Reflections from a Silent Meditation Retreat-Have Some Compassion For Yourself!

If you do not meditate or have never been on a meditation retreat, which is totally different than a yoga retreat/vacation, it might seem a little weird. I have been doing meditation retreats annually for years, so let me clear some things up:

1. You DO NOT have to go on a meditation retreat to meditate. 

2. You do not have to join any group.

3. You do not have to wear any special outfits - however, my mantra is comfort is best.

4. No one is lighting incense or praying to crystals (not that there is anything wrong with that, I love some incense and crystals).

5. Finding a qualified and trained teacher is key. By qualified, I mean someone who has been practicing for at least a decade, preferably longer. 

A meditation retreat looks something like this:

- {usually} No talking. 

- Lots of sitting.

- Some walking.

- Some yoga (I lead the yoga on this most recent retreat, so I got to talk and move!).

- Lastly, did I mention - LOTS OF SITTING!

In Meditation, we are working with our minds, hearts, and bodies. It takes time to do this.

It is a relentless and subtle process of sitting, breathing, noticing your mind (habits, conditioning, thought patterns, etc), and opening. If anyone tells you they "just absolutely loved" their meditation retreat, I am guessing they either slept through it or they are full of sh&$. 

After this four-day meditation retreat, I am emerging with a slightly deeper understanding of where I get tripped up in my daily life - and guessing this might be universal. 

1. We make things WAY too complicated. Keep It Simple, err on the side of LESS. Except when it comes to sleep. 

2. Be nice to yourself. This is not a selfish act, it is an act of wisdom. Unless we can figure out how to be kind to ourselves - which is not possible until we first see what assheads we are to ourselves- there is no chance of being truly kind to others. In other words, you can not give from an empty cup.

So- cut out 1/2 the stuff, and start to have some compassion for yourself.

In conclusion, this is an endless discovery of learning and seeing. Step, by step, by subtle, kind, compassionate step.