Open Way Fall Retreat 2015 (Part 2)


As I mentioned in my last post: Open Way Fall Retreat 2015 (Part 1), last weekend was our local Montana Open Way Sanghas fall retreat.  The pictures featured here were taken during our weekend together.  Dharma teacher Terry Cortez-Vega joined us from Austin, TX to lead our meditation retreat.  I took some notes during her dharma talks and wanted to share a few of them:

Everything we experience, everything we think is in flux, is impermanent.  It’s not impermanence that makes us suffer it’s that we think things are permanent when they’re not.  When we have the flu or are stuck in traffic we trust in the nature of impermanence that things will change.  Impermanence is not a philosophy, it’s a practice.

Non-self doesn’t mean we don’t exist, it means we are impermanent.

The buddha taught that there are 3 kinds of suffering: 1. 2nd arrow suffering, where we multiply the stress of an event that takes place.  2. Willie Nelson suffering (Terry called it), where we want to hold onto what we like and get rid of what we don’t like.  3. Looking for solid ground suffering, wanting guarantees and certainty in life.  Thay teaches that we need to let go of the little sufferings so that we can conserve energy for the big stuff.

In talking about the 8 Realizations of the Great Beings Terry sited Milarepa’s insights:

  • “Nothing to do other than rest in presence.”
  • “Nothing to do other than stop being dishonest.”
  • “Nothing to do other than practice continuously.”
  • “Nothing to do other than know directly how things are.”
  • “Nothing to do other than stop fixating on self.”
  • “Nothing to do other than not fear what is ultimately true.”

On the last day of our retreat during her final dharma talk near the end Terry said: The more patience you have the less time it takes to be enlightened, the more impatient we are the longer it will take.  Drop your impatience, enjoy the moment.


I wrote this during the retreat:

I came around to this rocky alcove,
thinking I would slink away from people
Instead, they followed me here (or I followed them)

Conversations drifting by on canoe,
the sloshing of a swimmer,
friends rowing by
It’s difficult to find quiet in a world full of sound,
difficult to find stillness
Our beauty is one that moves

As our breath expands and contracts our lungs
we are filled with the fuel that vibrates the land, sky, and waters

It is never more apparent to me
how we are all engrained within a shared heartbeat
than when I’m on retreat
practicing to find pockets of silence (and mostly unsuccessfully)

The birds floating and flying,
the ripples on the lake,
the sounds of traffic humming through the trees and around the bend,
boats motoring by,
the dance of clouds and sun,
the small flutterings of pine needles and leaves –
Our world is one that moves and unfurls and cosmically quakes

And while it is beneficial for us to learn how to slow down
in order to appreciate that which surrounds us,
to deepen our capacity for quietude,
I’m growing more certain that a complete stopping
and total silence are not what life has in store

Our beauty is one that moves



2 thoughts on “Open Way Fall Retreat 2015 (Part 2)

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