Wednesday, January 07, 2009

My new year retreat

During the long weekend here (since 20th Dec 08 - 4th Jan 09), apart from travelling around to the other cities (Antwerben, Groningen and Zwolle- my second home), I and Robert decided to do the meditation retreat at my home (Den Haag) by ourselves. The reasons are that, fitst of all, the cost of retreat here is incredibly expensive. Second, we can plan for our schedule. I and Robert are pretty advanved (in my opinion) in meditation. We do not really need to follow the strict plan. Something might be able to be adjusted, if necessary. The other reason is we do not need to travel to the other place so that we can save a lot of time and money. Also we can do some study on the other days.

What we did was we observed the 8 precepts, we drew the rough schedule - walking and sitting meditation for 20, 25 and 30 minutes in each period. It was not fully strict like in a temple as we got up a bit late (around 7.30 am) and we still talked with each other.

What happened was pretty ok in my opinion. We could follow the rountine most of the time (except the afternoon of the second day that we were a bit tired and lazy). We didnt have any dinner though we were hungry. The hardest precept is the third one - to avoid any sexual activity. This includes not to touch the opposite sex. I dont need to explain this in detail, but anyone who has a partner around should understand this very well. However, we could pass through all those difficulties.

I dont know what Robert thinks about this, but for me, I really like this homemade retreat. It's a lot different from staying in the temple, that is full of rules and disciplines which can more easily control your body than at home. This means we need to control ourselves, both body and mind. Meditation and mindfulness allowed me to see my feeling, desires, emotion and thoughts a lot more clearly than before.

However, our journey on this noble path is still very long. To start, though with some difficulties is better than never. But rountine practice and mindfulness in everyday life are still important and necessary. I think I still have to improve and practice a lot for this, but I (and Robert) will try our best for this.

May peace be with you all

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