Ommmmmmmmmmmm… !?

25 Feb

I got off the wait list for the 10-day silent Vipassana meditation course.  So tomorrow, I will drive to Canada to take part.  [AHHHHH!!!]

The meditation center is in Montebello, Quebec — halfway between Montreal and Ottawa — in a “tranquil open valley surrounded by forest.”

Picture of the meditation center where I'll be going.

Picture of the meditation center where I’m going (from their website).

I don’t know what to expect.  I’m flying blind into this one.  An inquiry to a traveler friend who has completed the course yielded a cryptic response: “Just believe in the process.”

Vipassana, which means “seeing things are they really are,” is an ancient Indian meditation technique.  It has nothing to do with any organized religion but is simply “the process of self- purification by self-observation.”  [From there, the website waxes on philosophically, causing my mind to grow fuzzy.]  The course is totally free.  Students may make anonymous donations at the end of the course, if they are able and so wish.

From what I can glean from the center’s website, there may be 100 or more students per course, but the men and women are kept strictly segregated.  For the entirety of the 10 days, students observe “noble silence” — that is, silence of body, speech, and mind.  Oh yes, and do you remember the course schedule?  Days begin at 4:00 a.m. with a wakeup bell and continue until 9:30 p.m.  There are about ten hours of meditation throughout the day.  A vegetarian meal is served twice a day.  Tea is available in the evenings.

Mentally, of course, it’s hard.  But by all accounts, sitting in the same position for hours on end is physically excruciating.  Shooting pains, stabbing pains, numbness.

If you’re like my Aunt Leslie, you may have some questions.  Like, W.T.F.?!  Or, as Aunt Leslie puts it in a text message, “What’s there to discover in silence?  Life’s too short to be quiet for 10 days.”

Well, I don’t know.  Past students say it is life-changing.  They say you get out and your head is just so clear.


But I do believe that life is about more than just deriving pleasure and avoiding pain.  Life is about finding a meaning in life — and fulfilling it.  I haven’t found my meaning yet, but this year — in so many ways — is about that search.  And I think this meditation course fits into there somewhere.  [Yes, albeit at the risk of getting too Eat Pray Love-y.]

But, I will say, I am freaking out.  Of course, I don’t know what to expect.  And I’m worried I may end up in an insane asylum.  But my biggest fear is failure.  I’m scared I won’t make it.  But “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” right, Wayne Gretzky?  I know I may not make it — I embrace that possibility — but life has taught me that you still gotta for it.  And so I will.

I’m hoping I can walk headfirst through fear and pain and loneliness and boredom and doubt — and emerge on the other side feeling like no other — like the entire world is splayed out before me for the taking.

If that wish comes true, you’ll be hearing from me at 6:30 a.m. on March 10 — and no sooner!

9 Responses to “Ommmmmmmmmmmm… !?”

  1. Audi February 25, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    Oh my goodness! This sounds amazing and terrifying! I know you can do it BUT I can’t imagine you being silent for 240 hours! You’ve got a big mouth with a lot to say! 😉 I can’t wait for the follow up post!! This is the craziest thing you’ve done yet!

    • Lucie February 25, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

      Ahhhhhh! That’s all I have to say.!! Talk lots for me!!

  2. Linsey February 26, 2013 at 1:16 am #

    Libbey!! Oh my god…! So Vera’s stories made you think about doing the same? I can imagine, it sounded like something for the ultimate bucket list! Hilarious, :-)) But most of all, very brave and interesting! Take a deep breath and you are so going to make it! All the best! X Linsey

    • Lucie February 26, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      Linsey! I can’t believe I’m doing this! That night in Pokhara, I was like, this girl is crazzzzzy. Just wait… you’re next, haha!

  3. Anonymous March 1, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    Great article, Lucie!
    I’ve signed up for the week just after you (13 march) and don’t know what to expect from this retreat either…

    Good luck! I hope you enjoy it!


    • Lucie March 10, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Get ready, Jerome… it will be an experience!! Let me know what you think afterwards!



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