Is the “Wandering Retreat” the most ambitious and craziest course on the 10% Happier meditation app? I say yes!
— Dan Harris (@danbharris) December 30, 2016
Since then, I have been waiting for this release with great excitement! It has arrived and I am overwhelmed with how good it is. The course is heart warming, insightful, pragmatic and frankly a work of art.
The course begins with seeing a little bit of Dan’s work day which is quite fascinating. While a little bit of makeup is artfully applied, he discusses the retreat. As he says, part of the plan is to literally get lost.
Next, I’m seeing a sweet and cute family scene that makes me smile brightly. It transitions to hearing family goodbyes of “Bye Daddy!” and “I love you!” It’s truly touching.
This switches to a funny scene where Jeff and Dan meet and choose where to go. Dan initially suggests a luxury beach retreat! There’s some playful back and forth where the choice is between luxury and the woods. In a lighthearted way, Dan says “Coursing under everything you’re saying is a raging river of like you’re a sissy if you don’t do the latter.” Jeff playfully says “That’s right.” Meeting adversity head on, they chose the woods.
Camp is set up and the day ends with their first meditation. Now, here’s where the app does something truly magical. As opposed to a hard transition from video to recorded meditation, you are led into an experience that goes like this. You’re watching the video, you close your eyes, and then you’re meditating with them in the woods. That is exactly how it feels! Well done!
In the meditation itself there’s a mixture of nature sounds, Jeff’s guiding voice, and what I will describe as the occasional technology related sounds. This demonstrates a great integration of meditation practice with real life. Here there’s equanimity and really just taking it all in.
After the meditation, there’s a funny and insightful followup discussion around the campfire.
Dan doesn’t hold back his innermost thoughts where he has “an embarrassing moment.” Although I don’t want to spoil it by sharing this hilariously funny moment in detail, I don’t think Dan’s going to hell for it.
After their first day, the adventure continues with hiking, swimming and insightful wisdom shared along the way. It’s worth watching the videos multiple times and listening carefully to the wisdom that is shared. Among other things, a great thing that Jeff shares in the “Field Naturalist of the Mind” is:
You’re experiencing your own experience through the only means that you have available which is your own experience.
It’s clever and deep. That might take time to sink in and context is needed. He’s saying this in the context of meaningful and playful exploration that is available by training the mind. What Jeff is sharing throughout the course is practical and pragmatic yet it’s life changing.
Jeff and Dan touch on so much in this short retreat such as pain, equanimity, compassion, and Jeff’s favorite of muditā which Jeff says is “like celebratory joy.” What I especially like is at the end where they deal with “a mathematical impossibility” of logistics that Dan is facing. Will Dan make his meeting? Will Jeff make his flight?
Jeff says he has the perfect meditation for this common ailment titled “Where is a Thought?” The context is to work with the thinking process as it is. It’s extremely useful and I will be using this meditation often!
So, wonder no more. This latest “Wandering Retreat” course is a beautiful gift to the #10PercentHappier community. With humor and beautiful nature scenes throughout, wisdom and practical tips are shared.