14 Aug
Posted in: Retreats
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What to Pack for the Inner Journey

I’ve posted earlier about my upcoming trip to Burma in January. But before that, I’ll be embarking on what could turn out to be an even more ambitious adventure….a 6-week retreat at IMS (Insight Meditation Society) in Barre, Massachusetts, beginning September 10. The longest retreat I’ve been on so far is 10 days. This one will be 43!

This is actually just the first half of the annual 3-month retreat at IMS. (Who knows, maybe next year I’ll sit the full 3 months!) The teachers this year will be Joseph Goldstein, Carol Wilson, Guy Armstrong, Winnie Nazarko, Andrea Fella and Bhante Buddharakkhita.

Here’s an excerpt from the teacher’s letter:
“Based on the meditation instructions of Mahasi Sayadaw and supplemented by a range of skillful means, the course will encourage a balanced attitude of relaxation and alertness, and the continuity of practice based on the Buddha’s Four Foundations of Mindfulness. In addition, the meditations on the four Brahma Viharas (lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity) will be offered throughout the retreat.

“Ongoing guidance for all participants will include evening discourse five nights each week, guided meditations weekly and daily opportunities for questions about practice. In addition, every meditator will be assigned to a pair of teachers; you will meet individually with one of these teachers every two or three days.”

I’ve been going on retreats for many years now, so this is all fairly standard. Except for this little item, which appears on the accompanying sheet marked Essential Information:

“Laundry is done every two weeks, with the exception of underwear, which is done weekly. Since your laundry will be washed together with that of other yogis, please label all your clothing with a waterproof marker.

Hmmm. I pretty much always wear black yoga pants when I go on retreat….as does almost everyone else. So I’m wondering: what kind of “waterproof marker” is going to show up on black yoga pants? And how am I going to be able to tell my black yoga pants from the hundred or so other black yoga pants?!

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