…and maybe I didn’t mention that I was going on a Buddhist retreat? Maybe I did, anyway I went for a week, came back last Friday and it was quite an adventure! What with the communal living with seventeen or so assorted folks, the amazing beautiful setting (and weather), the long periods of silence and seemingly endless long periods of sitting meditating in the shrine room…yoga and lovely vegan food too. Does that sound like Zoe heaven to you? Well, almost. And the teacher was one of the Western Buddhist Order’s best meditation teachers, He’s written a few books and his approach is very compassionate, humane and above all, very grounded in the body.
Even though it was by no means easy (by God meditation and silence faces you with yourself like nothing else!) I felt great by the end and really began to enjoy the company of the others and appreciate them. We had a lot of fond goodbyes when it was time to leave, like long-lost friends, and yet we had been in silence most of the time!
And it helped me a lot with my difficulties with the loving-kindness meditation practice, the metta bhavana. The way he explained it, that and the mindfulness of breathing meditation are basically the same practice. And also, he said not to necessarily think of metta (loving kindness) as a feeling. One can equally use one’s intelligence to approach a problem or a person lovingly. This was very comforting as I was experiencing quite a bit of emotional turmoil and I think my heart centre or whatever was rebelling at being told what it should be feeling!
I’ve been back a few days now and had a lovely weekend with Richard. Today did my computer course, then the gym, and tomorrow I start a new voluntary job at Tulip, another mental health organisation. I found that a few days after I realised MIND wasn’t going to work out. It seemed fortuitous, they just happened to have a volunteer leaving and wanted to take on two new people to job-share. I am going to do Tuesdays and Thursdays. I am a bit nervous about starting another new thing, but they seem very nice and quite efficient. Which will make a change from MIND. I will doing general admin and reception work…quite a bit of answering the phone. I seem fated to have to do phone work…Once I know who’s who and what’s what it should be OK I suppose.
I’m also thinking of volunteering my cooking skills on Buddhist meditation retreats. You get to go on retreat for free if you do. And that NVQ in Catering might come in handy at last!
Take care all…Lots of love, Zoe.