I returned from retreat a couple days ago and have been catching up with contacts and various friends. I loved the retreat. Lately I have been experiencing retreats in a different way and wanted to write a few words about the experiences.
One morning at 5AM, I got up to meditate which I truly love because no one is around. This required me to leave my room quietly, go outside, and enter the meeting house where the meditation hall and kitchen were located. Leaving from the second floor meant I would cross a wooden walkway one story up to enter the meeting hall.
That morning was dark and clear and there was a full moon. I was in awe of how bright and precise it looked in the cold mountain air. Just gorgeous.
Entering the pitch black hall I switched on a flash light in order to see my way around. As I enter the meditation hall it cut off. I found myself standing in front of a meditation cushion bathed in multicolored light. I was standing in a small circle of light that was coming down from a stained glass window high up in the opposite wall. The full moon was precisely in the center of the three foot circle of stained glass. As I sat down on the cushion I had tears in my eyes. I was an amazing experience in space and time. To come to that spot and be sitting in that small circle of light at that exact time evoked feelings I can’t describe. Mugon no Keiken is the Japanese phrase for an experience that can’t be described. A description of the indescribable.
But, what I wanted to share was more than that. It’s the fact that the perspective of now is on that we all share. These moments are not “Retreat” moments, although the environment of a retreat helps open the door to having the experience. But what seems crucial is not the environment of the experience but being there for the experience itself. Jen, a Dharma sister, shares that “being present and aware is the key that opens the portal to having these experiences no matter where you are at the moment.” Yes the meditative mind helps develop being present and aware. But, that’s not the only way. We all have those moments when we are aware and here in the moment no matter how that occurred We are all capable.
I had another moment while beginning a sitting. There were windows down the wall where I was sitting and all of us against that wall could see the magnificence of the rain storm that raged outside. The enormous pine trees were whipping in the wind and the sound was a constant rumbling. I was in awe and so present. The experience was electric. Although I didn’t do a survey I noticed later that the 25 people sitting there all had the opportunity to that same experience. The only thing required was to be present. How wonderful!
So I thought it would be important to see that it’s not going on retreat, or meditating, or being Buddhist, or studying Zen. It’s just taking a deep breath, coming to our Senses, and being here. The moment will define itself as the miracle it truly is, over and over.
Please share any and all of these experience you have had, I would love to hear about them.