(written on June 15th, 2012)
Another day of silence. I am seated in a wide, stuffed living room type chair in the dharma nectar hall and savoring the comfort. The tiny, overfilled buckwheat zafus in the main dharma halls are hard on the body. I just finished eating lunch, rice with vegetables and a delicious wrap of tofu and seaweed. Before the bell sounded for lunch I was sprawled out in the grass counting jet engine trails streaking across the blue sky, there were 16! I’ve never seen so many at once.
One of my favorite times of the day is after lunch when I have the chance to nap. I feel like my favorite thing should be sitting meditation or dharma talks but it’s napping. The ability to nap is really quite luxurious. I wish it were something I could do with comfort and ease at home but I usually feel I should be doing something other than napping and feel quite lazy and unproductive if I lie down.
After dinner I now come to the dharma hall to bask in the glow of the stained glass buddha window, like having a date with a friend I anxiously look forward to. I am in this spot now as I write. We had dharma discussion group before dinner (we have discussion groups about every other day). It is still challenging for me to feel connected to my dharma family. Still I listen fully and share in the bonds of human experience. I practice to be present and non-judgemental in my deep listening and this is an important piece. Sometimes I think that I should take away some grand insight from this 21-day retreat since it is so far from home, so long in duration and we’ve gone to such expense. That I should go home completely anew. I see now that my insights are smaller, more practical and in unexpected places. For example, maybe I don’t need to feel connected to my dharma family, maybe it’s OK to connect instead with a bigger snapshot of humanity and then simply go my separate way.
Melina, one of the soon-to-be sisters in my family, in her sharing today spoke about how she used to think in terms of transforming certain parts of herself until she saw that the idea of transforming meant something was wrong with her. Then she began cultivating a practice of acceptance, deeper and deeper acceptance. I too think in terms of transforming unskillful parts of myself so this new insight has given me something to think about.