Sunday, July 13, 2014

Space is all around

"We'd thought you'd float in in lotus position," a friend greeted me on my return to work after a month of retreat.

"You must be so relaxed," another co-worker said to me later.

"So, have you moved up a level in Buddhism?" my mother asked.

How do you explain what happens on retreat? The outer stuff is easy, I suppose. I sat a lot. I walked a fair amount, a lot of it up or downhill, between the various venues at the retreat center: temple, bedroom, community building, Prayer Flag Ridge, Ekajati Peak. I learned a lot of  facts and took tests. I passed.

But what happens on retreat is none of that. It's internal -- indescribable and ineffable. You see what you hold onto -- and in a longer retreat, you can work with that. Maybe you can let it go, relax into that space of neither holding on nor pushing away, and rest.

And then come back to your worldly life and find that space is there too. Things are the same and different, and that's fine.

Noticing the space around people and things provides a different way of looking at them, and developing this spacious view is a way of opening oneself. When one has a spacious mind, there is room for everything. —Ajahn Sumedho 

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