One City

One City

Summer Time is Retreat Time

Last summer I sat an introductory seven day retreat at Shambhala’s Karme Choling, in Vermont. After seven days of sitting and walking meditation, delicious food (much of the produce was grown in Karme Choling’s garden), and some of the nicest folks I’ve ever met, I was the most relaxed and mindful I’ve been in years. Seventy-two hours later, back at my desk in a law firm in New York, it was gone. All the calm and equanimity vanished like one of the frequent, brief thundershowers that rolled over the meditation hall every other afternoon. 


Since then, I’ve often daydreamed about going back and finding that spacious inner state again. Conveniently, the fantasy doesn’t include the unpleasant stuff: back pain, boredom, frustration with my practice, and the feelings of panic that would rise some afternoons after two or three hours of sitting. In any case, I’m headed back for two week’s of the 28-day Dathun starting on Saturday and I’m both excited and nervous. Nine or ten hours of sitting a day is going to be a real challenge, but I’m looking forward to the relaxed, summer-camp vibe from last year.

If you’re ever looking for a retreat convenient to NYC or Boston, I recommend it. I’ll give a full report on whether I touch enlightenment or go crazy or both when I get back.
Comments read comments(6)
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Patrick Groneman

posted June 26, 2009 at 12:26 am

see you on the flip side.

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Ellie Kumayama

posted June 26, 2009 at 12:36 am

I will JUST miss you. I will be at Karme Choling August – September. Have a fun and wonderful time!

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posted June 26, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Oooh, I so want to do two weeks someday. I can’t get more than a week at a time. I’ve got my third piece of my piecemeal dathun in August, I hope, at SMC.
I am surmising that the post-retreat retreat of calm and equanimity teaches me that if those are conditioned phenomena, they are impermanent, yup. How I do find the equanimity that is not a conditioned phenomena?
Back to the cushion for us all. Have a great summer!

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posted June 26, 2009 at 2:40 pm

I, myself, plan to find permanent equanimity on this retreat. Oh yeah.
Wish me luck!

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posted June 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Congratulations on stepping into this experience, brave warrior. I have been practicing this way for probably 30+ years now, and I distinctly remember the disappointment that I felt in the beginning, when I found my mind again feeling caught up in the speed and aggression upon return to my “normal” environment.
But don’t give up. You’re changing the ruts of habitual patterns that you’ve cultivated for your whole life, beginning with the *huge* step of noticing that there are other possibilities. Enjoy your dathun!! You are very lucky.

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posted June 26, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Thank you, Sumac. I’m pretty damn nervous about the whole thing. It’s nice to know there are folks out there for whom this practice has worked for so long.

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