I went on a retreat in November for 10 days at the absolutely amazing and breathtaking Taraloka. It was a retreat based around the Four Reminders which I have talked about before in this blog; a retreat called “Beauty and Urgency”.
It was a very special retreat for me… a lot of firsts! The first retreat which wasn’t led by Order Members (friends) who I know well. The first retreat where I knew no one. It was a longer retreat than I had done before – 10 days compared to the 4 done over the Easter weekend. It was my first retreat for those who are working towards Ordination. My first women only retreat…. So many firsts.
The retreat was so powerful for me. A lot of time spent in silence; hours spent in meditation; time spent “just sitting” and reflecting. I learnt such a lot about me; about my previous (and present) patterns of behaviour. I learnt more about the Dharma. And I realised – again – how much I love this Buddhist life. The women on the retreat – both the Order Members who led it and my fellow retreatants – were so warm and beautiful; their love sustains me still. The retreat was also a reminder of how far I have to travel.
I had all of these plans, these expectations of how I would be on my return. How I would be acting, what I would be doing. Life was going to be calmer yet more full. I would be living according to the beauty that is this life, and the urgency caused by its very impermanence. I even had plans for this blog – posts I would write….
Expectations! Expectations are dangerous things. They can arrive quickly and easily then laugh in your face.
For a whole host of reasons life has not been as I expected since my return and I have not (until today) implemented many of the plans I had made. My mind has been all over the place. I spent some time last week beating myself up about this, feeling the usual guilt arise. But now – I just accept what it is. I cannot change what is happening; I cannot change the last few weeks. However, I can change my reactions to it all and I can resolve to act differently now.
My brain is beginning to function again. I am starting to go through all of the notes which I made on retreat. I am beginning to look through my photos. So this is the first (I hope) of a series of posts about my retreat at Taraloka.