Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Last night we went to dinner with one of Dave's coworkers, Lorraine. She had just come from a weekend retreat led by Buddhist monk and writer Thich Nhat Hanh, and she was brimming with the new awareness that comes after three days of practice. She talked for more than half an hour about the workshop, which was geared toward teachers and youth workers, and all the things she'd heard that impressed her. You could hear a new quality of mindfulness in her voice and see it in her face.
Being the killjoy that I am, I told her it would all pass. And really, it always does. Whenever you leave a retreat you feel so permeated with calmness, and then you have to go to the grocery store or sit down to pay bills and that calmness begins to seep away. But for me, that's part of the lesson of retreats -- the return to the real world. Re-entry. Impermanence.
Anyway, I began thinking about my own practice. I haven't been sitting at all lately. I went to the local Buddhist center once, back in January, and despite the fact that it's within walking distance I haven't returned. I always think, "Well, I'll go later this week," and then there's always a reason I "can't." I haven't even been doing any reading about the dharma. I suppose at this point I have genuinely lapsed.
I don't mean to be a dilettante. I want to practice meaningfully. So my goal for the coming week is to sit a little, to get back to the Buddhist center at least once, and maybe to find one or two new dharma books to read here and there.
(Photo: Spring blossoms in Notting Hill.)