Can You Give Up All Earthly Pleasures For A Meditation Course?

Imagine taking a vow of silence, cutting off all contact from your loved ones and the outside world, giving up grog and only eating vegetarian meals – all for the duration of a 10-day, live-in meditation course, in the name of personal enlightenment?

RELATED: Common Myths About Meditation

Personally, I’d struggle on all fronts – particularly with not being able to see my husband and two toddlers for that long – but for countless others, this is nirvana. For in the eternal quest for peace of mind and happiness, people are flocking to a residential meditation centre in regional South-East Queensland, set in landscaped gardens within 60 acres of bushland.

And once there, thousands of meditation students will, each year, willingly take a vow of “noble silence” for the duration of a 10-day adult course which caters for up to 70 people.

Participants must also eschew all modern luxuries, such as the use of technology, including all electronic devices. Eek!

Following the age-old technique of Vipassana meditation one of India’s most ancient practices hailing back to the time of Buddha more than 2500 years ago Dhamma Rasmi is located at Pomona, Queensland, about two hours north of Brisbane.

This Vipassana meditation centre is hugely popular with both men and women and even offers 20-day courses for “old students”. About 40 courses in total are run annually, including one-to-two day classes for teenagers and children, and pregnant women are welcome at the adult courses.

meditation, meditation retreat, mindfulness

So, why on earth would you do it? The benefits of such a 10-day meditation course are said to include:

  • It’s a practical way to achieve peace of mind and boost your happiness and productivity.
  • A 10-day residential course with a qualified teacher gives students the opportunity to be “free from distractions”, according to the course terminology. This apparently helps you tap into your reality within.
  • This technique is said to help participants “come out of suffering”.
  • The course is non-sectarian and so suitable to all people, regardless of religion, gender, race or nationality.
  • It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, and “dissolves mental impurity”, resulting in a balanced, uncluttered mind full of love and compassion.

mindfulness, Buddhism, appreciation

And a word of warning, dear reader: this residential meditation course is a serious undertaking and not for the faint-hearted.

Before you apply, you’re encouraged to “read and accept the code of discipline”, including what is expected of you, lest you get chucked out. And note well: all journalistic attempts were made to interview a course convenor or teacher for this story, but all such requests were declined. Apparently, publicity is neither sought nor welcomed, hmph.

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February 10, 2015

Common Myths About Meditation

We all know that meditation can help us relax, slow down and find an island of peace in our frantic days, yet, how many of us actually do it? We make up with all kind of excuses: that we don’t have time, we can’t sit still, it’s boring and it’s not for us. Most of these excuses come from misunderstanding what meditation is and what isn’t. Here are some of the most common myths we tell ourselves.

RELATED: “Meditation” Is Not A Dirty Word

Meditation requires time and a quiet space

Meditation is a technique for slowing down the mind through focusing on a single thing and letting go of everything else. While it can be easier to escape distractions if you have a dedicated time and place for meditation, the single thing you’re focusing on can be anything – your breath, the movements you make, a scene in nature, a sound, the present moment. For your meditation practice, you can easily use your daily commute, housework or anything else that’s already there in your day.

You need to sit still with your eyes closed when you meditate

That’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word “meditation”, isn’t it? Someone sitting still in lotus pose with their eyes closed. I can understand why it wouldn’t work for everyone and it’s not for me either. I can’t do a lotus pose and, more often than not, the moment I close my eyes in a mildly comfortable pose I drift off to sleep. Yet, as I already mentioned, there are many alternative ways to meditate, from jogging to knitting to watching the sunset (and you’ll have a hard time doing either of these activities with your eyes closed).

It takes a long time to see any benefits

You’ll start experiencing the benefits as soon as you start practicing meditation. They may not be mind-blowing at first. You’ll probably not experience a huge shift of consciousness, but your body and your mind will get a change to rest, let go of stress and heal.

Meditation is just relaxation

While meditation is relaxing, meditation and relaxation are not the same thing. Meditation is about becoming more aware of the present moment and relaxation can sometimes be about escaping it – imagine watching TV or reading a good book, where you enter an alternative reality. In comparison to relaxation, meditation offers additional benefits: self-knowledge, clarity of thought, focus and resilience in stressful situations.

