Reflections on my Beginner’s Mind Retreat (by S.A.)

I’m not sure exactly what I expected from the retreat at Dharma drum. I definitely wasn’t ready for the quite visceral effect it had on my body and the overwhelming emotions that followed. As I look back on my time there I find it hard to believe that only 2 days passed during this experience and as much as the first day was difficult and overwhelming, the second was all opening and I wished I could stay for longer.

I reflect often on Rebecca’s analogy of a twisted hose pipe moving frantically in every direction until the block is passed and the water can run smoothly. There are surely many decades of blocks and knots in me! But where as in the past I believed that I had to go back and examine each twist and knot in detail to move away (something I NEVER wanted to do) now I can just acknowledge them and let them go, looking forward to the time when the water runs smoothly. And already it feels a little calmer.

I come away from my time at the retreat feeling changed.

Changed in a way I don’t quite understand. Changed in a way I can’t express using words. I have a sense of beginning to understand something that was right there in front of me but which I never took the time to try to comprehend.

I feel simultaneously calm and strength. I have a notion of clarity, as if I just know what to do, not for anything in particular but just a general sensation.

I will take all of this and establish a daily practice and make it my priority. If I can make that happen, I’m sure that family, work, relationships, health in short everything, will benefit.

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. Continue reading “Reflections on my Western Zen Retreat with Rebecca Li, Simon Child and Hilary Richards at DDRC, October 2017”

Reflections on my Foundation Retreat in November 2016 with Rebecca Li

In the past, attending retreats has been both challenging and very rewarding.  My anxieties and habits reliably seem to show themselves at retreats, and this time was no different.  Throughout the day on Saturday, I realized that something was bothering me.  It was only later that I realized that I was holding on to the expectation that on this retreat, I should be “over” these anxieties because I had already dealt with them.  I was expecting myself to be better at being present, and was judging myself for struggling with the method.  This was that old familiar perfectionism or high expectations creeping in again.  Having to do things right.  Having to succeed.  Getting stuck on mistakes.  Feeling guilty and beating up on myself.  What made it hard to detect is that it wasn’t quite clear to me at first.  It was more of a subtle creeping up of it.  But then of course once I realized what was going on, it was so clear.  And even clearer right now while writing this and reflecting back.  So this retreat was helpful in getting to see this pattern emerge again and hopefully be able to recognize it sooner going forward.  I don’t have expectations of it going away, but I do see my work as to continue to be more aware of it.

Continue reading “Reflections on my Foundation Retreat in November 2016 with Rebecca Li”