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  • Atsuko

To Be in the World But Not of the World

Just came back from four day silent meditation retreat. When I booked it in November, I was really looking forward to it. Then one week before the retreat, I suddenly started to feel panicky. Four days of silence! I calmed myself down but was feeling anxious even after I set off from home.

Didn’t know how intense it would be, and it was intense. Each day consisted of six 45minute meditations and five 45 minute walking meditations. I felt a little unsettled in the first morning session, but soon I got comfortable with the arrangement. By the second full day, I settled in the routine and looked forward to each sitting.

Then the next day was our last day. It came very soon.

After lunch, before our very last sitting, I was sitting in a comfortable chair in the lounge looking out of the window to the garden. Under the gray January sky, beyond the garden was peaceful Devon country science. A large old oak tree was in the garden and ivy over the window.

I sat there with a cup of coffee in my hand. A fellow meditator was sitting next to me. It felt like I knew her quite well although we never exchanged words and didn’t even know her name.

I sat there for 15 minutes until the bell rang for next sitting.

I couldn’t have sat doing nothing, saying nothing, staring out the window contented for a quarter of an hour at the beginning of the retreat.

Then I felt very sad. I knew I would lose this ability to find peace when I get home. I won’t have time. I will have too much to do. Even in my free time, I will feel I should be reading, I should be learning, I should be doing yoga or even I should be meditating.

Even if I come back again to this retreat centre, it will not be the same. This moment will be gone forever.

And it is the nature. This thought, too, I need to make peace with.

I felt so unready to leave to face life. Yet, I knew my life is here in the real world.

To be in the world but not of the world. For now anyway.

(More thoughts from this retreat will follow soon. Please come back.)

Meditation Retreat

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