Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Retreat! Retreat!

Playing in the background: The air conditioner. Or maybe the heater. Or maybe the air conditioner. Hard to tell. It's fall in Texas.

I spent all day yesterday at a meditation retreat hosted by Brother ChiSing. I didn't find out about it until the last minute, or rather, I didn't register until the last minute. I thought my sister was going to be in town this weekend but it turns out it's next weekend. So I registered on like Friday. Luckily they squeezed me in. I was bouncing off the **$$##% walls most of the week.

It turned out to be a small crowd and I needn't have worried. As often happens with this sort of thing, only about half the people who registered actually showed up. There were about ten of us which is nice, actually, because we get to know each other better. I'm not very good at that part though. One of the things I really like about meditation retreats is that for the most part you don't have to talk to anybody. But anyway, they were nice folks. We chattered a little over lunch. There were two yoga instructors, an insurance company employee and his wife, a couple of students, a musician and yours truly. Age range: 19 to about 65. So a good mix.

I was late (I am always late) because I went to the pool first. I came in just as they were about to go around introducing everybody, so I kind of slid onto a cushion and said, "Hi, I'm Jen and I've been bouncing off the walls for days and I'll try not to be too obnoxious." I wasn't. Obnoxious, I mean. In fact I may be down a notch or two, though it's hard to tell because I just used the nebulizer. That thing makes me jittery as hell but it's a small price to pay for being able to, uh, you know, breathe.

(Just incidentally, does anybody remember the Duran Duran video, I think it was the one for "Rio," where the keyboard player has a parrot sitting on his keyboard and it keeps pecking at his fingers? Chloe the Cat is sitting here next to the computer and she keeps nipping at my fingers. I wonder if somebody will pay me $1 million per minute to film this or if I'll need to have a sex change first.)

Anyway, it was a nice day. Not a lot happens at these things so I'm not sure how one would report on it. 9:30: Meditating. 10:15: Meditating. 11:00: Meditating. You get the idea. Every now and then we get up and walk for a while, or go around the circle and share ideas, and of course we broke for lunch; divine vegetarian food; pear and potato soup, veggie wraps with hummus & braised kale and - get this - soy banana pudding. There was lots of food left owing to the no-shows so I was able to take home some of the soy banana pudding to Joan. We've been trying for ages to find a non-milk-based pudding equivalent. Dessert choices are hell when you are lactose intolerant.

If you're a Buddhist, going to retreats is one of those things you're supposed to do. Sort of like the Hajj, but I think you can get away with doing that only once. You're supposed to go to retreats at least once a year. I imagine non-Buddhists would also benefit from these day retreats, though. For one thing, nobody bugs you every five minutes, the phone don't ring and you don't have to get up to take out the trash. So it's even better than watching football. It's also quieter. If you have one in your area, you might wanna check it out. I like meditating solo and I like hanging out with ChiSing and the gang. They meet once a week but the times suck for me, so this is about the only time I get to see them.

One of these days I'll get really brave and go away for another weekend. But not before the authorities repossess my idiot neighbor's chainsaw.

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