My photo
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Apr 5, 2011

Gotta Want It

I got home from retreat at midnight last night.  I spent yesterday and Sunday at the ashram  --- actually came out of silent retreat on Sunday at noon.

It was such a good two weeks.  I have about a hundred blog posts I could do.  Actually - when I first got there and for the next few days I found myself writing blog posts in my mind - as well as teaching or prepping to teach, in my head. That began to drive me crazy - which is a good thing since it made me stop. It took me almost a week to let go of my agenda - and to relax into the sometimes difficult, sometimes delightful and always perfect circumstances. I finally stepped into things "as they are, here and now, nothing else". (Arnaud Desjardins - and Lee)

The daily details didn't vary much.  I was surprised to find that I easily fell into a rhythm and structure of practice that was very much like what an organized retreat might have been.   I've done many meditation retreats and Yoga retreats - and always there's a teacher or preceptor, a definite schedule,  bells to help you keep that definite schedule, and other practitioners around to keep you on track (vanity can be helpful) if you don't feel like staying on track any more.

This was different - and the same. I felt as if the space of retreat was strongly held and the guidance of the Teacher was abundantly present. It was just invisible.  It was relatively effortless to keep to fairly much the same schedule of practices each day.  The consistency and effortlessness of sadhana stayed steady through the ups and downs of my interior world - as I did move through some zones of myself that needed to be cracked open for air and light.  And that cracking open is not what I would call effortless.

Each day I woke up when my eyes woke me up, which always turned out to be at 5:30 or so. Pranayama and meditation first. Then hot tea and fruit. Then reading (mainly I read Lee's teaching and the Shiva Sutras)  Then journaling.  I filled up a big fat journal while I was there. Then Yoga for most of the rest of the morning. Meditation before lunch.  Lunch.  Afternoons were what varied a bit. Sometimes I would go for walks and do chanting. Other days more yoga. Other days more meditation.  Always meditation before dinner. Dinner at 6. Study and journaling until dark. Meditation. Bed. Didn't use the clock much but sleep always seemed to "come over me" at about 8:30.`

All of that is just the details.  (Like "what did you do on your summer vacation?"......."Well, I got up at 5:30,,,,ate this, did that".....Might be kind of interesting if you're planning your own retreat - but mostly boring). The Real thing I did on retreat  - is get myself aligned to a much bigger context.

Lee taught a lot about context.  He was adamant that "it's all about context".   Here's an example of that teaching - applied to "going on retreat":
  • Teeny contest: I go on retreat because I'm bored with my life or to "get away" from it all - to sort of "check out".
  • Bigger context: I go on retreat to rest, regroup, etc.  
  • Big Context: I go on retreat with a longing to remember what's important - to remember in my breath and bones that "All there is is Loving God. Nothing else." (Lee) 
The smaller contexts are fine. They are simply small contexts relative to the Big Context. And in fact - on a retreat you can line up the small contexts with the Big Context - like a telescope - and all the smaller contexts will open to the Light of the Big Context.  Content always follows Context. 

Here's another metaphor. If I take my bucket to a well that is small and running dry (small context) I get a little bit of not so good water. If I take my bucket to Lake Coeur d'Alene, (Bigger Context) I get so much water that "my bucket floweth over". Like that.

And you've got to want it. It's not like a casual invitation ("Hey - you can come over to my party later if you want. Or not.") It seems to me you've almost got to beg for the Big Context.  (Pleeeeze come to my party?!?!  Pleeeeze!!!!????)   It will never barge in on you uninvited. (unfortunately....I guess). 

We have brilliant, elegant practices and principles, like asana, pranayama, chanting, meditation - that are skillful means to welcome in the Light and Love - but they will only work in that way for us if there's been an invitation. And that invitation is born of longing and a yearning for remembrance of Love.

Wow - OK - I actually meant to write a light and not too philosophical post - just to jump start the posting.  But that was what poured out. I really could go on and on - but you wouldn't read on and on anyway (but thanks for reading - by the way). And I have to go to bed. Before computer light completely undoes all the diurnal good stuff that happened being on natural light for 2 weeks.

Leo home late tonight. Oh boy!!!
Immersion II starts tomorrow. Oh girl!!!!
I miss Eli. (I'm just on the verge of getting some relief from missing Leo) Oh Mom!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment