I had a wonderful opportunity to ring in 2013 by participating in a ten day silent Vipassana retreat near Barrie. What a great way to start a year with that mindset–to observe things objectively within the framework of impermanence. It was symbolic to start the retreat on a boxing day, a symbol of material indulgence, and continue the silence and meditation for the next ten days. The schedule was monkish. One wakes up at 4 am to start the day and practice the technique for ten hours each day.
Getting acclimatised to this schedule suited to the lifestyle of a monk or nun is little challenging for a householder. However, with grit and determination, one gets used to this new life-style. Food is minimal and rightly so. One does not need much food to just sit and observe one’s breath and sensations.
The whole experience was transformational, in a sense that one gets to experience the law of impermanence through the emotions and sensations as they arise in the body. I am looking forward to partake in that silence again.