What is Insight Meditation?

Insight  (also known as Vipassana) Meditation is an easily accessible way to free the mind from the distortions of self-centeredness, craving, negativity, and confusion. Through focused and collected awareness we come to see that our experience is a constantly changing process in which all aspects of life can be accepted with increasing balance and equanimity. These insights lead to the possibility of living each moment fully with goodwill and compassion and with freedom from unsatisfactoriness and suffering.

Beginning with the focusing of attention on the breath, the practice concentrates and calms the mind. It allows us to see through the mind’s habits and conditioning, helping us to live more fully present in the moment. Vipassana is appropriate for people involved in any spiritual tradition, as well as those who ascribe to none.  People of many beliefs and faith backgrounds, or none, have found the practices to be helpful in coming to live their lives with more immediacy and ease.

Insight Meditation teachings and practices are derived from the teachings and practices of the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Depending on the theme of the retreat and the teaching, more or less emphasis may be placed on the Buddhist teachings. The point of sharing the Buddhist teachings is as a practical guide for coming to live with more ease and equanimity.

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Will I need to bring sheets and towels?

No, the retreat centre will provide these. 

What do the Retreat Fees Cover?

Fees cover teacher travel and room and board expenses as well as facility rental, insurance, advertising expenses and other related costs. They also include  the cost of your lodging and meals.

Fees do not cover any donations  to the teacher for her teachings and practice guidance at the retreat. Near the end of the retreat, retreatants are offered an opportunity to financially support the teacher through a gift or donation which in the Pali language is called dana (pronounced dah-nuh). We hope you will support Shaila but there is no expected amount and dana is completely voluntary.  You can learn more about dana here. 

Will I receive more information after I register?

You will receive detailed information about the retreat, what to bring, when to arrive, etc. when your on-line registration is completed with your payment. Please check your junk email folder to see if it was sorted there. If you can’t locate it, please  contact the registrar to request another copy.

What is a Retreat Like?

The retreat begins with registration at 3:00 pm on Monday, June 17, and ends at 11:00 am on Sunday, June 23.  Retreats follow a typical daily schedule that starts at 6:30 am and ends at 9:30pm. The day is spent in silent practice comprising alternate periods of sitting and walking meditation. Three meals are served – breakfast, lunch and a light dinner. 

Each day offers:

  • Meditation Instruction sessions 
  • Group Sitting Meditation
  • Walking Practice 
  • Question and answer sessions

Comprehensive meditation instructions and talks about the teachings are offered daily. In addition, individual or group interviews with the teacher take place at regular intervals. 

More on what to expect at a retreat

What to Bring.

There are two mottos for clothing during your retreat: "Be Prepared" and "Be Comfortable".  Weather in Calgary is seasonal and extremely variable, so we recommend that you come well prepared, with clothing selected for comfort rather than style. 

For walking outside, we suggest you bring a pair of walking shoes. As your meditation practice deepens, cool weather may affect you more than usual. Even for indoor wear, you may appreciate long underwear, light gloves, a cap or scarf, warm sweaters or a shawl, and heavy socks. Please do not bring clothing in noise-making, rustling fabrics such as nylon.

For your comfort be sure to bring loose fitting sweat suits or other kinds of clothing that allow you to sit with ease. Also please bring at least one pair of slippers or indoor-only shoes - this helps contribute to the silence and overall cleanliness of our retreat environment.

Please bring a sufficient supply of clothing to last the duration of your course as there are no laundry facilities

We ask that you anticipate your needs and bring unscented soap, body lotion and other hygiene products with you as well as reading glasses, hearing aids and extra batteries and an alarm clock. 

Please bring your own meditation cushion or bench. Chairs are available for those who cannot sit on a cushion. Please bring any extra meditation props you may need, such as additional cushions, a meditation stool, a shawl or throw rug.

You may want to bring cash, cheques or a credit card for teacher donations/dana. 

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