Thursday 5 April 2012

A journey to my self-nature

 At the end of January I joined my Meditation group's retreat to Youngsan for a weekend of nature, relaxation and self reflection. Since about last November I've been going to weekly meet-ups with the group (One Circle Community). We spend an hour and a half on a Saturday morning, meditating, talking and learning. I'm not a Buddhist, and don't intend to become one, but after my annus horribilis in 2011 I needed something to help me pick myself up and get back to who I am. I still go almost every Saturday and have made a some good friends though the group. Back in Jan, immediately after returning from Thailand (I didn't even get a night in my own bed before the retreat) we all boarded a bus to head out to the Youngsan Retreat Centre. What followed was a restful and spiritual weekend. Leaving past negative experiences, regrets and anger behind, thinking about the future without forgetting to stay focused in the present. 

On Saturday we got up at 5 am for a meditation and chanting session, followed by yoga. We had full participation presentations from Master U-San (a Dhama Teacher and Won-Buddhist devotee) and small group discussions. We went out to explore the surroundings and had tea in the local tea shop. On Saturday night we gathered in the main hall for a candlelit ceremony. This was an important event for me and as simple as it was, really made a difference. We had two pieces of paper. On one we wrote all of the things we wanted to get rid of. The regrets and grudges we may have been carrying. Bad habits or negative feelings we wanted to break or leave behind. My list was not long, but had some very big things on it. Some things I'd been carrying for a year or more. On the other piece of paper we wrote all of the things we wanted to take with us in the future. Things we wanted to do, feelings to cultivate, relationships we wanted to mend or nurture. Then we took our papers to the front alter. The negative was given away, put into a box, and the positive placed under our candles on the front. The next day, I already felt lighter. It was symbolic and cathartic and I seemed to have accomplished what I'd been trying to let go of unsuccessfully for a long time. In a further part of the ceremony we burnt the paper the next day. The ashes left behind symbolising the destruction of the negative and the smoke the positive entering the universe. You may well scoff at this, but for me it was a very important part of the retreat. There is going to be another retreat in the summer, and if I'm still here I will definitely be going along again.

Sleeping on the floor (heated from below) was nice, but a little too hot during the night!

Lotus Tea

The following photos were taken by Charles Nayam on his fancy camera!

Focusing with our breathing

Still a little snowy and pretty
Group discussions
Very atmospheric

5am Meditation

New friends

Writing in our diaries, thoughts and reflections.

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  1. This is how to start a cult. :)

  2. I love that you did this. Last year was the worst year of my life as well, and I'm slowly but surely healing and renewing my heart and mind and body and spirit. It's funny the things that DO nourish us and help us let go of the bad and hang on to all good and healthy thing. Wishing you much healing and growth. I'm so glad you stopped by my blog so I could read this today. It's just what I needed. :-)