While meditation retreats are extremely valuable, they are limited in some important respects. We need to develop more inclusive forms of intensive practice which help us cultivate each of the essential dimensions of of the Eightfold Path in an integrated way.
In leading meditation retreats based on a reflective meditation approach Linda Modaro and Moline Whitson aim to create a middle path between a strict adherence to an intensive schedule and completely doing away with the structures and guidelines that have been considered worthwhile on vipassana retreats.
Stephen and Martine Batchelor’s retreats explore key ideas in secular Buddhism, including the fourfold task, the importance of doubt and uncertainty on the path, and the need to create a culture of awakening.
Here’s a suggestion – dedicate a couple of weekends to a study retreat in the comfort of your own home, practicing meditation and going in depth into a secular approach to Buddhism.
Carol Smith’s account of her stay at a Goenka vipassana retreat: “Yep folks, I lasted 6 days out of the 10 day retreat. The longest 6 days of my life. I had looked forward to this retreat with a mixture of excitement and trepidation since I booked it, 3 months ago. I knew it would be hard work, but that was ok if I were to get some of the results I’d read people get, from a 10 day Vipassana retreat.”