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 Meditation Retreat
post Feb 23 2010, 12:00 AM
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Greetings all

I had my first 10-day meditation retreat this winter, immediately after hitting a major disappointment on the spiritual path. And I am so glad I did this. It made me realize really why I messed up as bad as I did, and I understood that I really had to experience this disappointment, due to my own state of maturity, in order to move on.

If no one minds, I feel compelled to share my experience in brief (relatively brief, anyway) here at these forums. It feels good to share and discuss with like-minded people and those with perhaps more experience than I.

One of the major, over-riding issues of the retreat for me, was that I was experiencing first-hand a lot of what I had been learning intellectually - that, as human beings, we are practically robots, merely conglomerates of habits and patterns of thinking and feeling, based purely on choice. An image that came to me in meditation was that, at first, there are annoying inner distractions (i.e. "monkey mind"), that are like these ants crawling on your skin. But as you go deeper, you realize they are not crawling on your skin, they are your skin, they are "you". IT'S ANTS ALL THE WAY DOWN, all moving in different ways, different directions, different routes, etc. This "ant colony" as a whole makes up who we are, they are the "matrix" of our reality, and they all behave according to habit and choice. But the problem lies in the fact that for the majority of the colony, we are not conscious of the choices we are making. I certainly was not conscious that I was behaving like a child in a magician/alchemist costume instead of a sincere and serious student. I felt serious, but I was not aware of how the "spiritually-minded" ants were behaving, until I "saw" them.

There can be a kind of stark horror when faced with a reality we are not comfortable with. And the reality goes like this: there was this boy who lived a happy, comfortable life, but was a dreamer and wanted enlightenment, and dreamed constantly of spiritual fulfillment. Then something happened: with great effort, he cracked opened his eyes a little for the first time and realized where he was - in a straight-jacket, in a padded room. There was no happy, comfortable life. The whole thing was a dream he's trapped in - the boy, the spiritual desire, the happy life - to keep himself from seeing that he is really locked in an insane asylum. And he did not want to be "enlightened" anymore. He just wanted to be free.

Only in brief moments in meditation was I able to actually hold my awareness completely on the breath. The rest of the time, my mind was seemingly all over the place. But with time, I noticed that my mind kept coming back to the same kind of movies. Always a different script, but always along only a handful of different themes. And it began to feel like I was in some kind of torture, like in the movie Clockwork Orange, where they strapped the guy into a chair, forced his eyelids open and played movies non-stop. I could not escape from them. They just kept taking ownership of my awareness again and again and again. But then I realized, it was I who had strapped myself in, it was I who had chosen the movies, it was nobody but myself enforcing this torture. I chose it to be this way. Unconsciously, yes, but it is still a choice.

I also experienced what is on the other side of all this nonsense, waiting for us to let go of what binds us. On the third day of my retreat, a close friend of mine was murdered. I broke my silence, and I almost ended the retreat. But my meditation mentor encouraged me to make contact with her spirit and see if I could help her transition. I immediately thought, "I can't do that. Other people can, but not me." Well, I was wrong. I don't think I helped her, but I do feel I made genuine contact, and in that, she helped me.

The first time I made contact was without even meaning to. I won't go into it here, since it is not totally relevant, and I'm trying to be economic. The second time (after my teacher explained that she would be now "moving towards the light") I simply intended to reach out to her, while deep in meditation, and I suddenly felt a wave of euphoria that did not subside, but on the contrary, slowly bloomed. At the same time, I "saw" this image/feeling of her in the midst of euphoric rapture, and I remembered how much she loved sensation, and how much she reveled in all kinds of sensation and emotion. Well, she was presently floating in a sea of "divine light". This light was also a kind of solvent that her whole being was dissolving into. You know when you're having a great massage or in a hot tub, and you feel like you could just dissolve away into the pleasure, as if its literally melting you? Well that was exactly what was happening to her, but with the sea of the Holy Spirit. And I, by sympathy, was experiencing a taste of it. At one point, I couldn't meditate anymore, my bliss was so strong. I eventually lost contact with her, but just rode the pulsating waves of ecstasy. I have taken the drug ecstasy before, so I do know what it feels like, and this was just as intense, but better, because it was REAL. The thought occurred to me, "Whoa, I think God just passed me a joint, and DAMN, he's got some good shit!" I've never felt anything like that before.

After, I was contemplating the fact that whatever our beliefs, we all are dissolved into this ocean of divine light at death. Plus, it struck me that it is possible to experience this "dissolution" while still alive, and some have given this the name "samadhi". This has really made me feel motivated to achieve this. Especially after seeing the harsh reality of what I am at present.

Anyway, I hope this was interesting to someone. And I continue to meditate, if only to let go of myself in the breath for the briefest of moments.


This post has been edited by flyingmojo: Feb 23 2010, 12:01 AM

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

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