I’m going back into the silence.
Guy is already there, at the retreat center on the border to Wales, and I’m lucky they are still excepting me although I will be a few days late. In my own way I try to prepare for the quite full on schedule starting with arising at 03.30 in the morning and then alternating between sitting and walking meditation until 22.00 at night. The break time happens around the two meals per day, the later meal is being served at noon. But even at these times you are asked to be silent, to stay present and to experience.
It’s unexpected that all that time being still and silent can feel like so much work. Such a challenge. Maybe the stumbling over a talk by Pema Chödrön will become another support for my upcoming 8 days. I find her words extremely helpful. And most of all, true.
“When we take the meditation posture, we are developing an attitude of attentive openness to whatever arises. And I think this is a very brave thing to do. To just sit and open our minds and our whole being to attentiveness to whatever might arise. Because in so doing we are actually opening ourselves beyond our usual habitual views of ourselves and of reality. We actually don’t know what we are going to see. And one of the first things that one gradually perceives is that perhaps we are not quite who we thought we were. Sometimes that is very embarrassing because maybe we thought we were kind and then we see that we have a lot of aggressive thoughts. Maybe we thought that we were quite a spiritual person only to find that we obsess for hours about all the things we want and crave…
We sit and we look with as much openness as we can and in so doing we are opening ourselves to letting go, or seeing through, or… at least SEEING exactly who we are and what we do. So this path is usually considered the path of the brave ones. Which doesn’t mean that we are brave, but it means that we are starting to cultivate our fearlessness and to move from narrow to open.” P. Chödrön
I’ve always looked upon yogis as the group of the “resistance”. The people who resist in just conforming to life as it is, or to habits and common views. The group of people who are willing to look for the truth no matter how uncomfortable that is or how unpleasant things might appear through the doing of the practice and through continuously coming back to the point where you can look again.
A friend of mine expressed this the other day. She said: “This yoga path, it’s so incredibly inconvenient at times, I mean do I really want to see all this?”
It’s a good question and it is understandable that this question comes up, it takes courage and effort, and a respectful amount of discrimination to stay in it and on it as a path for growth.
The fact that I’m going back into the silence has two different effects on me. One is the feeling of not being able to wait to get started. There is a deep longing for this rare and unusual form of self care. I’m thinking, this is such a luxury! How often are you being given this opportunity, to give yourself this kind of rest? The other effect is that I can’t help to feel a slight form of panic in the background of myself. What if being with the shapes of my mind becomes overwhelming? Maybe I will go nuts sitting for all that time…
I will have to call on my courage. After all, truth will always be more interesting then the alternative facts.