Chant, Sit, Walk, Sit, Eat, Sit, Walk, Sit, Walk, Sit, Yoga, Sit, Walk, Sit, Eat, ROTA, Sit, Walk, Sit, Walk, Sit, Chant, Tea, Sit, Dharma Talk, Sit, Eat, Sit, Chant, Study, Sleep, Repeat.
Heading into retreat, I was asked by many people before leaving what I was expecting to get out of a meditation retreat. When I sat to think about it, some thoughts that popped into mind were I'm looking for quiet, I'm looking for relief of suffering, I'm looking for structure, I'm looking for help, I'm looking for something new to learn.
Now that I am back home and beginning to digest, some of that holds true. And a whole lot more interpersonal dialogue is swirling. I wrote out nearly 25 pages worth of notes and journaling.
This weekthün (Natural Confidence retreat) was an opportunity to learn mindfulness-awareness beyond the cushion where every aspect of daily life becomes part of the mindful discipline of rediscovering the present moment and our own heart and mind. I had an a-ha moment of this awakening to the present moment early on while we were aimlessly wandering around the land. Walking into an open pasture, there was a single pine cone. I lowered myself to the ground, to connect with nature. Picking up and rolling it between my palms, I could feel it's texture. I ran my fingers along the individual ridges of its shell. Closing my eyes, I brought it up to my nose. The beautiful scent running through my whole body. Placing the pine cone down, there was sap residue left on my hands so I slid my fingers along single blades of grass still covered dew. This brief encounter with nature awakened all my senses, brought me into the present moment where my heart and mind were in complete harmony.
One of the major themes that was presented was cultivating basic goodness and how that begins with us. We must take to our cushion to discover our true nature in order to take to the streets to help change the world. The thought is that what we do today can effect the next 200-300 years. After the year our country has endured with mass shootings, racial tensions with law enforcement, results of political elections, it seems like many people are motivated one way or another to act. And I too will find my own ways to play a more active role in creating change.
But there was a moment I had while sitting on the cushion that this idea of what happens today effects many years in the future. I thought about Granny Bruck. Her name and stories are being shared five generations after her death and will continue to live on. The impact Granny left on our family is so deeply embedded, that what she did back then plays a role in who we are and what we do many years later.
There is a whole lot more I will share about my experience on retreat. But I am still just a few days removed and have reflection and digestion of thoughts, feelings and experiences to sit with.
Until next time- be well.