‘A meditation retreat is very supportive of who we really are and extremely threatening to our conditioned idea of ourselves. In most of our lives, egocentricity is in charge. On retreat, we have an environment in which the heart – our true nature, the gentle self, the self that is not separate from all that is – has an opportunity to be supported and allowed to exist fully, at least for a period of time. While we are sitting on the cushion or doing a work project or whatever, it may not seem that it is leading to anything. And yet, when we leave, we often find that something almost magical happened to us while we were not doing very much, while we were trying to find the willingness to simply follow the schedule and come back to the breath.’ (Sweet Zen)
I found this book in one of my mother’s cupboards. I vaguely remember bringing her a couple of zen books years ago so that she could have a somewhat clearer idea of what it was that I was doing. Around the same time I do remember that we sat and watched a reality show on TV where half-a-dozen ‘regular’ people went to spend some time at a Christian monastery, and then spoke about their experiences and their reactions. That, I said, is kind of what I do without all the entreaties to god. Since she doesn’t read any more on account of her failing eyes, I took them to Hebden Bridge with me to leave in the sangha library there. Look out for more posts from this book over the coming months.