I was on retreat with Sangha in Pennsylvania over the past several days. I have made it an ongoing habit to attend two retreats a year and am thinking about more next year. This would be the second time I have attended the “When You’re Falling Dive” retreat with Cheri Huber, Ashwinni Narayanan, and the monks.
I receive much from these retreats and in the last year have noticed some ongoing shifts in my engagement with life. I entered this last retreat with such feelings of gratitude and felt that this really connected the experience.
When I came back a few friends asked me why I would attend the “Same” retreat two times in a row. Retreat experiences are very personal but I do have some thoughts on the question of “why” attend similarly named retreats.
- It’s not the same retreat. Transience rules. I evolve. My perspectives and understanding evolved. So, even though some of the information was somewhat alike I was hearing it with new perspective and experience. There are no duplicate experiences in life, only conditioned mind that want’s me to believe that I can be “bored” or “know things already.” I think maintaining the “I don’t know mind” that started when I was studying Koans is extremely helpful in both retreats and life in general.
- I am in communication with other perspectives that I would not encounter if I wasn’t on retreat. I am amazed at what I learn from others in the Sangha. Every single person has a different place from which to speak and I can learn from all of them. There is a lot of wisdom.
- My understanding deepens and is affirmed by the experience. Hearing so many voices express alike experiences always reinforces my willingness to continue my practice. How could it not? Being in physical contact with others who are seeking on the same path is a very unique experience. I leave feeling closer to people than I ever thought possible and that may very well be due to the fact that I become closer to my genuine self.
- I absorb the retreat experience and start to live it. I used to panic at the end of retreats thinking that I would be unable to sustain whatever insights I thought I had attained. Conditioned mind wanted to use this as an excuse, what I found was retreats don’t end, ever. It took repeated experience before I was able to see that the retreat didn’t end, my engagement with my genuine self would fade. Yes there are differences between the retreat environment and my daily life. But, inside? Not so much anymore.
- My heart gravitated towards the retreat so I listened and went.
And, the food is exquisite, I get to do yoga twice a day, and the surroundings are beautiful.
So, in the spirit of sharing I encourage all to take a look at going back to retreats you may have already attended. I think it time well spent. For those who have never gone I encourage you to listen to thing inside of you that yearns for the experience. Take that step and go.
I am engaged with Living Compassion and offer a link to the site. Check it out. I am not being endorsed by anyone I speak of on this blog or by anyone who’s books and materials I use on my spiritual journey. I offer all in the spirit of loving kindness. You are all Sangha.
I’m always interested in your experience.
To find information on retreats by LivingCompassion.