When it comes to meditation what you do is far less important than how you do it. As you can see, with intention you can easily incorporate meditation into your day and reap the rewards.

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November 11, 2014

A Beginners Guide to Meditation

Different kinds of meditation

Many styles of meditation practice exist today. Whichever approach you choose, you will find that each meditation session brings a little more clarity and power into your life. Meditation takes practice, so don’t expect too much too soon. If you find your mind wandering away from your meditation, do not get frustrated. Simply bring your mind gently back to the technique. Trust yourself and believe in what you’re doing.There are many forms of meditation, such as chakra, yantra, mantra and primordial sound meditation.

About chakra meditation

Chakra meditation involves concentrating on energy centres, called chakras located along a non-physical energy tube called the sushumna. The sushumna in the astral body corresponds to the spinal column in the physical body, starting at the base of the spine and ending at the ‘third eye’, between the eyebrows and a little above.

7 primary chakras are found at different points along the sushumna. Kundalini, also called chi, prana, or raw energy, sits at the base of the spine in the first chakra. During chakra meditation, the kundalini energy is pulled from the first chakra up through the sushumna to the third eye in the area of the forehead where the sushumna ends. In very advanced meditation practice, when a great deal of energy is generated and held in the third eye, the energy can “jump” from the third eye to the seventh chakra. The seventh chakra is called the “crown” chakra or the “thousand petaled lotus of light.” When the energy “jumps” to the crown chakra, a state called samadhi occurs in which one is merged with the worlds of light, and has entered into the first stages of enlightenment.

In chakra meditation, the focus is on 3 of the 7 energy centres, one at a time. Eventually, you will naturally feel the energy centres in your body.

You start with the third chakra, the “navel” or “power” centre, which is approximately 2cm below the navel. By meditating here, the first 3 centres are activated. This energy gives you the ability to accomplish physical things. This is the centre for willpower and strength.

Then you move to the fourth chakra, the “heart” centre. By meditating here, you get the benefits of both the fourth and fifth chakras. This is the centre for balance and happiness.

Finally, you focus on the sixth chakra, the “third eye”. This chakra is in the middle of the forehead between the eyebrows and slightly above them. This is the center for wisdom and psychic seeing.

About yantra meditation

Yantras are ancient geometrical designs. These sacred images are doorways to different worlds of light. Yantra meditation involves focusing on one of these designs. The practice of focusing the mind on something external or internal helps to make the mind quiet and focusing on a yantra will connect you with the bright worlds that the yantra represents, bringing happiness and clarity into your life. In yantra meditation, you begin by concentrating on the centre of the image.

When thoughts come in and out of your mind, refocus on the centre of the yantra. As your mind becomes quieter, extend your awareness out toward the edges of the yantra, so that you are now focusing on the entire design. Eventually, you will be able to visualise your yantra completely with your eyes closed.

About mantra meditation

Mantra meditation is chanting meditation. Mantras are sacred words or phrases which, when repeated in meditation, bring the individual into a higher state of consciousness. The sounds that are produced during mantra meditation are a form of energy, which connect you to worlds of light and spiritual ecstasy. You can chant a mantra out loud, in a whisper, or mentally. The most famous mantra is “Om mani padme hum” which can be translated as “the jewel in the heart of the lotus” or “Enlightenment is within everything”. Chanting a mantra repeatedly for the duration of your meditation session will, over time, develop your powers of concentration to a high degree, and you will experience great inner peace and clarity of mind. The trick is to focus on the sacred sounds and the sacred meaning of the mantra. Each time your mind is diverted from pure concentration, bring it back to your meditation by focusing on the mantra.

About primordial sound meditation

This is a very popular, more mainstream form of mantra meditation. Primordial Sounds are the basic, most essential sounds of nature. These mantras in Primordial Sound meditation differ from other mantra meditation as the mantras are individually tailored for each participant. They are chosen on the basis of Vedic mathematics, which determines a specific sound or vibration of the universe at the time and place of our birth. When we silently repeat Primordial Sounds as part of the mantra, they help to take our awareness away from the frenzy of daily activity of the mind to the stillness of our spirit.

For more Deepak Chopra’s Primordial Sound Medititation site at

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January 30, 2002