"Just let things be, just as they are." --Evie Chauncey, Assistant Teacher at the NW Vipassana Center
Whew! It's good to be home. My intention was to start blogging immediately upon my return, sharing all the insights and inspiration from my latest ten-day retreat, but The Universe had other plans....
If I recall correctly, last year it took me a few days to "plug back in" also and I had a hard time writing about the experience. Oh how I wish I had now.
Last year is, in my mind, a lovely memory of a week of great peace and discovery and ultimately, a greater awakening. The things I remembered were the food (delicious!), the walks (peaceful), the naps (also delicious).
The harder things are fuzzier in my mind: the early rising (4:00am), the hours of sitting with your legs crossed (painful), and the mind-numbing boredom that sometimes creeps in after 90 minutes (or sometimes 9) minutes of meditation.
This year was harder. Much harder.
Not being new to the technique I did not have as much to learn and I did not find every nuance so fascinating. I knew what was coming - that after one whole day (10 plus hours) of observing our respiration, we still had ten more hours of that to go before we moved on. Having experienced it all before I just wasn't as excited about the whole thing.
In fact, there were days - a few of them - on which I just wanted to get the heck out of there. I wanted to hop the fence, somehow start my car without the key (like I know how to do that :p) and drive away, leaving all of my things behind.
But I didn't. I stuck it out and tried to work through it. And I guess I did, but it wasn't pretty. And it isn't something I can automatically say I want to repeat. I WANT to want to go back next year, but I'm just not sure I'm going to want to.
Ironically, I came back with even more quotes, ideas and insights than last year. So, watch this space if you are interested in hearing more.
In the meantime, be well.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
"The precondition to sensitivity is stillness. In the same way that a pond on a still day will visibly register the smallest insect alighting on its surface, but on a windy day it won't, our ability to feel the whole is directly proportional to our ability to become still within ourselves." --Phillip Shepherd
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
"Breath is the power behind all things. Your breath doesn't know how old you are; it doesn't know what you can't do. If I'm feeling puzzled or my mind is telling me that I'm not capable of something, I breathe in and know that good things will happen." --Tao Porchon-Lynch (a 94-year-old yoga instructor)
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Friday, November 8, 2013
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
"If there is no peace in the mind...how can there be peace in the world?" --S.N. Goenka
Last year at about this time I went on my first 10-day silent meditation retreat at the NW Vipassana Center. When I came back, I knew I wanted to go again. And that time has come.
I leave today for another ten days.
Last year I was a bit nervous and unsure. This time, I am excited. I know what to expect and what will be expected of me. And I am ready.
I can't wait to sit in meditation for most of my waking hours. To walk in silence for all of them. And to be free from the constant barrage of mind-thoughts that I am subject to each day.
I look forward to oatmeal and stewed fruit for breakfast every day. To the delicious vegetarian lunch. And nothing but a cup of tea for dinner.
I know that there will be new things too. New ideas. New discomforts. New fears. I look forward to these as well.
While I am gone I will be posting one meditation quote every day to inspire your practice. I hope you will enjoy these words of wisdom.
I'll see you on the other side.
Monday, November 4, 2013
"There shouldn't be a leash on life." --Tess
On Halloween my son invited one of his new middle school friends over to Trick or Treat with us. She is a delightful girl - warm. open, chatty and wicked smart.
I was cutting up apples for their snack and she asked if she could have some peanut butter to go with them. "It doesn't have to be much," she said, "My mom limits me to one tablespoon because she says I'll eat all the peanut butter."
She paused and then spoke words of wisdom I wish I had known when I was her age:
"But why not eat all the peanut butter? There shouldn't be a leash on life."
Ah-h-h-h. It was a deep-breath moment for me. I just stood still and breathed in the truth of these words and the truth that they had been missing from my world-view for far longer than was good for me.
I know it is time for me to start living without a leash. Cassie (see above) couldn't agree more. Thanks Tess!