By: Jean du Plessis

You have to ask the right questions to get the right answers. Don’t assume everyone else’s idea of “meditation” or “retreat” is the same as yours.

These five questions will help you get going

 

Questions you have to ask yourself:

  1. What do I want to achieve with my meditation?
  2. What sort of meditation do I want?
  3. Do I need meditation instruction?
  4. How much yoga and or meditation do I want?
  5. What is the budget for this meditation experience?
  6. Do I want to meditate along with the ocean or the Temples?

What do I want to achieve

This is an important question for several reasons.

The most obvious reason is if all you want to achieve is an hour’s break away from the city noise, dust and hustle then of course you will be looking for a quick getaway. Quick respites from the hustle and bustle are ten-a-penny. On the cheap side? Take a walk out to one of the very grand seven star resort hotels and ask whether you can see the pool and have a drink before you decide to book a room. Spend some quality time meditating in their peaceful garden.

In Siem Reap, for example, Peace Cafe offers free meditation and yoga sessions in the evenings.

However, if what you want to achieve with meditation in Cambodia has anything to do with finding yourself, healing from a hectic life back west, or healing from things specific or general, you have to look for venues that offer facilities for that. You may even look for a facility that specializes in your need. You may not be surprised to know that you are by no means the only person coming to Cambodia in search of meaning, healing and spiritual wellness.

Some retreat centers, such as Wayist Spiritual Energy Center in Siem Reap have experienced counselling professionals on staff and offer several healing therapies.

What sort of meditation do I want

There are many different types of meditation. It is true that meditation centers in the west almost always, upward of 95% of the time, offer only the zazen style typically practiced by advanced Zen practitioners. It is however worth learning from well-versed teachers and explore the other alternatives, many of them much better suited to practitioners who are not resident monks in Zen monasteries.

Do I need instruction

Yes you do. In the west you have most probably never learned the joys inherent in the different meditation techniques. There are not many qualified meditation masters out there, so look carefully and remember, caveat emptor.

However, if you answered no, you don’t need instruction, you simply want to go to a place where you can meditate in peaceful surroundings with other meditators then your choices are more plentiful. In Siem Reap there must be upward of twenty places where you can check in for meditation sessions and most of them will suit your purposes. We are not short of Yoga studios and retreats here. In fact, there are probably more than what is healthy for those who need to make a living providing meditation services. Shop around.

How much yoga and or meditation do I want

Most retreats offer meditation and/or asana yoga in the morning, with an optional session in the evening. Does that suit your needs or do you need more than that. Check out the different programs offered at retreats and yoga centers. In this city, you are sure to find something that will suit your purposes.

What is the budget for this exercise

Expensive retreats start at $700 per day while the average is around $100 per day. Some offer only basics for less, knowing you will most probably buy (and that is up to you) more services so in the end you still pay $100 to $120 per day. The price usually includes some meals. There are many offerings in Siem Reap.

Do I want the ocean or the Temples

Sihanoukville may be unsafe to walk about on your own, but if you book into a retreat and stay on premises you can have a beautiful time enjoying the ocean and a very good retreat facility. Where Sihanoukville has the ocean and the quiet that comes with declining tourism, Siem Reap has the ancient temples and the hustle and bustle that comes with several million people arriving here every year to experience the Temples.