I have always wanted to attend a Vipassana retreat. For those who don’t know what that is, here’s a brief summary - Vipassana retreat is a 10-day retreat where you go to a dedicated venue, mostly somewhere quiet and full of nature, and participate in guided meditations for all of the 10 days. During the entire duration of this retreat, you are entirely cut off from the outside world. No phones, no internet access, not even a courier pigeon. Making things even harsh is the fact that you are not even allowed to speak to fellow meditators. Apart from a few conversations that you can have with your mentor you are not even supposed to make eye contact with fellow retreat goers. Did I tell you you wake up super early and aren’t even allowed books? Sounds interesting, doesn’t it!
I won’t go into any more details of Vipassana because that is not the primary purpose of this write-up. For all intents and purposes, Vipassana is a good placeholder for any activity that keeps you unavailable and entirely inaccessible to your work, family, and friends in an absolute sense.
So here’s the Vipassana test - Do you think you can afford to attend a Vipassana session today?
Just so we are clear, affordance here does not mean if you can bear the menial costs that the meditation organizers charge you. Nope.
Can you afford to be away from your work for 10 days without it causing significant harm to your work or your career?
No matter whether you are self-employed or working for someone else, if your response is NO, I can’t even imagine taking a 10-day break with no access to emails then I need you to ask yourself -is this really where you want to be in your professional life. If not, what are you doing to reach a place where this answer becomes an unequivocal yes. Remember it is not about a specific retreat or activity. It is about your ability to take time for yourself without worrying about the consequences.
If your answer is a YES, I am happy for you and envy you that you are in a position that you can reclaim your time whenever you want. This is where I too want to be in my life.
There is a special No which I feel would be the worse situation for anyone to be in. That answer is ‘Yes I can comfortably go for a 10-day retreat without it adversely affecting my deliverables but I fear that my employer might realize the same. I do not know them to know that nothing changes for them whether I work or not”.
So! How do you fare on the Vipassana test?
I have made a quick 2 question survey where you can anonymously tell me the answer.
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