Mini self-meditation retreat is finished. Day 3 began with a good meditation session, followed by not following my intended schedule as I had an important decision to make: fly or not fly to Italy over the weekend. It took several phone calls with people from different camps of the current Corona craze, but in the end I listened to my gut which said: don’t fly. There are still too many unknowns and even though you are not flying to any of the hot spots, the risk is too high (my workplace plays a factor too). I then had a good talk with myself about not being insecure about the decision I made and accepting the financial loss.
A few hours after the time of the flight that I didn’t take, I received an email from the airline apologizing for the cancellation of the flight… blah blah blah… go to our site to chose between flying two days later or, ready? receiving a full refund. And there you have it. A good laugh was had by me and everyone who knew my story.
I decided to stay at my mother’s for a few days, returned home yesterday and today is officially my last day of vacation. How do I now feel about my mini retreat, my spending most of my time in solitude? Right now, I find it difficult to give a clear summary of what I experienced, so I will simply attempt to list in stream of consciousness some of my impressions:
- I wrote a lot in my journal. Random thoughts, feelings, questions, ideas. Did this help me? Yes, I believe so. But these too were not structured and I did not reach too many conclusions, thus a rather neutral state.
- I was a lot less restless than I know myself to be when I am alone at home, than I was the last time I did a mini self retreat.
- It is much harder to do this at home than under the guidance of a teacher.
- There was no AHA moment. Rather, things were “slower”, more accepting of what occurred moment by moment.
- At the same time, there were a few moments of self-criticism, doubt, frustration as to where this is going, what I want out of this.
- I wondered if I needed to be more serious about this, i.e. go on proper retreat, follow one path/teacher instead of jumping from teacher to teacher (you should see my youtube “history”!!)
- I have a strong desire to understand the theory of buddhism, meditation, mindfulness. Why? Because I want to share it with others and help people who want to learn. I want to know how to answer questions without having to research first out of fear of saying something stupid or wrong or just not know how to answer. Some things I understand, but ask me to repeat or explain it, I will generally fail (see my post about the topic of remembering). On the other hand, I find that my daily practice is slowly changing me in my experiences, my reactions, my understandings. This I can talk about without hesitation.
- I have blogged more than usual. One of my reader friends commented in my previous post about the goal of writing and sharing:
A question that I set myself was “what am I seeking?”… and I came up with the scary answer that my child-me was seeking attention, permission, and reassurance – as in “attention-seeking” etc…
I copy this because of the raw and authentic truth in these words. There is no doubt that writing/blogging is, in some way, a longing for approval, a “well done” pat on the shoulder. I have shared my blog with some family and friends, but fewer than I would have 10 or 20 years ago. Reactions have been mixed and I realize that we all have our preferences in what we like to write and read. Those who are pulled to what I write are those who relate to what I write. A good stand-up comedian is one who finds stories and jokes that people can relate to. A great stand-up comedian doesn’t try to satisfy ALL people. He does his thing and those who relate will follow him. The same with art and books and music and blogging. It gives me joy to find that a few people relate to what I write and it affects me less if MY people (friends and family) don’t say anything or comment on my blog. This is an example of the change I mentioned above.
- Today I have been thinking a lot about all the suffering (first noble truth) or unsatisfactoriness or pain/stress that exists around us, near and far. Beginning with my own and expanding the circle to include all beings. I imagined a little 4-year old boy in a war torn village who is forced to live in a refugee camp because his street was bombed and his parents were killed. He was “lucky” that his aunt, a friend, a stranger took him under their wing. I was thinking about a child in a first world peaceful home who whines because he is not allowed to play his nintendo after dinner. I was thinking about the woman who cries at night because she found out that her husband no longer wants to live with her, about the man who just found out that he has terminal cancer. I was thinking about the man who suffers because he doesn’t know how to overcome his anxieties, his depression, his fears. The girl who suffers because her best friend is going away to study in a different city. And my own suffering because I don’t want all this to be real and yet it is. And I have to accept it without being able to help.
- Last (for today), I listened to this talk by Joseph Goldstein about Mindfulness: what it is and what it is not. Enjoy: