In this tutorial, I will explain how to set up the call for The Home Practice Program with Shinzen Young. The Home Practice Program is a phone-based (no video!) retreat consisting of five four-hour sessions.
One four-hour session has the following structure. Times may vary for your particular session.
PART 1 (Approx. 1 hour 30 minutes)
- 9:50-10:00 am Pacific / 12:50-1:00 pm Eastern
Join the conference using the call-in number and access code for Part 1
- 10:00-11:30 am Pacific / 1:00-2:30 pm Eastern
Instruction / Guided Meditation / Possible Q+A
SELF PRACTICE (Approx. 1 hour)
- 11:30 am-12:30 pm Pacific / 2:30-3:30 pm Eastern
Possibilities: Bio Break / Practice in Motion / Interview with Shinzen
(Shinzen will exit the conference call and be available for anyone to call directly with questions about their experience. Please keep in mind that he may not have very long to spend with each caller. Shinzen is in Tucson and can be reached at (802) 310-9454.)
PART 2 (Approx 1 hour 30 minutes)
- Rejoin by 12:30 pm Pacific / 3:30 pm Eastern
Join the conference using the call-in number and access code for Part 2
- 12:30-1:00 pm Pacific / 3:30-4:00 pm Eastern
- 1:00-2:00 pm Pacific / 4:00-5:00 pm Eastern
Final Guided Meditation
Setting up the call was confusing to me at first, especially because I would call from Germany. They talked about some FreeHD Phone and you would have to call this free number, and then give that code, but how one should watch out for fees. I eventually figured it out. Here, I will explain how to participate from outside the US from the countries on this list, but also mention instructions for people within the US.
What you need:
- A phone, preferably a smartphone
- a phone plan
- optional, but saves you money: a phone plan which gives you unlimited minutes to call a number within your country
- optional: the Skype app to call Shinzen during the break
- optional: Internet connection
You will be using the free service of the website www.freeconferencecallhd.com/, but this isn’t very important to you, because you don’t have to sign up or anything. All you need to know is that, on your (smart)phone, you just call a certain number depending on the country you’re in. The list for that is given here. I am from Germany, so I called the number +49 69 1200650760 on my phone. If you’re from the US, you’d call +1 712 770-4160. Note, that all you need is a phone plan for your own country. You don’t need an expensive international plan.
When you called that number correctly, there will be a prompt to type in an access code. The access codes were provided to me via email about a day before the retreat. Since each session is structured in a 1.5 h call (part 1), 1 h break for self-practice (you’re not on the phone), and again 1.5 h call (part 2), there will be two access codes. Don’t worry about “using up“ the codes, they are functioning more like an address.
That’s pretty much it!
EDIT: In response to this post, u/TetrisMcKenna on Reddit mentioned that there is also a free Android app and iOS app offered by Free Conference Call HD with which you can call over WiFi. So you don’t even need a phone plan, but you can also use WiFi alternatively.
The line will be open to call about 10 minutes before it starts. I recommend calling 5 minutes before it starts, because there is no reason to wait much longer. In those 10 minutes before the session, the participants weren’t muted, so pretty much you could hear some noise, there were people saying Hi and a lady announcing that this was the Home Practice Program. Then, just in time, Shinzen joined and everyone but him was muted for the rest of the session, except for the Q&A parts, when everyone but him and the questioner were muted. So when during the guided meditations, there is absolute silence (no background noise from Shinzen either), except when he’s talking.
One more thing:
During the break, there is the option to call Shinzen directly to ask questions about any aspect of practice without having everyone else listen to it. In the email, it said, “Shinzen is in Tucson and can be reached at (802) 310-9454“. This is a US number! So anyone outside of the US needs to find a way how to call there with their phone plan. In my case, my carrier didn’t even offer an international plan, so I decided to use Skype. They offer plans for international calls to certain countries.
I just needed to call from Germany to the US, so I chose the following option:
It’s only about $4 and if you chose Visa, then first month is for free. (For whatever reason, if you choose any other payment method, like PayPal, then you don’t have the free trial month.)
Then you only need the Skype app and you dial that international number and it will work!
Unfortunately, in my case, I wasn’t able to reach Shinzen, probably because there were too many people calling him during that hour. They didn’t announce how many people were participating in the call, so I cannot tell you, what your chances are.
In any case, I hope you found this tutorial useful. If there are any remaining questions, leave a comment and I will address them to the best of my ability.