Up until this week, I was doing a very good job of not thinking about the week-long meditation retreat I had signed up for at Spirit Rock. When I initially signed up I was pretty excited and more than a little proud of myself. It was a big step, and to me, indicated that perhaps I wasn’t such a lazy Buddist after all. (BTW, if you’re here just to see a shaved Maine Coon cat – a big percentage of my visitors, apparently – just skip to the bottom.)
There are things about this retreat that make me nervous as all hell. In terms of my top attachments in life, I would say this retreat is going to be challenging at least three of my top ten:
Privacy: I have lived alone for over 25 years now. And I like it. I like it a lot. Yes, that probably does make me a bit selfish and spoiled. Except for on the weekends when the boyfriend is here, I am free to keep my own schedule, to clean up or not according to my whims, and essentially do whatever I damn well please without having to worry about its impact on another human being. During the retreat I will probably be sharing a room with someone. Someone I can’t even speak to so as to take away some of the awkwardness of sharing a room with a stranger (the retreat is silent, remember?). Plus, there is only one bathroom on the floor, so who the hell knows how crowded that will be. (Yes, I have issues about doing certain bodily functions in public restrooms – and while this is not exactly public, I will be sharing it with complete strangers so it might as well be.)
Comfort: If I have a choice about challenging myself physically, chances are I’ll choose not to. I know that in addition to three hours (!) of walking meditation a day, that there will be a lot of hiking around the hilly grounds, and who knows what other physical challenges await me.
Routine: While I don’t think of myself as a highly structured person, I do have my routines. And something that is definitely NOT part of my routine is getting up at the crack o’ dark. According to the material I’ve read about Spirit Rock’s retreats is that the first sitting starts at 6:00 am! Also, they are adhering to a very healthy eating schedule where the main meal is at lunch, and instead of an actual dinner around dinner time (for me 8:00-ish), there will be a “light supper at 5:30”. What the hell? At least there are are no prohibitions about bringing food, so I’ll be heading over to Trader Joe’s to stock up on energy bars, nuts and fruits.
The close to four hours a day of sitting meditation doesn’t scare me, nor does the silence. I’m good with all that. I’m looking forward to deepening my concentration and seeing what crops up from the darkest regions of my mind amidst all this silence. So, that’s where I should be focusing my attention instead of sitting around freaking myself out. So yay! I’m going on retreat (she says with questionable enthusiasm)
OK, I need to stop thinking about this for now. Instead, let me share with you Sasquatch’s trip to the groomers: