Owner and President of Authentic Body Therapy, Brandon Jellison, recently completed a 9-day retreat in the beautiful green mountains of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Karmê Chöling, a Shambhala Buddhist meditation retreat center and community in Barnet, Vermont. Karmê Chöling offers contemplation programs to inspire wisdom and compassion in our everyday lives. Accommodations include elegant meditation halls, an abundant organic garden and an idyllic setting to explore what it means to be fully human while deepening your connection to the earth, yourself and society.

 We sat down with Brandon to learn about his experience and how he prepared for the 9-day retreat, unplugged from technology and the outside world.

How did you prepare yourself? 

I have studied Tibetan Buddhism for about 18-years to develop the level of understanding that layers on top with each program retreat. This program was focused on the highest teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, the quintessential instructions. Before I left for the retreat, I focused on cleaning-house, so to speak. Organizing myself in the best way possible – cleaning up emails, organizing the house, communicating with my support team to tie up any loose ends. For me this preparation helps to support relaxation and having a trusted support system helps to take away any worries which lends to remaining in the moment and in the experience while on retreat.

What was the experience like?

Karmê Chöling is a beautiful space with gardens, fresh organic food, homemade bread. About 120 people from around the world attended this specific retreat. Our teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche created a very warm and kind atmosphere. It’s interesting to notice the pattern of people becoming nicer and nicer, which speaks to the experience and lineage of the teacher.

How was it being unplugged from technology?

The first couple days of being away, you can’t help but have a knee jerk reaction to check your phone or computer, realizing just how strong those habits are in each of us. And then re-entering into the technology again after the retreat makes you more mindful about using technology to communicate and get things done. Thinking about when tasks are done not lingering too long on the technology, staying in the driver’s seat, not letting the technology indulge you. Thinking about it as having one serving of ice cream, not the whole container. For me, it was about coming back from retreat and having a healthy relationship to the technology, the same kind of relationship we strive to have with food.

For more information, visit https://www.karmecholing.org/.