In order to create the preliminary conditions that facilitate our access to deep inner states, mental peace, and aspiration toward the Divine, it is necessary that certain rules be strictly followed for the duration of the retreat. We ask that you follow these Silent Meditation Retreat Guidelines.
These rules aim to create certain conditions that would resemble those of experiences in solitude. The retreat atmosphere has been evaluated carefully as to how it can best support the attendees’ spiritual and emotional growth efforts.
The rules are part of this support. All hopeful participants must agree to abide by these guidelines and the consequences of noncompliance.
Hemingway Hypnosis Meditation Retreat Guidelines
1. Voluntary Restraint
A meditation retreat is an extraordinary situation (although meditation is actually perfectly normal). A group of people live together in very simple conditions while relating to each other in a completely new way. Here, we relate through the common experience of meditation, with all its pains and joys, discoveries and frustrations.
For 3 days, our lifestyle is built around a common purpose rather than more selfish purposes promoted by the world today. Each participant will be expected to contribute to the good of the group by assisting in cooking or clean-up efforts. Each participant will be responsible for the cleanliness of their own area and keeping the public spaces orderly and free of personal clutter.
To accomplish this in harmony, we must agree on certain conventions. The most important are mindful silence, giving way to others, sticking to the schedule, and following instructions.
This retreat is arranged as a serious opportunity for aspirants who wish for a special and exclusive retreat experience. Please approach these guidelines with this frame of mind, with an openness toward protecting and supporting this atmosphere through your own agreement and cooperation. If you at first glance feel that the guidelines are too strict or too difficult for you, first consider your own state of readiness to participate. If you do indeed feel ready, then inspire yourself with the understanding that this retreat lasts just a few days in the big picture of life!
Silence is compulsory. The period of silence will begin after the noon Meditation on Friday, and will end after the noon meditation on Saturday. Absolutely no talking by participants will be allowed. For real necessities, please inform the Retreat Coordinator in writing of any problems.
Much energy and ego go into our speech. We say things that don’t need to be said, are silly, gossipy, or even harmful. This not only makes the world noisy, it makes our own mind noisy. If there is nobody to talk to we just chatter away to ourselves. In meditation, this can be an annoying hindrance.
So we keep silent by not speaking or passing notes to each other during the retreat, in order to quiet our mind and maintain a quiet, peaceful environment for everyone. This can be difficult at times, but most people find it a powerful and wonderful experience. Many people travel from far away to this retreat because they cherish this silence, so we respect each other by maintaining the silence with mindfulness and wisdom. Even training ourselves to walk, move, and do things quietly leads to a calm and graceful experience.
It is also important not to judge or project opinions onto others. Developing self-discipline and a compassionate understanding of all things is part of the training. During all times of the retreat speaking should be kept to a minimum and only focusing on positive interactions. All attempts for individual comfort will be attended to with the understanding that we are all here for growth and peace. There will be zero tolerance for complaining or gossip.
3. No Use of Any Electronics or Media
Retreat participants are asked not to use CD players, MP3 players, radios, TVs, DVD players, the Internet, or computers for the duration of the retreat. Thus, there is to be no listening to the news or music, texting, doing email, watching movies, etc.
4. Mobile Phones
No use of mobile phones is allowed during the retreat. They will be left in the office and off for the retreats duration. Participants should make a firm commitment not to use the phone for conversations, text messages, etc., for the duration of the retreat. In case of real emergency the Hemingway Hypnosis number should be contacted. 321-698-8242
Reading is not allowed during the 24 hours of silence, not even of books of a spiritual nature. Please agree not to read during the silent hours this retreat. Through the silence practice, we aim to focus inward as much as possible, and reading can lead us away from strong interiorization, diffusing our efforts and experience in the process.
Keeping silent includes putting away books you’ve brought along or keeping them closed throughout the 24 hours of Silence. You will get plenty of information while you are on the retreat. Reading will be a distraction, possibly taking you away from the purpose of the silent time. We also request that you stop writing, except for notes and impressions of meditative experiences that you may record in your retreat journal. Letter writing and creative writing will take the mind away from our purpose here.
Reading of Spiritual books can be done, during free time, the rest of the retreat.
6. Sexual Abstinence
Sexual abstinence is mandatory. This really means celibacy. This point is obviously non-enforceable (we cannot check on you, of course), but is insisted upon to reinforce the atmosphere resembling solitude that we are attempting to create for participants.
If you wish to join the retreat, please agree to abide by this requirement for the duration of the retreat.
