This entry was posted on July 31, 2020.
Since 2014, my companion and I’ve participated in an 18-day metta / perception meditation retreat on the Spirit Rock Meditation Center each July. We signed up once more final February, however everyone knows what occurred in March 2020.
Like so many traditions, together with my annual journey to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the meditation retreat shouldn't be. The withdrawal has turn into a touchstone for my companion and me. It is a time to take a trip from our every day routine and take a much-needed laptop and information break. But Spirit Rock can under no circumstances assure the security of the 100+ contributors.
After the rejection, I spent a number of weeks in disappointment. Then my companion had an thought. Why don't we make our personal retreat at house?
Why not? Well, at first I puzzled if we might have the ability to persist with the strict every day schedule – eight sitting workout routines alternating with seven strolling workout routines – with out the motivation to apply with a gaggle. Plus, if we acquired a hook, we wouldn't have an opportunity to speak to academics. Still, the thought was fascinating. That is why we now have dedicated ourselves to carry an eleven-day silent meditation retreat collectively and to make use of my front room as a meditation room.
We moved some furnishings and put our meditation cushions the place we left them for everlasting. We have chosen our "greatest hits" of meditation directions and Dharma talks from previous retreats to hearken to within the morning and night. And I made an in depth plan for an intensive lunch day-after-day. We have been alone for the opposite meals.
How is a self meditation retreat totally different?
As with something, practising at house had advantages together with issues that have been more difficult. Some facets had somewhat little bit of each. Here are a number of the issues I discovered:
- Entrance and exit went extra easily. Preparing to depart house for an prolonged retreat will not be a simple job. You must anticipate all the main points of life that may result in psychological drama in your apply. For instance, I prepay payments, rent cat sitters, make certain my yard can survive the July warmth, rent a buddy to toss the majority of my incoming emails, and maintain doing my typing and enhancing jobs. and so forth. Inevitably, the weeks earlier than departure are maddening. This frenzy may be very evident in my physique within the early days of a retreat. Since my preparation duty was a lot much less this time, I didn’t expertise the standard bodily restlessness. Plus, ultimately, I didn't have to barter a crowded airport. I've already been house
- I actually take pleasure in cooking, however I REALLY respect it when others carry this psychological workload. But the psychological power I needed to expend – determining what to do when, which meditations to overlook or interrupt, and so forth. – made me so grateful for all of the work that’s being executed behind the scenes on the middle. It is a pleasure to go to the eating room and luxuriate in a scrumptious, wholesome meal that I didn't must plan out. However, together with meals preparation in a meditation retreat was an invite to apply aware residing.
- Just a day of meditation makes a distinction. Marcel Proust wrote: "The true journey of discovery does not consist in looking for new landscapes, but in having new eyes." On the second day of our retreat, I took my ordinary brisk stroll round my neighborhood. Even after a single day of stable apply, the acquainted panorama of my every day route felt extra alive and magical. When I draw back it's straightforward to consider that nothing is occurring, that you just aren't actually altering. This is as a result of the settlement course of is gradual and you’re in an unfamiliar setting. But my every day stroll confirmed me how a lot had modified for me in a single day.
- I didn't have any issues sticking to the schedule. Despite my fears, I felt no compulsion to "cheat".
- Meditating with cats was a pleasure. While you would possibly suppose that having a cat in your lap whereas sitting might be a distraction, it actually wasn't. Most of the time they only needed to be within the room with us, however often they needed lap time. It was a fond reminiscence to understand her light affections.
- Running errands was actually enjoyable. I knew from the beginning that I needed to make a journey to the grocery retailer. Some of the recent produce I wanted for later meals didn't final per week within the fridge. Also, my fridge isn't sufficiently big to carry meals for 11 days. I’ve deliberate the journey for the fifth day. Little did I do know that I must make two extra journeys. On the third day I observed that my yard cabbage was being destroyed by aphids. The subsequent day I purchased some ladybugs. Then one in every of my irrigation hoses developed a foot-length reduce. So I went to the backyard store. While one would possibly suppose these worldly errands would really feel like an uncomfortable distraction, they really identified to me how a lot equanimity I had developed over the previous few days of meditation.
- You don't must go away to seek out the tranquility of a meditation retreat. In principle, in fact, I knew that. But experiencing it for your self was additional affirmation of the dedication I made to this apply greater than 30 years in the past. The silence and equanimity I skilled at house aren’t any much less profound.
- A very highly effective perception wouldn’t have occurred wherever else. My mom was a nationally acknowledged watercolor artist. Your footage line the partitions of my home. One day whereas I used to be going inside and doing metta, I saved coming throughout one in every of her work that was at one finish of my sidewalk. I ended to look rigorously and within the room of kindness. When my mom handed away in 2009, I developed a way of connection, deep appreciation and love that impressed me to take have a look at all of her footage in my home. I took in each affected person and brushstroke skilled and was inundated with their depths of knowledge, light humor and tireless integrity. These footage are the essence of my mom. As lengthy as I’m in her presence, I’m additionally in her.
If COVID is underneath management by subsequent summer time I’ll undoubtedly be signing up for a California retreat once more. Would I do one other self-meditation retreat? Absolutely. I'm already eager about planning shorter ones regularly. Now that I've seen the worth of an prolonged meditation retreat at house, I stay up for extra meditative stays.
About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and commenced educating in 1986. Charlotte is the writer of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide to Daily Practice, printed by Rodmell Press. Her second e book, Yoga for Meditators (Rodmell Press), was printed in May 2012. She writes a month-to-month column for CATALYST Magazine and is an editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding member of GreenTREE Yoga, a nonprofit that brings yoga to colleges and underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte performs the oboe and cor anglais within the Salt Lake Symphony and within the folks sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD received two Emmy awards in 2010.