Written on Friday:
We depart from here today, on a jet plane, unsure of when next we will return (who is it that sings about this? I can’t recall). How both strange and delightful it is to have so many feelings of home. When I arrived, although I had left my home to come here, I felt as though I was returning home. And now, as I prepare to go back home, I feel as though I’m leaving home, too!
Then there’s the home which remains a constant source of solidity and fluidity. My true home within myself, anchored in the here and now. Home really is where the heart is – literally and metaphorically. When the heart is open, home is everywhere!
As in general the hardest question for me to address is the commonly asked “How are you?,” it stands to reason that its close companion “How was your trip?” should be no different – or in this case: “How was your retreat?” How does one summarize such a breadth of human experience – whether on the daily or to encapsulate a trip – in a way that holds authenticity and meaning? I really don’t know. Honestly, I’m not sure it’s possible. But in the interest of wanting to have some way of responding to inquiries, I can say this:
My mentation processes were afforded the opportunity to become slow and steady in concentrated accord. I delighted in the abstemious qualities of the monastery, as well as foppin’ around the parking lot in the sunshine. And now, full of ardor, I find myself at a liminal point in time, situated between life as a full time practitioner sequestered in a monastery and life as a full time practitioner out and about in the world.
(As I’ve recently started exchanging Words-of-the-Day with 2 friends of mine via email, this above summary was fashioned together with a string of 5 new words that I came across and wrote down while I was on retreat :)
And with that – hold on! So shall begin the posting of my daily journal entries I penned (or rather typed) while I was on retreat for three weeks at Deer Park Monastery in southern California, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh.