How To Organize A Sesshin Retreat In Your Home
Not too many of my readers might be aware of the word "sesshin" or what it means so first let me explain it using the right combination of words.
A Sesshin is a period of intensive and silent meditation where one cannot talk, nor communicate through the eyes, nor use any form of physical expression to convey what they wish to say.
A typical Sesshin might range from a few days but there are many Zen Meditation Retreats in Japan where one can undergo a Sesshin for months or even years.
A period of deep introspection, reflection and relaxation normally takes place during a well organized zen meditation retreat. Such a form of meditation challenges us (pleasantly) to maintain peace, silence and serenity in a busy world around us.
There are literally hundreds of places (mainly monasteries) in Japan (and the rest of the world) where one can attend a weekend Sesshin.
Many of these retreats are commercialized rather than spiritual in nature thus defeating the entire purpose of such a disciplined form of meditation. But the good news is that you need not travel all the way to Kyoto to get your dose of this wonderful meditation technique.
You can organize a Sesshin inside your own bedroom. Just make sure that everyone else around knows what you are about to do so that they don't disturb you.
Kindly turn off your cellphone, computer, music system and TV. There should be as little noise (and distractions) in your surroundings as possible.
The first step is to decide how long you want to sit in silence for. Once you have decided this then the rest is usually very simple.
Say for example, your Sesshin is to last for 3 days (or the weekend) then all you need to do is to step into your bedroom on the first day and maintain complete silence as you sit down and meditate in there for the entire period of the home retreat.
Kindly note that you can write, relax, rest, sleep and do everything else as you normally do during the breaks but please make sure that you don't leave the home during those 3 days. Also ensure that you don't break the rules by creating some noise or talking to someone on the phone.
This intensive meditation practice is something that requires great discipline since sitting in silence without speaking to anyone isn't that easy in today's hectic and busy world. Fore your convenience, you can start by meditating in silence for just a couple of hours and then take it further from there once you have mastered the initial two hours.
Plan your meditation sessions in periods of 40 to 50 minutes each. Follow each session with a break of 10 to 20 minutes thereby giving you enough time to do other work or simply relax for a while.
During each period of Zazen (or seated meditation) the focus should ideally be on self reflection, introspection and a deeper understanding of one's self. Sesshins are a way to truly exploring one's true self and forming insightful understandings of your own body, mind and soul.
You distance yourself from the outer world when you truly sit down and meditate in silence. The focus is now inward and trying to determine what you are and getting better insight into the purpose of your being.
It's also important to breathe deeply during the entire process of Zazen. Focusing on our breathing allows our minds and souls to open up to our inner voices rather than on anything around us.
I have personally had several years of practice in Sesshin at my home (mostly in my bedroom) and can genuinely vouch for the deep understanding that these long periods of intensive meditation has bought into my life.
I am far more at peace with myself than I was in my younger years, there is much more control over my emotions, and I am able to truly cut myself off from the entire world when I am in a deep state of seated meditation in my home.
You should explore your inner self some more by first trying out Sesshin for a few hours at a time. Then once you understand the rich value of such meditation you can take a step further and organize a zen meditation retreat for you and your loved ones at home.
Just make sure that "silence" is maintained during the entire duration of the retreat and the rest will take care of itself.
Get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and step into your humble abode for a wonderful and peaceful meditation retreat.
Talk is useless, noise isn't needed, but yet this deeply insightful journey into your soul shall be remembered much longer than the best party you attended during the last 12 months.
A Sesshin is a cost effective and highly effective way to genuinely understand yourself and figure out your true calling in life. Don't delay the immense calmness and serenity that awaits you. Organize a Sesshin Retreat inside your home soon!
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