I picked up my friend and fellow yogi from a Richmond bus station. He was vowing for a while never to travel via cheap Chinese bus again.. and from what he was saying, I can’t blame him! Long story short, he took a flight home. 🙂
Arrived to find a dirty and dusty house, on the beach. Apparently the owners had decided to winterize the house, but they forgot to change the heat filters, so there was a layer of dark dust on everything..
The metaphor is not lost on me – we would need to purify our outer mind as well as inner mind streams! We had a bit to do with cleaning and dusting the following morning before more participants were set to arrive. It was fine though. A large, beautiful house with massive vaulted ceilings in the living room, with ample space to play and go through Dream Time, it was great. And it was right on the water.
Retreat started at 2 pm on the 18th. We pondered for a time about what our intention was for being there. I had two intentions but I chose the shorter of the two – I want to be awake in dreams. Simple right? That intention would change over time though – because I want it to be realistic. Could I realize wakefulness in dreams in 10 days? Not so much.
And being born in Hawaii, and raised there for a time too, you might find it humorous that here I was at a stormy winter beach on the East coast of the US, and my initial thoughts were, “this beach sucks.” Just being honest – that’s where my mind was.
At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of the gray skies and the cold, downright bone-chilling frigid temperatures. But after a few days, it started to grow on me! Plus dolphins were playing in the surf just about 20 feet past the breaking waves, there was a falcon which seemed drawn to glide around just outside our window – which only happened when we were in session?! And the sunrises were so so majestic. The last day – when we did Lama Chopa practice (offerings to the root and lineage lamas and teachers) and then a Tsok offering (a special sacred feast offering where we offer food and then we get to feast on it), the sunrise seemed the most sublime.
On that first day, my yogi friend and I were the only two males present, with about four or five women participating. And we had signed up for cooking and cleaning duties. So at one point, he pointed out (just humor here, not trying to imply anything!!), “Hey look, the guys are cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, and the women are all moving furniture!” It was funny in the moment – think retreat mind. We had not yet entered noble silence.
The first 2 – 3 days of retreat I slept in, took a nap here and there, and even went to bed early one night. It definitely took me a couple of days to go from 70 mph of busy life to slow down to 5 mph of retreat mind mode. Thankfully I had 10 days total down there!
Write more soon!
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