Read about my amazing, life-changing meditation retreat in India. Ten days of silence, learning, meditation, peace and wisdom. And a new me after this experience.
After having meditated for only half a year (certainly being the biggest fan of meditation ever since!) I thought it’s time to become serious and traveled to India (where else?) for a meditation silence retreat in November.
After doing a lot of research about different ashrams I was very lucky to find Z Meditation Center in Dharamsala in the Himachal Pradesh region.
Z Meditation is just right for those seeking souls who are very serious about letting go of old habit patterns and really want to attain lasting peace, love and freedom. “Well, who doesn’t?” you will ask. Right – everybody.
But you won’t become a Buddha within a day or a week (one of the painful insights I myself am struggling to accept). It needs time (as all good things do), persistence, patience and, most importantly – daily practice. So, frankly speaking, it might not be the right location for everyone – if you’re on a spiritual trip that is rooted in a social yoga trend you might want to find another meditation center.
From Ajay and Suruchi at Z Meditation I learned a whole lot about the human being and its nature, especially the nature of the mind. Most people identify themselves with their mind, that is: their thoughts, as negative and destructive as those may be at times. We live in a constant illusion, are caught up in daydreaming, making things and situations up that are mere dreams, not the reality. Ajay developed an inquiry for those dreams (see book recommendation below: “Free your mind”). The aim of inquiring your dreams is to dig out all the likes and dislikes, the conditionings, expectations and desires behind your misery.
Every human grows up in a certain culture, a certain social environment. Depending on this environment we develop certain ideas of how things “should be” and “should not be”. This, together with our desires, is the root of our misery.
Once we realize the absurdity of resisting “what is”, of what we cannot change, we are able see clearly: acceptance is peace. Let go of your conditionings and you will be free.
So for 10 days I tried spending my time exclusively within the “now”, being mindful about each and every single action, not speaking to anybody and naturally not using any digital devices.
A day at Z Meditation starts at 7.30 a.m., when the first time of the day the bell rings to wake the students up. At 8 a.m. it is time for the morning meditation with Ajay. For 1,5 hours he teaches as the students sit quietly and listen. After that it is time for breakfast “meditation”. Also eating is something that should be done mindfully – after all it is crucial as it keeps us alive.
In between the sessions there is some “homework” to do. Certain topics or sayings are to be reflected upon and written down. This takes place from 10.30 until 11.30. You can choose any place within the truly nice compound of Z Meditation center. I liked to sit on the terrace in the sun and watch the mountains while contemplating and writing.
At 11.30 follows a “creative meditation” – another assignment that can be done in a creative manner, either in drawing or in writing a poem.
From 1 until 2 p.m. the next eating meditation takes place. I hardly ever had such delicious and healthy food I must say.
From 2 to 4 p.m. you can use your free time for a siesta or a little walk in the neighborhood.
4 to 6 p.m. is Yoga-time with Suruchi, which helps tremendously with calming down physically and mentally.
After a drinking meditation with fresh tea and cookies follows another lesson wit Ajay and dinner at 8 p.m. A short story time with Suruchi is the last teaching of the day and after completing one final assignment it is time to go to bed at 10 p.m.
Going back to real life…
After ten days at Z Meditation I felt like I am walking on clouds. Everything was so peaceful. My mind was at peace and so was my soul. It is very hard to describe this state of happiness that should be our natural state of being. This meditation course changed my life – learning about the mind and consciousness twists one’s point of view forever. And it gives you the most powerful tool for solving all your (mind-made aka illusory) problems. I myself am still facing problems every day, as before. Just that now, I am capable of dealing with them on a totally different level. I understood that “problems” are always just situations and it is the mind only that makes a problem out of something that simply “is”. As long as you stay centered in the “here” and” now” you end the existence of the “problem”. Start meditating and change your life for the best option there is!
For prices and more details check out: zmeditation.com
There are surely many other great options for meditation retreats in India and around the world. I am personally so convinced by Ajay’s and Suruchi’s approach that I would (and will) go back to Z Meditation any time.
Eckhart Tolle: A new earth. Awakening to your Life’s purpose.
(also available as a free audio book on youtube)