I have often watched documentaries on retreats with the secret yearning of wanting to attend one of these myself one day. They show you the difficulties people have to overcome and the unbelievable transformations of peoples lives that can take place, it is simply amazing.
What you don't actually think about is what it is really like to participate on such a retreat for the whole period, spending every minute there, on the personal journey you have to travel to get to your destination. For anyone thinking of going on a similar retreat this is a great book to read, giving you an insight of what it genuinely feels like to the there, day by day, through the authors writings.
When I first saw this book, for some reason I was immediately pulled towards it and couldn't wait for its arrival. On opening the book two words struck out to me straight away 'inner war'. The description was so clear and so close to home that the book grabbed my attention as soon as it had began.
As well as explaining, in fantastic realistic detail, how living through the whole course felt - through the emotions, the ever so true worries the author felt, the pain and yet the enlightenment she felt, it also explains basic Buddha and meditation methods learnt. These are the parts where you may have to re-read certain pages to fully understand.
For me the main message in the Buddha teaching is that everything in life is impermanent and by not accepting this we create our own problems. "Why agonize over that which is I, me and mine? The body and the mind are mere wavelets of vibration and energy. Egoism is futile because if brings unhappiness, disappointment, frustrations, sorrow, anxieties, and worries. Happiness is to be sought not in the outside world where society judges you, but within the person, where eternal peace, compassion, equanimity, wisdom, joy and moral integrity flourish."
A fascinating read and I have so much respect for the author, travelling through her own journey.