It’s winter, cold and dark. You think nothing would be better than to lie on the beach day after day, soaking up the sun and drinking things with cute toppings. Before you go too far, let me remind you of the return rebound—the dread that can only be relieved by the agony of beginning work again. A Zen retreat turns that around. You spend a few days practicing Zen meditation and ritual in community—tasting delicious food in silence, greeting a few demons, walking a little, and sitting a lot. And when you return to your ordinary life, it reveals itself as a miracle!
The schedule is rigorous, with sitting meditation interspersed with walking, chanting, eating, dharma talks, and interview with teachers, and also luxurious, with time for naps and contemplation. Everyone is doing the same thing without being able to talk about it. Like exercising in a gym, the company of others strengthens resolve, which is helpful when your mind wants to go off in its gazillion little fantasies that seem preferable to real life.
Here are some of the practices and benefits that accrue:
How does this all benefit everyday life? In 10,000 ways. Here are some of the cool things that upon re-entry suddenly seem so easy:
Not to mention the pleasure. Come join us for the Village Zendo Year-End Meditation Retreat on December 26 – January 1!
Elena (Yuuka) Taurke is an actor and clinical psychologist interested in improvisational inquiry into intimidating questions. This year she is the (student) practice leader for the Village Zendo Winter Retreat. Check out her blog at PsychoZen.org, where this post was originally published.