Although instruction in jhāna practices will be a vivid element of the retreat, no one should “expect” to enter jhāna, and jhāna is not always the best approach for everyone. At these retreats we cultivate conducive conditions and develop meditative skills—we don’t judge our success by whether or not we actually entered jhāna.
Most participants do not establish stable absorptions in their first or even second ten-day retreat. But nearly all participants report learning a tremendous amount about their minds, and developing deeper concentration than they had previously known. Even very seasoned practitioners report transformative experiences, with or without the attainment of the specific states of jhāna.