OK friends – in an attempt to speed things up a bit I’ve decided to start posting TWO days worth of writing each day :)
(Helpful Info & Terminology: This is part of a series of blog posts written during my recent retreat stay at Deer Park Monastery, located in southern California, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. Due to not having had Internet access I will be posting TWO days worth of my writing each day from while I was there on retreat.
Laypeople: Also called lay friends or laymen and laywomen, are all of us who come here to practice but are not monks or nuns.
Monastics: The collective group of both monks and nuns.
Clarity Hamlet: Where the nuns, also called Sisters, reside. Laywomen stay here as well.
Solidity Hamlet: Where the monks, also called Brothers, reside. Laymen and couples/families stay here as well. (Clarity and Solidity are just a short 10-15 minute walk in distance from each other).
Thay: Refers to Thich Nhat Hanh, meaning teacher in Vietnamese)
Wednesday January 20th, 2016
Today was Monastic/Layperson Day, which meant all of the monastics spent the day together following a certain schedule and all of the laypeople spent the day together with our own schedule. Both hamlets came together for this. At 5:45am the laypeople met in Solidity’s small hall for sitting meditation. At 7:30am all of us, including the monastics, ate breakfast together in the big dining hall and then at 9:30am us lay friends met for a hike up the mountain. We went to a place called Breakfast Mountain, situated up the fire road by the gate house. Once we arrived we did a few minutes of sitting meditation followed by dharma sharing. It was nice to hear what people had to say. While I don’t often like socializing here I do enjoy dharma sharing. The intention and energy are much different. Dharma sharing is a meditative practice, whereas socializing is much more idle and dispersed. I find that general socializing, while here on retreat, is an expenditure of energy going outwards and deflates my practice energy. I steer away from it as much as possible and much prefer talking with someone one-on-one. I come here to cultivate energy directed inward and try to maintain that as much as I can.