This past Saturday I attended my first, half day mindfulness retreat. It was a combination of sitting and walking meditation, along with some instructions and teachings of the Buddha. My son, was the teacher for this day of meditation. I had some reservations about going as I have never sat for that long and it was also a silent retreat, so I wasn't sure I could stay quiet for three and a half hours..
I arrived a bit frazzled and stressed...I was a tad late and the ride into the meditation center was quite far into the woods, on a curvy, narrow road. By the time I arrived I had a headache and my mind was all over the place. I was the last to arrive and so I just took a chair in the last row..and so we began, twenty four students learning to be in the moment, all at different levels in our journey. I'm at the point now where I know the language pretty good and I can easily sit for 45 minutes. This program consisted of sitting for three 45 minute sessions and two sessions of walking meditation. During the walking meditation you could go wherever you want, get a cup of tea, use the bathrooms. It all had to be done in silence. The grounds are so beautiful, deep in the woods with lots of Buddha's and nature to help keep you grounded.
My son is a wonderful teacher, soft spoken, gentle in his words and compassionate of peoples feelings and comfort while they are in this space. He offers guidance, which I like, it helps to get me back to where my mind belongs when I tend to wander, which is quite natural in meditation. The warmth of the sun streaming in the windows fills you with such a sense of calm. It took me the entire first 45 minutes to get myself settled down and relax into my chair. As I moved through the rest of the retreat I came away without my headache, I think I left it somewhere during my walking tea time, and such a sense of well being and goodness. It is my intention to return for another retreat to this wonderful Center...I have come a long way in my meditation practice and it has served me well in stressful times. I love the sitting now and the bells and the smell of that wonderful, earthy, incense...it all bring me right into the present moment..
"I like to walk alone on country paths, rice plants and wild grasses on both sides, putting each foot down on the earth in mindfulness, knowing that I walk on the wonderous earth. In such moments, existence is a miraculous and mysterious reality. People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eye of a child-our own two eyes. All is a miracle." Thich Nhat Hahn...From the Miracle of Mindfulness.
Chris left on Sunday for his own retreat in Burma, studing with the Masters...today in the mail, I got two books from him...the one I quoted above and Peace in Every Step both by Thich Nhat Hahn, whom I love. I was surprised and delighted that he sent these to me right before he left. He is with me still, even from the other side of the world...walking his own path...