How does one survive a meditation retreat?
Strong coffee. And lots of water.
This past weekend I participated in a meditation retreat with about 30 other individuals. The word "retreat," to me, seems a little misleading. It's not exactly a weekend at the spa by any stretch of the imagination. In this kind of retreat, you work with your mind, moment after relentless moment, and that can be messy, frustrating, confusing and incredibly exhausting.
But I am always struck by the amount of support I feel during a retreat. By my neighbors meditating silently beside me, by my teacher offering humor and encouraging words, by the bell ringer ringing the bells to let us know, hey, it's okay, you're okay now, this meditation perioid has ended, and by all the preparation it takes just to create a place for us to work with our minds and discover who we really are. All of this is incredible to me.
At the end, as we said goodbye to each other, I couldn't help it - the tears came. Damnit, I thought, why here, why now, in front of everyone? But what could I do? I wiped my eyes and my nose on my shirt and let them come. Oh well. I was a little bit of a mess and I was embarrassed, but it was okay.
May you be happy.
May you be well.
May you be safe.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be free from suffering.
May all beings be free from suffering.