Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, July 2006

Back now from my brief trip to Cornwall, in the Hudson Valley, where I go with my Zen group for an annual retreat. This year I signed up for a fairly rigorous one: up at 4:20 a.m., then meditation throughout the day, interspersed with services, exercise and work. Meals were in the formal ritual style, with small portions of excellent, fresh vegetarian food. We kept silent as much as possible.

There's a real beauty in living communally, even under trying (and hot!) circumstances. The challenging practice brings you face-to-face with your own mind: its tricks, its deceptions, all the roiling emotions you feel when under pressure.

I took this photo during one of our exercise periods, when I walked through the village. (We were told to avoid technology, but I made a brief exception for my digital camera!) I loved the facade of this apartment building, with its graceful symmetry.

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