Vipassana Retreat Kalikalos 2016

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10 day Vipassana Light. Theravada Buddhism. Sunrise 6a.m. – 8.30 a.m. Observing silence.

On our knees, bowing, attuning to purity, compassion, wisdom. Then, sitting in meditation. Breathing. Watching the rising and falling of our breath. Watching the ‘thought pump’ and noting, and naming, each awareness.

To domesticate your “mind objects” i.e. patterns, obsessions and mental proliferations, be friendly to yourself, be kind and compassionate. We are taught to observe these patterns of thought as “knowing”.

Walking meditation 45 minutes. Goes like this: Heel up. Lifting. Going. Dropping. Treading. Weight to front leg. Weight to back leg. Pause. Repeat.
Then another 45 minutes sitting.

8.30 a.m. Breakfast.

From 9.15a.m. – 1.30 p.m. the program of alternating 45 minute sessions of sitting and walking continues. A brief interview with our dignified and wise teacher, mathematics professor Henk Barendgrecht, is optional.

1.30 p.m. lunch. Silence ends.

We then break until dinner at 8.00. Alexandros venue offers a cozy fire when raining, and there’s exquisite Plaka beach 3 k’s down the mountain on glory days.

At 9.00 p.m. Henk offers his fascinating Dharma talks. We gained deeper insight into several of the Buddhist principles. For example, understanding Annica (impermanence) can offer us hope. Understanding Dukkha (things are beyond our control/it happens by itself/selflessness) makes us humble and modest. Understanding Anatta (suffering) can bring freedom.

From 10p.m. silence is once again observed.

Venue is Kalikalos Alexandros, a mountainside hotel that is clean and comfortable. Food is abundant and delicious but predominantly grain and pulse based, which I don’t do well with. For the others buffet’s were perfectly fabulous.

For a long time, I’ve dreamed of coming here – and it’s manifested. Deep breath! Our room was stunning, such ultimate views over the Aegean, and what a lovely, special room mate. Blessed for that!

As is the case with life and with any Vipassana retreat there were some gruelling times. This retreat is offered yearly and is called a “light’ retreat, as talking and technology is permitted between lunch and bedtime. This is less restful than my previous experience of doing a full 10 days in silence. The in depth teachings and so much else nevertheless made this a profoundly enriching experience. Thank you Kalikalos.

Rising. Falling. Naming. Noting. Knowing.

Jennifer Hirsch.

Alexandros workshops 2016


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