Returning from meditation retreat on a Monday morning, the workplace conversation goes something like this:
Co-worker: So, what did you do this weekend?
Me: Spent it at a meditation retreat, you know, meditating.
Co-worker: Wow, you must be really relaxed now then!
Me: Um, not really
Co-worker: Or…. well-rested?
Me: Nope, not that either
Co-worker: Oh. Was it a silent retreat?
Me: Yes, for the most part we are in silence
Co-worker: That sounds challenging!
Me: No – not really. In my experience, silence is easy – sitting still and concentrating for long stretches of time, that’s hard.
Co-worker: So why do you do this again?
Me: Good question…..
But the answer really, the one that sounds too corny to give to a co-worker, is this: I practice meditation because I am pretty sure that by doing so, I am developing a tool (not to mention the neuro-pathways) that will help me to face life’s suffering with more grace. Because my goal is “lighter and lighter” despite the heaviness of time and living. And because this life demands us to be fully present, but our culture discourages it.
I think it’s probably best if I just don’t let on though. No one wants to hear this at 9 am on a Monday morning. It’s easier to just not talk about it all sometimes.
(Speaking of relaxation, I badly need to get back to Breitenbush Hot Springs – silent pool pictured above).
I love this…especially your “lighter and lighter” goal.
When i tell people i’m doing such a retreat, and they say “oh you mean you’re not allowed to talk for 6 days?!” i answer, “no…i mean, you are allowed to not talk for 6 days”. The silence is such a rare gift.