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!


Saturday, 10 January 2009

Day 10 - Butterflies, Bees and Webs

Couldn't sleep last night.

Did about 10 Sudoku puzzles and read an entire Calvin and Hobbes book. It occurred to me that had I been reading a Dharma book I would no doubt have fallen asleep straight away!

This morning it WASN'T raining! The Sun actually CAME OUT! So I got every window and door open in the house and the conservatory! Hoorah!

I sat outside with my breakfast and had a most amazing experience. Lazily I had my legs resting on the makeshift table as I leaned against the wall. My bottle of juice was on the table.

A butterfly, a big one, came and rested on the blue bottle top! Exquisite!

Butterflies are so hairy! Hairy is beautiful! The thorax was covered in this silky fine hair that shimmered petrol blue in the Sun. He walked around and around the bottle top trying to get something to eat from under the lid.

He was so close I could see his proboscis curl into a perfect spiral and unfurl to taste the sugars from the fruit juice under the lid. Butterflies have very haughty faces, their nose stuck right up in the air, very proud and beautiful. I can imagine him constantly fixing his bow tie and fussing with his hair!

After a long while he flew up and rested on my hair. When he got fed up with that he settled on my leg. Stretched himself out as big as he could to catch the rays of the Sun on his perfect, dusty, painted wings and stayed there, for a very, very long time. My knees hurt and I needed a drink but there was no way I was moving. I was in a beautifully blissed out trance. Most peculiar and most wonderful!

He flew away.

So I had a drink and moved my legs and another one flew in! I know it was a different butterfly because this one had a notch out of one wing and was smaller. Still very beautiful and this one was very industrious trying for the food under the lid of my fruit juice bottle. He tried much harder then the last one and it paid off, he got some!

Ages and ages he was, going around and around the bottle top, flapping away at the little flies that were after some fruity action. Oh, it was just fabulous! Finally, I had to move. So I slowly, slowly got up and went inside for a stretch and my camera. As I got up he fluttered a way a little but came straight back. I sat back down to carry on watching him, but this time I made the mistake of taking his picture. It was fine until the camera made a noise and then he fluttered away and didn't come back again.

While the butterfly was trying to feed from the bottle lid a large honey bee came to have a look too. The butterfly saw it off though! The poor bee, shocked at being attacked by a butterfly, flew away a bit too quickly and didn't look where he was going, he landed straight in the middle of a spiders web! He fluzzed this way and that way getting himself more and more tangled up in the sticky web. At one point I thought he was a goner as his wings looked so fragile and I couldn't imagine they could escape damage by the sticky web. Luckily though, he managed to struggle himself free! Phew!

It was interesting, immediately on seeing that the bee was trapped I thought I had to free him from the spider web. The bee must be saved, by me, I was the only that could stop the bee becoming lunch for a spider. I managed to stop myself. What about the spider? That bee would have sorted him out with sustenance for a very long time. So I did nothing and just observed. It felt liberating not intervening.

I have had many thoughts about my life today. Sort of tumbling thoughts from one thing to the next. I feel more aware of what things trouble me from my past experiences than I have ever been. It's good to know that I can identify so many. I might list them, but I hope I don't.

The realisation today was that those past experiences were the effect of an infinite amount of causes. Not one cause is to blame. To cast blame or direct anger/hatred at any one situation/person would be 'inaccurate' to say the least. So my negative feelings kind of dissipated. Lovely!

I'm not trying to say that thinking of difficult experiences from my past doesn't make me feel sad anymore but I have a real sense that there's no point being angry or hateful. Who or what am I going to direct those feelings to? Amazing!

So, anyway, aside from lots of sitting around and walking about in a very slow manner in the sunshine, I knitted. I'm nearly finished my trinity head bag. It should be all sewn up and on my head by tomorrow evening. Yippee!

Today was a day of the outer world coming in. Jets, for goodness sake. So close above the house I had to put my fingers in my ears, nearly dropping a stitch and I could almost see the faces of the pilots. Terrible! It's the ripping sound that's the worst bit. Then when I was meditating another one hurtled passed. That was horrible. The ripping sound tore through the core of my brain! Then a cow did a funny 'moo' and I laughed.

So I ended my sit. Ho hum.

I've had a dicky tummy this afternoon. Not sure why. I feel a bit rubbish in my emotional brain too. I really want to go home all of a sudden. Well, I shouldn't say go 'home', I don't have a home as such. I just want to feel safe. That's it. That's all. I'm a little kid scared of people with nowhere to hide.

So there we have it. Fear. It always comes back to fear and my intense craving to change feeling afraid. This craving to change feeling afraid, however normal it may seem, is not helping me. I have to learn to let go, of all of it. Probably much wiser to fear craving than fear itself!

I really have to practice more.

What is fear anyway? In the dictionary it gives a few definitions and are two of them..

1) "a feeling of distress, apprehension or alarm caused by impending danger, pain..."
2) "possiblity, chance"

Intriguing that number 2 is given as a definition of fear! We are all fearful of change, of course, I just didn't expect it to be in the dictionary!

Why is it bad to crave not to feel fearful? How can that possibly be a bad thing? Perhaps because of these...

1) not wanting to be fearful is a dualistic point of view.
2) being fearful is mostly... hang on... I'm not thinking about this correctly. Of course fear is suffering. That does not mean it's wrong to crave not to be fearful. Just like it's not a bad thing to crave the Dharma or to crave happiness. Ultimately however all craving has to be let go of. All of it. Even craving the Dharma.


More knitting I think.


Anonymous said...

We all easily celebrate life through the beauty that surrounds us, but many of us repress the idea of death and that death is a part of life. From my experience, if we redefine the definition of death as well as all of the words we use in a negative context, and come to realize that there is only continuous life in the seen and unseen worlds, then many fears in everyday life will just miraculously vanish.

Calvin and Hobbes is awesome! The cow is cute.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful post all together. As always I love your pictures (the cow is adorable peeking over the hill). When something as delicate as a butterfly comes into our bubble it is easy to see the simple beauty and grace that surrounds us. It is wonderful to know that death is part of the process, and to be able to observe it with wonder and awe for the beauty it holds within its transition. Sounds like a wonderful day, even the jets, I have come to love the sound of their engines (most of the time), so much energy. When we accept each thing for what it is, it becomes beautiful in its own unique way. Because most of the time it will be there whether we aprove or not.

solomi558 said...

I have helicopters coming and going over my home. I think , such busy people, why all the coming and going , your blog is
,interesting,and stimulating cottonreel

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