Friday, October 07, 2005

Creating A New Retreat

Last night Marisse told me about this 12-day silent retreat she’s attending sometime end of October. The idea behind this completely silent retreat is simple—it’ll force you to learn to really be quiet physically and, more importantly, mentally. Why be mentally still? Silencing your mind means being able to really be in the present, in the now. (Has that ever happened to you, when your mind is just blank and you’re suddenly so aware of everything around you, like your senses are heightened? It happened several times to me already, albeit quite by accident. I’ve always wanted to repeat that experience.) The retreat is designed to teach people to silence their minds at will. Needless to say, I’m intrigued and interested. However, in my workplace 12 days is a long time to go on leave. It’s not impossible but it just takes a bit more explaining and groveling in front of your boss. Unfortunately my stint as an actor used up most of my goodwill points, so I need to behave a bit and fill up my goodwill bank once again before I can ask for such a lengthy leave. I might go to the next retreat scheduled either March or May of 2006.

Meanwhile, last night we had a fun time inventing a new kind of retreat, taking off from that “absolute silence” idea. We came up with a “no seeing” retreat. The philosophy is simple: blindness forced Daredevil’s other senses to be heightened. In the same token, eliminating their sense of sight will force the participants to rely more on their other senses and maximize their usage. The 15-day retreat schedule will look something like this:

4:00 am – gouging of the eyes of each participant
4:30 to 6:30 am –rest and recovery
6:30 to 7:30 am – breakfast
7:30 to 11:00 am – healing and recuperation
11:00 to 12 noon – distribution of walking sticks
12 noon to 1:00 pm – lunch
1:00 to 2:00 pm – siesta
2:00 to 4:00 pm – orientation of the whole retreat venue and hands-on exploration
4:00 to 5:00 pm – sharing
5:00 to 7:00 pm – group exercise: running around the oval while tied to the other participants
7:00 to 8:00 pm – dinner
8:00 to 10:00 pm – 1st talk: Learning to live without sight
10:00 pm – lights out (after this, the lights will never be switched on ever again for the duration of the retreat, so they conserve on electricity)

DAY 2 & 3
Morning and afternoon: Maximize your sense of hearing
Evening: meditation

DAY 4 & 5
Morning and afternoon: Maximize your sense of touch
Evening: meditation

DAY 6 & 7
Morning and afternoon: Maximize your sense of smell
Evening: meditation

DAY 8 & 9
Morning and afternoon: Maximize your sense of taste
Evening: meditation

DAY 10 to 14
Using the rest of your senses: Combat training
Daily evening meditation

DAY 15
Culminating activity: NINJA WAR GAMES (participant vs. participant)

Psychologists will be always on hand to counsel those who will need guidance. Doctors will also be on hand anytime a participant gets an infection in his eye wounds.

Our retreat’s tagline will be simple: Walang atrasan! (No retreating!) Plus we’ll use this copy point: We guarantee you’ll never see the world in the same way again.


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