Opportunity in Self Isolation
Over the years I have taken part in numerous 7-10 day silent meditation retreats in the Buddhist lineage, in the UK and overseas. There is a set programme running from day to day involving seated and walking meditation (some guided and some not), a work period; where you help out with food prep, gardening or general maintenance of the centre and a talk in the evening. The talk is given from one of the teachers, helps frame your focus and outlines components of the Buddhist path. Commonly, in the mid week there is an opportunity to discuss anything which may be coming up with one of the teachers and receive advice.
To some silent retreats seem weird, I have been asked, ‘what do you do all week’, ‘you could have been doing something useful’, being the common lines!
To simplify, the initial guidance is to step out of the mode of doing and transition in to the mode of being, to become more alert, aware and observant of our internal chatter, our intentions, our strengths and frailties. You learn to see things as they happen, arising from moment to moment and gain insight to the inner world you create.
By following the breath and becoming more skilled in the adjustment of your breathing you can find a quality of ease through the simple act of sitting. Of course this does not happen right away, you meet challenges and obstacles, but the rewards do make themselves known and through the peaks and troughs of life you have a real resource.
Could self isolation bring you an opportunity to develop a meditation practice, to reflect and grow where sometimes we just ‘chug’ along in life?
The following website has been a tremendous resource to me over the years, offering guided meditations and talks about the Buddhist path. All very logical, practical and invitational as opposed to dogma: dhammatalks.org
Wishing you all well at this challenging and uncertain time.