Reflections on my Western Zen Retreat with Rebecca Li, Simon Child and Hilary Richards at DDRC, October 2017

I had a powerful experience at the retreat. Asking the question “Who Am I” taught me a great deal about meditating and about myself. The process was intense, but also forgiving and freeing. My mind had time to notice and follow thoughts. As I thought about them and then spoke about them using the communication exercise, I became clearer about what I was trying to understand about myself. What I learned was freeing because I saw past my “stories;” I didn’t feel connected to them any longer. They lost their emotional appeal and moved me to ask what else there was about me that I had been hiding from or what I really hadn’t known about myself. I let the stories go and felt a space opening in my mind.

Much of what came into that space was how I try to stay safe, and with this initial awareness I became excited to know those habits. The communication exercise gave me glimpses of how I use those habits and why. I felt that I was beginning to see myself more honestly and since returning home, I have been continuing to look and question. Difficult to express, but this inquiry has given me a small sense of myself I never knew which is exhilarating.

I want to add that the Dharma talks helped me connect the meditation and the communication exercise, especially after the first day practicing. They reaffirmed the reasons to stay present and in the moment even when knowing that everything will change. Staying still. Being present. Letting go of my strategies. Listening more to my heart. Learning what is my constant.

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