6/1/10 – Judging from my journal, it seems that this was the day that the retreat actually started. You could call it the “holistic shift” (which is a point in a bodywork session where the client releases most of their conditionally held compensations and at which point the session seems to start) of the retreat. I say this because an issue came up for me, where in the past when I was confronted with it, I ran away instead of sticking with it. More on this in a second.
Oh – on this day I learned about the Israeli situation involving international waters. In contemplating their actions, I am a bit conflicted as I have a number of good friends who are Jewish. However, I still need to ask – Is Israel trying to start a war? What they are doing in the Gaza strip sounds horrendous – I know it is a complex issue but… Human rights anyone? Okay off my soap box now.
Khenchen’s teachings were piercing my heart on this day. He mentioned that we want a clear, stable, disciplined mind – not the mind that yearns for magical appearances (miracles), colorful lights, dancing, etc. Rather, if we can see suffering for what it is – we see suffering is disgusting and we avoid its causes. I cried when Khenchen told the story of the king who desperately wanted to establish and strengthen the Dharma in Tibet. So much so he sacrificed his life to ensure Atisha would come. Talk about a Bodhisattva!
Later in this day, I had some of my buttons pushed. Or I should say, rather, I allowed some of my buttons to be pressed – or I chose to be open and fickle. To keep this simple and private, I realized my plate was way too full – I was one of the organizers of the retreat and I was feeling overwhelmed as more and more little jobs were stacked on my plate. So I went for a hike, then came back and jotted down some thoughts. It helped but it was very (!) uncomfortable. Thankfully I stuck with it. I sat with the irritation that was arising, breathed deep in my belly and eventually I felt my energy body firming up and it seemed that my boundaries immediately started to harden (in a very good way).
Luckily I was staying with someone who I consider to be a mentor or at least someone willing to hear my process. He gave me some incredible pointers – do I want to be drawn into other people’s dramas? What can I appropriately take responsibility for? What jobs did I want to get rid of – to lighten my load? What am I willing to invest my time and energy into? These are all good questions that I need to consider in the future. No one else is going to pay close attention to my needs and meet them all the time – I have to do it! No matter how uncomfortable the process might be.
6/2/10 – I did bodywork with a friend outside of the retreat today. It was very grounding to receive but I also gained some clarity and insight about my process. The friend who I exchanged with is a little older than I, but she is very attractive. Therefore I had to observe my mind as it waded through all the subtleties of our bodywork-exchange evening. I realized I was not entirely clear with her, I may not have breathed into my belly like I mentioned earlier and as a result my boundaries were not clear. I am assuming she is also attracted to me, or to the person I was showing her, which may be inaccurate. However, my heart is yearning for someone closer to my age or younger who embodies more of my “high standards.” As in – not her. But I did not mention that.
I opted to not go back to her place in the future because of multiple things Khenchen mentioned. The next day, after I had returned to retreat, he mentioned that we must watch our mind – to avoid the causes of suffering, we must be very aware of our habitual tendencies. He said that sometimes we must sacrifice a little pleasure and temporary happiness in order to benefit others or in order to move toward a happier future. I translated that onto my situation by saying to myself, “entering a situation where there is much energy of sexual attraction, leads to yearning and grasping. It leads to desire and attachment, to something which is not real and not permanent. By avoiding that situation, I will have a clearer mind and an authentic heart.” However, due to my previous habits, I sure wanted to go back and see her. I wanted to see where things might lead, but at the same time my heart was screaming at me to be logical, to be honest with myself. What a scenario! Luckily I made the virtuous choice and stayed at the rest of the retreat.
Today I skipped the afternoon teachings in order to take a nap. I felt much better – filling my cup as it were with self care rather than overwhelm. I am wondering if all this sitting leads to a stimulation of my loong disorder (very briefly – a Tibetan medical diagnosis where suppressed anger leads to anxiety and nervousness). The more I rest in alignment, the easier it is for me to be present to others. Yay!