|An assemblage of shoes outside the meditation hall.|
As there would be no contact with the outside world for the ten days, the hours leading up to the retreat felt as though I was preparing for my impending death. There would be no connection with friends or family; we had to surrender our phones and laptops. In fact, we had to surrender all electronics -- cameras, eBook readers, iPods. All matters needed to be tidied up in advance; all final communications had to be made, and all final electronic pleasures had to be enjoyed.