>>>> Retreat Street Repeat > Retreat Street Repeat >>>>
At least a little while every day. Even if it’s sitting in your car in a parking lot for 3 minutes.
Any quiet and safe place where you can be alone (if possible) and get still will prove to be a gift. Eyes open or closed.
If you can go on an actual retreat with me or another teacher, great. But, you still need smaller “retreats” every day or as often as possible. 3 minutes a day every day will serve you better than 3 days out of a year in a zen center. Although, BOTH is most ideal, obviously.
Getting quiet and still attunes your awareness to the more subtle parts of you, which allows you to discover in those moments the truth of who you really are, right then.
Not who you think you are or who you’ve been told you are. Who you are at that moment in time, deep down below the noise. This is very important info to know!!
The literal streets or the metaphorical streets. The raw, grittier, less predictable places in life.
Learn to leave the retreat and hit the “streets” with this new self awareness not only still in your mind, but manifesting itself in your body. Learn to (em)body what your mind has found to be true.
You might be going to work or taking care of children at home. You might be on the subway wearing headphones. By the streets I mean the opposite of retreat:: the not-quiet, not-still and potentially less safe outer world.
The awareness cultivated in retreat needs to be applied in the streets. In the world. Apply these truths to yourself first, then to others. Your own situations first, then to the world’s.
You’ll inevitably become world-weary. Retreat again.
This cycle is can be explored every hour, every day, every week, every year. In simple, small ways as well as in the major, more dramatic changes in life.
Trust in yourself, the Universe and this process. Even when this trust does not feel validated (which it often won’t) since we live in a world that doesn’t nurture reflection, quiet and stillness, but instead values projection, expression and mobility.
What I’m hearing from you recently, especially since the 2016 election and all world events in its wake.
“I’m so anxious/ stressed I can’t meditate. I can’t sit still, my mind is like a tsunami. Sometimes, I can’t even get myself to try!”
One often overlooked reason stress is so brutal? Our need to perform while stressed!
Many of us come out of a performance based education system. We judge our progress, even our basic okay-ness, on a performance basis. Rating systems. Scale of 1-to-10. Hierarchies.
Think about it —-> fight or flight response —> performance based self criticism trigger one another in a never-ending feedback loop.
Meditate no matter how you feel. Your performance based mind doesn’t know crap about THE DEEPER LAYERS OF YOUR BEING. Never.
When you sit, holding down the fort of your practice, despite mental tsunamis and explosions, you, on a deeper level are healing yourself– even if you feel ZILCH on the surface of your conscious perception.
You might be relieved to hear that timer go *ding, and think,“glad that’s over”. Fine.
Believe me, sitting there was more healthy than choosing not to. Don’t be hoodwinked or discouraged.
The next day, if you practice again, is likely to be easier. You are slowly, gradually re-aligning the patterns of your mind.
Here’s the hack::
As you finish practice, bypass any thinking about “how you did” and what could be better next time etc.
And instead do this>>>>
Apply your energy and focus on moment-to-moment sustainment of your calmer, more aware state. Seamlessly bring that state into your non-retreat, “street” life where it’s really needed.
Needed. By you, by the world. This is more important than ever. Plus, we’re all WORTH IT!
I hope this helps. As always, let me know how it goes.
And remember, I’m going through and practicing all this stuff too. We are together in this.