Being in the world, just as it is

     Leading up to the Deep Roots retreat, I was experiencing mixed emotions about the 6 days ahead. There was a cerebral gumbo comprised of excitement for the much-anticipated space that I have longed to cultivate, as well as notable difficulty with even the thought of mentally shelving my busy day to day life as I embarked on another retreat as an extension of self-care.
     Upon arriving at the Ecology Center, the atmosphere is serene; the hustle and bustle of the city instantly faded away and was replaced by the audible chirping of birds and the tranquil song of the bubbling stream that runs through the center of the retreat grounds. We went through a short orientation, complete with a timetable outlining the schedule for each day to come. We then got settled into our respective dorm rooms.
     Shortly thereafter, the Sangha gathered in the meditation hall, sitting in circle-formation on our meditation cushions. The group sat around a vase of a beautiful assortment of flowers where the principal teacher, Paul, initiated the Opening Ceremony with his wife Roxana by his side. As I look around the circle, I can see that the Sangha is made up of a mixture of new and old friends. We were all invited to give a short introduction to the group about ourselves and our intentions for being at this retreat. It aided in me feeling connected to the people I’d be meditating with for the next few days.
     We were instructed to close our eyes and to find a comfortable seated position as Paul led us into our first guided meditation of the retreat. As I settled into my seat with my eyes closed, I can hear the bubbling stream adjacent to the meditation hall. I feel a buzzing sensation in and around my head, which I could only attribute to my daily grind which involves sitting at a computer for long hours at work. Although, outside of this setting, I have never noticed it before. To acknowledge that, carries with it a deep sense of humility and curiosity as I wonder what other phenomena I have experienced in my day to day life that has so easily gone unnoticed. My shoulders gently melt as a sense of calm washes over my body. Therein lies my intention for being at this retreat; to allow myself to notice the things that have always been there, without judgment.
     As each day goes by, surrounded by and supported by the Sangha, I find myself sinking deeper and deeper to a level of openness and vulnerability that I seldom experience. Free from the constraints of the pressures and expectations of the outside world, I feel primed to relieve myself of things that I now know are a burdensome weight that I have unnecessarily been carrying this whole time. I’m engulfed in sense of oneness with being in the world around me just as it is. The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and the sun is shining, just as they always have. Only now, I’m able to take notice.
This post was submitted by Keira Rochester, a frequent LG member and LG retreat participant. If you have experience with attending LG retreats or one of our weekly Wednesday night class and would like to share your experience, you can send your submissions to k i m y e e 1 6 A T g m a i l . c o m
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