Saturday, September 19, 2009

Silent Retreat

Fall petals
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
I am off tomorrow for a five-day silent retreat with Adyashanti at the Omega Institute. That means today is full of house cleaning, last minute shopping, and packing - then off to the airport Sunday morning, 5 a.m.

Can’t say that I carry with me much of a conscious agenda. Though I am one unconscious bag of hopes and desires.
In practice, I’m just going to listen to the satsangs and do the meditations… I look forward to the silence.
Perhaps something in me will shift.
It’s time … I think.
But, maybe not, who knows?

There is one situation I would like resolved: duality.
Adya speaks about “The Container of Silence” at a retreat.
To me Silence is just another word for Unboundedness or Consciousness.
What I am uncomfortable with is how “I” seem to rattle about in this Unboundedness.
It really feels like a container – a vast, vast tin can of the universe in which I rattle about.
What could be more dual?

I often view this in two dimensions, as a cross section of the ocean.
On the surface amidst the waves “I” exist as thoughts and activity. A little deeper, just below the surface swirl my emotions.
In these regions of waves and currents run all the stories my mind creates. Over time I’ve come to take all that less seriously.
The moment you realize that Stories are just that – stories, there is something of a disconnect. Entertaining, distracting, dramatic, painful – or not. Some are even useful to a point… but, none of them are Ultimately Real.

With the disconnect it’s as if the mental content’s volume gets dialed down. That doesn’t mean the stories stop – all the chatter action keeps on going – but the words aren’t really listened to.
Now, I’ve come to notice there’s an actual physical buffeting that supports the mental agitation.
I hadn’t expected this. It’s like being tossed in rowboat on the waves of the ocean –thoughts no longer matter – there’s just the buffeting. And this buffeting (is this actually what “karma” is?) exists not only in my head but is broadcast from every single person’s mind. The room at any given moment is this swirl of desires, fears, plans, laser bullets of conflicting emotions zipping all about. It’s physically uncomfortable and I have trouble hearing my own self think.

The other day at work I suddenly realized I felt so weird I stopped working and sat down quietly at my desk over in the corner…
“What is going on?”
I felt the waves - a cacophony of to-do’s.
I noticed the ocean – it’s depths, solitude, and silence. And then to my utter surprise I saw that ordinarily, between the surface activity and ocean depths there’d always been this “me” - this ego – swimming.
And for the briefest, clearest moment I saw that there was “no-one” there.
The swimmer had disappeared.
I no longer had a center.
It was as if I had nowhere from which to establish a point of view - and that was the physical discomfort that I felt.

I felt the physical discomfort.
Realized how logically impossible the situation was.
Shook it off and went back to work.

It makes no sense when put into words, beyond perhaps duality is inherently uncomfortable.
The waves are actually the ocean. Philosophically – I know I am the ocean, the One.
But philosophy doesn’t cut it when it comes to actually living life.

For now, mostly I feel like a person straddling two rowboats, one foot in each, acutely aware of the instability of the situation.
Either be totally identified with the story of the waves, or melt deliciously into the ocean – but straddling the two can only lead to a groin injury.

So much for spiritual metaphors!

Better to clean the house and pack my bags.
Chop wood, carry water.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Will wait patiently until you get back -