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

3 Alternatives To Sitting Meditation

You’ve heard of all the benefits of meditation. You’d love to be more peaceful, relaxed and present. Maybe you’ve even tried to meditate and you’ve lasted for a day or two… So have I. Meditation is a practice of focusing on a single thing in order to release everything else and quiet your mind. Sitting meditation seems like the easiest way to do this – all you need is a place to sit and your breath. But for many of us it’s not as easy as it sounds and it’s certainly not the only way to meditate. Any other activity that helps you focus on one thing can become meditative practice.


Often focus on the breath can be achieved much easier when breath is accompanied by rhythmic movements. In most forms of exercise, focus on the breath also promotes good technique so it’s a win-win. You get a clear mind and you get your workout done at the same time. Jogging and swimming are prefect examples of activities with repetitive movement where focus on the breath is essential for good technique.

Knitting and crochet

If you’re crafty, you’re probably already familiar with the relaxing effects of knitting and crochet. Now you can take it one step further and turn it into a meditative practice by fully focusing on what you’re doing. Pick yarn that’s comforting in colour and texture. Chose a simple project so that you don’t have to check the pattern constantly, but one where you still need to count and concentrate. Then let your craft project emerge while you’re giving your mind a break from any thoughts and concerns.

Connecting with nature

Go for a walk or stay still admiring the view while giving your full attention to the sounds, colours and smells around you. Notice the shapes of the leaves on a tree and the way they move from the wind. Observe a wave braking at the shore, then slowly drawing back in. Or simply turn your gaze upwards and watch the clouds.

When it comes to mindfulness and meditation, it’s more important how you do things than what it is that you’re actually doing. Try one of these alternatives to meditation or create your own. The key is to stay focused and in the present moment as much as possible. And remember, you don’t have to do it perfectly to reap the benefits.

Image by Lynn Greyling via

By Tatiana Apostolova


June 14, 2014