Yesterday late afternoon I got back from a week of study and practice with Paul Muller-Ortega. I keep being startled by how much he continues to offer out.......like a wellspring that continues to deepen and expand exponentially. It's wild. More on that in a moment - or maybe next post - that "wild expansion" thing, I mean.
....... I met up with Rainey and Denise - my "sit-sisters" - and we took the same flight out of Seattle, rented a car and drove to the retreat center. We have done this together 7 times now. A nice habit that we'll have to break pretty soon as there is only one retreat left in this 3 year course.
The retreat - as usual - was composed of a couple of hours a day with Paul teaching and several more hours of meditation practice. We do our own asana (no group classes). The food is good, the company is great, and Paul's teaching continues to amaze me with the way it clarifies and expands my understanding, stabilizes me in meditation practice more and more deeply, animates my asana practice and breathes open the enfolded places in my heart.
I always love getting home and this time was no exception. I arrived in time to teach the TUESDAY NIGHT CLASS. I have to capitalize that since many of them have been together for almost 10 years now. We do get a steady flow of new people (there's no undercurrent attitude of "members only" club, thank heaven). It is a great example of a group of practitioners who are joined together over time in a way that is flexibly permeable to change and growth.
While I was on retreat Eli arrived on the continent. (I haven't seen him yet as he is spending 2 weeks in Arizona before he and Emmanuelle arrive in Coeur d'Alene). It is a funny repetition - me being on retreat when my son comes home from India. (I was on retreat in Arizona when Leo came home). Really - it's just been a retreat-dense spring. I have spent 3 full weeks meditating in high winds in the high desert. I now feel completely confident that I can meditate in a hurricane. Seriously - the winds were very strong through both retreats. And the desert was as high as usual. In the yurt in Arizona, before I would go to sleep, I would take note of where my clothes were so that in case the yurt blew away I could grab my clothes and avoid having to run around in my underwear.
I like what gets strengthened in me when my preferences are not met and I practice anyway. Left to my own devices, I would organize things in such a way as to accommodate my preferences. This would include several things like lodging, schedule and food details. And absolutely I would avoid high wind meditation circumstances. But instead of pandering to my preferences, I have been supported in the practice of opening to life "as it is - just this - nothing more - here and now" (Lee). Something strengthens in me when I do this. I become more stabilized in my ability to stay steady in practice (sadhana) regardless of external circumstances.
Yes - OK. I would actually LOVE nothing better than to spend the rest of the day writing. But that "wild expansion" topic, will have to wait for next post. Because my desk is a state of wild expansion right now. Thanks for reading.