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!


Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Day 11 - I see Monkeys in the Wall - Afternoon

What an afternoon!!  

Worlds within worlds.

I wrote out and studied the Heart Sutra and some devotional texts, had another sit and went out for a walk.  I almost immediately started singing a little tune.  Improvising a folk melody, like I used to years ago, as I walked up the hill.  The wind was getting pretty serious but I remembered I could record my tune if I took a video.  So I did.  Probably wont be able to hear any of it over the wind though!

Then I started to, for want of a better word, 'bliss' out.  No other word for it.  I had a deeply blissful experience.  By the time I got back to the cottage I was almost euphoric!  In amongst it all I felt a very deep sense of gratitude for Dharma and for those that teach it, obviously Buddha Shakyamuni for sharing it in the first place (now there's faith for you!).  All this arose within me of it's own free will!  Happy!

Then would you believe it, I was making my curry, doing some yoga and I decided to go for a walk.  I managed to get quite close to the cat as it was pooing because the wind was in my favour.  Anyway, that's not what I meant to write...  

Worlds within worlds

I finished my yoga, my walk and was just finishing my curry when I noticed a rainbow starting to happen on one side of the valley.  So I zoomed out.  Well, the rainbow wasn't just a rainbow.  It was a RAINBOW!!!  It spanned the length of the valley before me and was a double rainbow.  The colours were so intense, more colours than I had ever seen in a rainbow.  I could see it from where it touched the ground at both ends and the middle of it was right in front of me!  Glorious!

I managed to run back inside for my camera and catch the tail end of the rainbow.

There is part of me that believes those two experiences, (the blissful feeling on my walk and the intensity of the rainbow) were a direct result of practice (Meditation, mindfulness, devotional puja and study of the Buddha's teachings).  There is a larger part of me that believes that, than thinks it was all just coincidence.  Obviously my practice didn't conjure up the rainbow.  My experience of the rainbow however was intensified and made real by my practice.  

Randomly I have just spotted, for the first time, a face someone has sculpted in the wall outside the conservatory door!  

Lovely sit and puja this evening.  Oh, it's been such a wonderful day!  I'm filled with the urge to write a thank you letter to Sangharakshita!   

Last Thursday I drew a calendar.  It consisted of 8 squares which were named, Thursday through to Thursday.  Each with their relevant number, 1 through 8.  I think I did this because I wanted the week to go faster.  I've been ticking off each day!  I remembered I wanted to use ticks instead of crosses to mark the passing of the days.  Some big psychological thing or something.  Well, I do feel really glad to be going back to see my family but  I am sad about leaving here.  It's not so much that I'll miss the cottage or the area.  More that I'll miss this clarity of mind.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like an overall wonderful day and experience. Perhaps your meditation quieted your mind so much that you were able to embody your song and rise with the currents of your melody fully. It sounds like a great method to slip into the Moment and just enjoy the beauty of all that presents its self to you.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Beauiful Pictures!

Anonymous said...

Your post lifted my mood massively this morning . I also felt a sad longing for being able to go and do what you are doing - not envy , just a need within myself .But good too because your post reconnected me with that , so Thankyou ! Before I had children I went on (Buddhist) Retreat a few times and used to go to a weekly meditation session . Ironically now is probably a time when I could really do with going back !!!I remain Buddhist at heart and try my best to live my life by it ; I just don't get a lot of time for practice : ( Lovely Post , thankyou x

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