A very warm welcome!

Thanks for visiting this, my second blog! You can visit Heart and Soil to see what I get up to on our 40 odd acres of land in Exmoor, basketry, crafts and general things and stuff.

I thought I would start this blog off by doing a day by day diary of my 2008 solitary retreat. You can find my posts on the preparation for this retreat over at Heart and Soil on this link:

Many people have said to me that they wish they could do a solitary retreat, because 'they really need one'. That's why I decided to share one of my retreat experiences, to hopefully make going on retreat alone, a bit less mysterious and a bit more 'doable'.

Offered with much love for your continued happiness!

Solitary Retreat Diary

Please remember that in order for the diary section of this blog to make sense you should start from Day 1 and work your way through. At the moment the best way to do this is by using the labels list on the right.

I will compile a links list to make this easier when I have posted the last day... and when I have a minute!


Thursday, 23 October 2008

Day 5 - BoooOOOohrriing!

Bored. I am so bored. That's all, just bored. I got up early this morning and went straight to the shrine. Uneventful and a bit boring sit, with lovely moments but generally... boring. Had breakfast and then what? Raining properly again today. Gales too. Did a couple of rounds of knitting, the trinity stitch. Which turns out to be really fiddly. Great. *sigh* I wouldn't say I was grumpy today, just bored. Everything is boring. Did I say boring? Oh, god it's 10:13, it was 10:12 an hour ago!!!!

Picked up Dharma Rain. Put it down again. Picked up Path through the Forest. Put it down again. bluerrgh.

So, I cleaned the shrine and tried to bring myself back into line. Had a lovely sit. Although my mind is getting noisier the more I sit. Spinning, had another go. Better than the other day, but I'm not really getting it. Not yet, I will though. I've got a sense for it but it's the gears bit I don't understand. I can't get the wool to go on the bobin so I'm over twisting. Anyway, that was a vaguely interesting distraction.


A little later.....

HAIL AND GALES! Lordy that was full on! I managed to do an amazing and very productive walking meditation in the protection zone the house gives outside. Really powerful. The elements in full glory, and me, buffeted by it all, getting soaked, experiencing great peace. Oh to be connected in every moment! What bliss!

Had a gorgeous shower and did some yoga. Also lovely. Todays looking up!

Freezing peppers, carrots and courgettes that haven't been pre-cooked works a treat. Sliced into large pieces mind you. Baked from frozen they sort of steam themselves in a very hot oven and finally brown up nicely.

Preparation for Meditation

Ethics -
Control of food, sex and sleep.
Curb aggression (in all it's subtle forms)
A vegetarian diet should be adhered to, conditions permitting, as an expression of ones dedication to a harmless way of life.

Summary -

Lead, as far as possible...

a quiet life
a harmless life
a simple life
a peaceful life.

Edited from Sangharakshitas book What is the Dharma?

So, the time when you are not meditating is just as important as the time you are meditating. The quality of your meditation depends on the quality of your mind. The quality of your mind is dependant on your intentions. To achieve clarity of intention you need to practice sound ethics and meditate. It's all connected and that is why the Eightfold path is so crucial for practice. I see!

" The issue of work, of livelihood, is also an aspect of preparation for meditation. Working at a certain job 6, 8 even ten hours a day, five or six days of the week, year after year, inevitably has an enormous cumulitive effect upon the mind. You are being psychologically conditioned all the while by your occupation. Choosing a means of livelihood that is peaceful and beneficial in one way or other is crucial, not only as preparation for meditation, but as a basis for one's whole development as a healthy human being".

What is the Dharma, Sangharakshita. pg 187

Well, I've frozen all my veg now - of which there is 3 bags too much! Had my delicious retreat scoff while watching the view out of the open window and reading Path through the Forest. Had to rush outside and take lots of pictures at one point as the sky was so incredible. Huge storm clouds veiled with little wispy ivory clouds, backed by an almost black background of giant clouds and the setting sun breaking through here and there. Extraordinary!

This photo really doesn't do it justice at all...

It's coming to the end of Wednesday now. I've just finished an hour and a half's sit and puja. The fear of being here alone almost got me earlier. I did a breathing meditation to calm me down. It did help. I'm totally up for staying here the rest of the two weeks. However, I'm not sure I'm up to it. This fear is growing exponentially, I'm not really sure about the next few days. I almost texted Leo, just now, to ask him to 'please come and stay with me the weekend'. Just to give me a boost. I'd stay in retreat mode and he could go out for walks in the day and just be here with me at night. OOoooooh! I would sooOOoo love that to happen. So much so, in fact, that I've been leaning my arm on my watercolour paints throughout that entire paragraph. poo.

Anyway I've managed not to text him and I'm going to go to bed now and read a book until I fall asleep. Lets see how I feel tomorrow.

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