Thursday, July 17, 2008

relief from the human condition

over the july 4th weekend, i went on a silent meditation retreat at spirit rock here in california. it was a beautiful way to spend the holiday...surrounded by the quietness of the golden rolling hills, big blue sky and all kinds of wild creatures! rattlesnakes, turkeys, deer, squirrels, hawks, robins, spiders, vultures, ticks, butterflies, and many more little beings! three days was the perfect amount of time to unplug and drop down into that luscious space of deep quiet and then return to the world carrying that stillness inside along with a renewed sense of devotion to mindfulness and meditation practice.

an awareness that i had more than a glimpse of over that weekend of sitting in stillness observing the movements of my mind was what i have heard ekchart tolle refer to:

"the human condition: lost in thought."

and the identification with thought that makes for great suffering...trapped in ego and the myriad of stories we tell ourselves over and over.

"the stream of thinking has enormous momentum that can easily drag you along with it. every thought pretends that it matters so much. it wants to draw your attention in completely." (eckhart tolle from his book "stillness speaks" p. 14)

what a relief to find moments of refuge in the breath, in awareness that is NOT thought, but pure presence that can notice the waves of thought without judgment or identification/attachment.

with these moments of refuge come wonderings, "why on earth would i choose to dwell unconsciously, swallowed up and run around by the human condition? why would i choose to swim in the muddy, murky pond after experiencing the crystal clear blue lake?"

i imagine as more time passes, with more frequent dips in the pristine water.....i will begin to see with quickened clarity that the crystal clear blue water is much more preferable to the muddy pond and more often than not, i will choose that instead.


greenfrog said...

You pique my hunger for a similar retreat. I've been thinking about finding a few silent days -- maybe at Shambhala Mtn Ctr, maybe Kripalu. How long were you there?

Jessa said...

the retreat began at dinner time on friday evening and ended at 5pm on sunday. i thought it might be too short to sink deeply in, but as you may already know, time takes on a different quality on silent retreat! the days felt as though they stretched on a spacious, luxurious way....quite a phenomenon when there is NOTHING to do, NOWHERE to go, NO ONE to tend to. quite exquisite. i wish you ease in manifesting a few days of quiet.