?
Once you’ve learned the technique (i.e. you’ve sat at least one 10 day course) then you can take one-day courses and 3-day courses to help brush-up on your skills. But you need to take the full 10 days first to really learn and practice the meditation.
Humm ok, 10 days…. but what kinds of benefits have you experienced from practicing meditation?
The list is too long and often hard to explain in the form of a short blog post or coffee conversation! But some of the benefits definitely include the following pulled from the UK centre website:
• improved concentration and mental clarity
• decreased stress and anxiety
• increased energy and efficiency
• strengthening in ethical principles and responsible values
• greater balance when facing challenges
• deepened sense of purpose.
Oh, that sounds good…. how much does a 10 day course cost?
As it says right on the front page of the UK centre’s website: Courses are run solely on a donation basis. No charges are made, not even to cover the cost of food and accommodation. All expenses are met by donations from those who have already completed courses, experienced the benefits of Vipassana and wish to give others the same opportunity. Neither the teacher nor the assistant teachers receive remuneration; they and others who help on the courses volunteer their time freely.
This sounds great, but is it only offered in England?
No. You don’t need to travel to England to sit a course – we have a centre in Ontario (and BC too)…they just don’t offer courses this long yet, which is why we are traveling to England to sit our course. In fact there are centres for this particular type of meditation all over the world, and it’s taught in the exact same way.
If you want to learn more about the centre in Ontario go to this link: Vipassana Meditation in Ontario.
If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to email either of us directly. We’ve been asked every possible question imaginable and we can send you more information. The meditation has made such a big impact on our lives – hence the reason why we’d spend SO MUCH TIME practicing this skill! 🙂
We will post our next update on or around August 30th.
Till then, I hope you all have a wonderful summer.
with kindness and love to you all,