All-Day, Silent, Mindfulness Meditation Retreat
16 people, 7 hours, 2 words and 1 mind
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the best part was that I didn’t expect anything. In other words, I didn’t have any expectations. I was also trying not to have any–which is impossible.
Sure, you’re hoping for some life-altering, mind-blowing, personality-morphing seance where you see your grandmother again and speak fluent Spanish to your first dog. The other extreme might have you guessing you’re just going to have a quiet day. The experience was something in the middle, but maybe closer to talking to my first dog. But not in Spanish.
I had never done such a thing, but it certainly won’t be the last time. When asked, at the end of the day and when our silence was broken, what the highlight was, I, along with a few others, said that the lunch was a highlight. It might sound odd or even disrespectful to say that our ‘break’ was the highlight, but my point was that we brought our tools outside of the classroom to the real world and could apply them there. We had learned enough, trained enough to be able to take our mindfulness meditation outside of our instructor’s reach and have lunch in silence, enjoy every bite of food, relish in the eyes of your neighbors, but not their voices, learn what you can when one of the senses is turned off.
My vegetable curry at the Vietnamese place down the street was sweet and tangy, the onions were slippery but still a little crunchy. I still don’t really like mushrooms in their full form, but they were somehow yummy smothered in the yellow curry. The rice was starchy and filling and I enjoyed the entire pot of hot tea. I listened to the conversations around me (one in Chinese) and saw people pass by the window and studied street signs, banners, buses, and storefront signs. See sign below, can you guess what the 335 is for? It took me a while, but it’s not that they make 335 different types of keys. Had I not been on my retreat, I never would have cared, stopped, paid attention, or even noticed. Is this an important example? Did I create world peace? No, but close.
I created peace in my tiny corner of the world. For a single day. Just this little speck of dust on the planet. But if I can spread even a tiny drop of the fleck of the peace to my kids, my wife, to a waitress in the Vietnamese restaurant, then I’ve done my part. Is that world peace? No, but it’s close. Do I even care about world peace? No, because it’s too abstract, but I care about this little speck of the world and how I can make it better for those in it.
Still reading way down here? It’s the address. It’s 335 Clement St.