Location: Hope Rehab Thailand Meditation Room or Online via Insight Timer
Time: 8:00 pm 31st December, 2015 to 8:00 am 1st January, 2016 (Thai Time – GMT + 7)
Start the Year as You Mean to Go On
“It must have been a fantastic New Year’s Eve party because I can’t remember a bloody thing”
If ‘recovery’ means anything, it is about changing the way I do things. I once associated New Year’s Eve with getting completely wasted – I judged how ‘fun’ the night was by how drunk/high I managed to get. This way of doing things was no longer possible once I gave up alcohol. Instead, I began the tradition of meditating a few hours before and after the clocks struck midnight. This is a far more rewarding way for me to experience this special time, and it means I start the year as I mean to go on.
New Year’s Eve can be a tricky time for people in recovery as long as they associate it with drinking or using. Our meditation retreat is a way for you to reclaim this festival – a way to establish new associations in your brain.
How to Hope Meditation Retreat Works
There will only be a few of us meditating for the full 12 hours.
• Clients who are still in their first month at Hope are welcome to join us for the first and last hour of the retreat.
• Clients in the second month can meditate for the first 90 minutes and last hour of the retreat.
• Stage 3 clients (volunteers and clients at the sober house) are encouraged to meditate from 8pm until midnight and join us again for the last hour
• Clients using the Insight Timer at home are welcome to meditate along with us at any time during the retreat
Get Paid to Meditate!
Okay, maybe ‘paid’ is the wrong word, but Hope Rehab is going to donate at least US $0.01 to charity for every minute of meditation completed during the retreat – this includes ex-clients who join us using the Insight Timer (see below).
Join Our Retreat on Insight Timer
Even if you have completed your treatment at Hope, you can still join us for our New Year meditation retreat. You can do this through the insight timer app (IOS and Android). We have a private group on there, and I will add you once you ‘friend’ me. You will then be able to meditate along with us.
You join the Hope Rehab Thailand group on Insight Timer by:
• Choose ‘Insight Connect’ on the main screen
• Choose ‘Menu’
• Choose ‘Find Friends’
• Type ‘Paul Garrigan’
• Choose to add me as a friend
Once we have connected, I will then be able to add you to the Hope Rehab Insight Timer Group.
We will donate US $0.01 to charity for every minute of meditation you complete between 8:00 pm 31st December 2015 and 8:00am 1st January 2016 (Thai Time).
A Peaceful Way to Greet the New Year
Our first meditation retreat at Hope Rehab took place on New Year’s Eve. A good turnout of clients, staff, and volunteers sat together in the Hope meditation room, and we were also joined by a few ex-clients who were using the Insight Timer app – together we meditated for a total of 2,760 minutes.
It was inspiring to see new clients get in the spirit of the retreat. Sitting still for even a few minutes can be torture for those of us still adjusting to life without drugs, yet we had new people meditating for three hours (and more) on New Year’s Eve! The original plan was for clients in their first month to only join us for the first hour, yet most decided to stay for much longer than this. It was there participation that made this event feel special, and I felt humbled by it.
The New Year’s Meditation retreat kicked off at 6:30pm with Alon leading us through a candlelight meditation. All the lights were turned off in the meditation room, and there was a magical feeling to it. Afterwards, Alon took everyone outside so they could release sky lanterns (khom loi/??????) – the idea is to inscribe your worries or aspirations onto the sky lantern and then release it into the sky.
In the second hour, I led the class through a guided metta meditation, and we followed this with some gentle qigong. We then managed about twenty minutes of chanting together using the words ‘ohm mani padme hum’ – a Sanskrit chant designed to help us develop compassion. After this, we were all free to just meditate whatever way we liked – most of us used a combination of sitting followed by walking meditation.
I meditated right through until 8am New Year’s Day. Most clients and staff stayed until after 9pm, and there were people returning to the meditation room for more right up until 2am (well done Adam).
Meditating for Charity
One of the signs that meditation is working its magic on us is that we become noticeably kinder and more compassionate – it’s one of the long-term gifts of the practice. We had decided before the retreat to be a bit more direct in this cultivation of kindness by donating money to charity based on the number of minutes we meditated.
Our combined meditation time was 2,760 minutes. Simon Mott has rounded this off to 3,000 THB which we are going to donate to a local dog charity – The Soi Dog Foundation. Well done everyone for creating this small gift to a good cause.
Our first meditation retreat at Hope was a success, so you can probably expect more of these in the future. It would be nice to make the New Year’s Eve retreat an annual thing
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