Must retreats always be such treats? How is it life becomes so distracted, so asleep, so thought-centric that we need vacations or retreats from “real life”…
It’s all real life really, and it can indeed be a treat. I however was a burnt out baby when I booked myself a flight to Hawaii for Ram Dass & Friends Spring on Maui Retreat.
Well. Being in the presence of Ram Dass is beyond a treat. How is it that a man can smile at a room full of faces, tell them he loves them, and leave them in tears? You look into his eyes and you see your own eyes— of past, present, future, and Now. He says “hello” and you hear hello from your childhood self, your mother, your grandfather, every stranger… all in one. All one. And you wake up.
To be truly awake means first realizing you are asleep.
I went on retreat to be alone, feeling drained by the actions, the relationships, the work filling my days. To my surprise, never have I come to know and love so many people so fully in such a short time. And never have I felt so full- completely undrained, if you will.
I realize now it is the sleeping relations that drain us. The relations where you are talking to someone and realize that Nobody is Home. Nobody’s there. Nobody’s present. Or the relations where it all takes place in our head. Where our minds this or that or oh no or not again or how am I ever gonna or… you fill in.
How can we stay awake was the question on everyone’s lips.
The simple response: You stay awake by being in the heart. Not to throw hippy dippy “Love Love Love” at everyone, but seriously. My goodness… Love! There’s no other way to live. We won’t make it. You stay awake by staying in the heart. The heart always knows.
Pre-retreat, I had thought I would sit in post-yoga or meditation bliss, writing out the magical plan of my next years. Making To Do lists perhaps, steps to take to get me closer to wherever it is I thought I wanted to be. I laugh looking back. My biggest DUH moment is that you can't think out your life. You can't Mind your way through. There is no plan that you can write.
Think about the most magical moments of your life. Did they happen because you planned them? I gave up plans long ago because I found I was usually disappointed. The best moments seem to always happen on the wings of spontaneity, the days that we least expect, the days we dance.
You have to connect to the heart. There's really no other way. To make yourself very quiet and listen to the winds that shift your paths. To watch yourself and your body as it engages in the world around you. To have patience and unbelievable compassion for your self as together with the world, you figure it out. By being here, listening, and keeping that big heart open.
Vague enough for ya? I'm workin on it.
All I know is to everything— love. love. love. love.