7. Recommendation about Meals
Fasting is not recommended for the entire duration of the retreat, in order to maintain a high level of vitality and energy for meditation. Organic, healthy lacto-ovo-vegetarian meals and snacks will be provided. Each participant will be expected to help with meals and clean-up. Specific day ‘chore assignments’ will be made.
8. An Attitude of Solitude during Time of Silence
It is recommended that you aim to cultivate a state of experience resembling solitude by agreeing not to: look at others, touch, hug, kiss, say hello (even nonverbally), smile at each other, etc. This can at times feel alienating and lonely for people who are very sociable and miss such simple human contact, but it will drastically help your experience of interiorization. In addition, the opening of the soul will offer you the opportunity to communicate in a much subtler way, through the language of Love. Your friends will still love you at the end of the retreat, maybe even more ….
Participants should try to avoid attention to their own vanity and the desire to attract others. The way in which both women and men dress should be in accordance with common sense. We recommend that you wear all black or all white clothing, that is comfortable for yoga and meditation. Additionally, please wear minimal makeup and no perfume.
The dress recommendation is not meant to stifle your creativity, free expression, etc. It is meant to form part of the atmosphere of consideration and mutual support we aim to cultivate during retreats. People could take the view that it is someone’s own personal problem if he or she is distracted from meditation by glances at other people, etc. However, this does not include an opportunity for a contribution of personal responsibility to this atmosphere through innocuous and simple behaviors we can all follow to help our fellow retreat attendees.
It is not allowed to smoke during this retreat. Please commit to not smoking for the duration of these 3 days if you intend to join.
11. Meditation Notebook
It is recommended that participants record their meditative and daily experiences in a notebook. This retreat journal can help you not only to push through any challenging moments but can serve to inspire you and provide a point of reference for your growth during the retreat period. A meditation notebook helps us to objectify our experiences and what we understand during meditation. It can bring inspiration to us even after the retreat. Reading it afterwards can be a powerful support in daily life.
12. Following the Schedule
The schedule we follow is very moderate compared to some meditation retreats which start the day before dawn. The day includes approximately 6-6.5 hours of meditation, 2 hours of Yoga practice, and 2-2.5 hours of inspiring spiritual talks or Q&A.
Please agree to join all sessions and activities of the retreat if you will sign up for it.
13. Being Late
Everyone must be on time for all spiritual activities, as lateness is very disruptive and latecomers will not be allowed to join until the next session. Please plan accordingly.
If you find yourself late for a meditation session, please do not sneak into the room in the hopes that you will not be noticed or will not disturb others. Instead, please be considerate and wait without any undue noise, meditating outside the room during the session and entering only during the next break.
14. Warnings and Expulsion from the Retreat
Please be advised that certain actions constitute grounds for expulsion from the retreat. The following actions will constitute grounds for a warning:
- Absence from a retreat session
- Being late to a retreat session
- Talking, making other sounds, or being generally disruptive
- Listening to music, news, sending text messages, or talking on the phone
- Causing any sort of negative feelings towards those in attendance
- Disregard for any other of the above-mentioned rules
We would like to re-emphasize that the retreat guidelines must be followed, for the benefit of all participants. Consider carefully before joining whether you truly accept the parameters of the retreat and its rules. If a person has already received two warnings, he or she will be asked to leave without hesitation or negotiation after the third infraction of the rules. No refunds will be given for those who choose to leave or are asked to leave.
In exceptional cases, a very disruptive participant failing to abide by the rules and requirements may be told to leave without the benefit of several warnings. In such cases, when the participant is willing to follow the rules, he or she may be welcome to return. Such decisions will be made solely at the discretion of the Retreat Leader and are non-negotiable.
Florida is a semi-tropical climate and often the weather is hot or humid, especially during daylight hours. Inside the meditation rooms, we will keep the fans on at all appropriate times.
Some people love to be near a fan and others do not enjoy them at all. Please, if you are someone who does not like fans, sit in an area where the wind from fans does not reach you. There are plenty of such areas, especially in the back of the room. In this way, everyone can be comfortable.
We welcome you to this exceptional retreat and hope you will choose to be patient and open. The silent days, as anyone who has done a meditation retreat knows, can be full of restlessness, muscular fever and aches, physical and mental purification, and various spiritual tests. We invite you to commit yourself fully to this retreat, to stay firm and double your resolve in the face of such challenges. Try to make this event a very special opportunity for your spiritual evolution!
May the Sacred Tremor of the Heart enlighten our lives!