Meditation Retreat

"An inner journey" is how Patricia Long, our guide, describes the workshop that eight of us are taking this Sunday. Our goal: spend a few hours surveying the landscape of the mind, trying some experiments in relaxation and balance, and maybe (in the words of Joseph Campbell) glimpsing a "sacred place".

So there are poems by Mary Oliver, including "The Ponds", and by the 13th century Sufi mystic Rumi:

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull
of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.


Getting doors open
one after the other
is the essence of Prayer.
Every door is a passage,
another boundary we have
to go beyond.
We squeeze ourselves through,
and then we go.

And music, both recorded and live. And chanting, "Om Namah Shivaya", to a folk tune accompaniment. And standing in a circle, taking turns mirroring the person beside you, passing spontaneous gestures around the ring.

And most of all, there is sharing. The artist and the Theravada Buddhist computer programmer exchange observations with the international aid worker and the chemist. The musician and the entrepreneur describe what they're feeling to the skeptic and the mother of three young boys. The strength and honesty of the group's experience brings some nearly to tears, scares others, energizes everyone. In Patricia's words, we're being "inspiring, real, authentic, risky."

Or maybe we're just being. Diversity reigns, and it all turns out ok. Among the remarks to remember:

There's not a lot of discussion of technique. The space between thoughts gets a bit larger. We sit or lie on the floor, eyes closed or open, attending to breath or sound or texture. It's rather like a series of physical exercises — different in detail but producing the same ultimate results. There's connection, oneness. There's deliberate nonattachment, letting-go, acceptance without judgment. There's a smörgåsbord of methods, as one workshop participant describes it. Some ways work for some people some of the time. It's all good.

Resonances are strong, especially with:

It was ...

(cf. Core Buddhism, 01, Thoughts Drop, ...) - ^z - 2014-01-28