Remember the mosaics I mentioned yesterday — the ones adorning the lobby of the erstwhile hospital and Nazi-era hotel where I’m staying? Well, here they are.
See what I mean about the naked Aryan lads? Nazi iconography was SO gay.
Things are going well so far. I’m settling into the routine of the retreat, having ironed out the basic necessities like where to find the showers and how to get (instant) coffee. The food is actually quite good — rice, lentils, bread, pasta, lots of vegetables and crisp, fresh salad greens. Yesterday the monks who do the cooking prepared a sort of stew with tofu, green olives and mushrooms, and I loved it. I can never have too many olives.
Yesterday was a procession of meditation sessions interspersed with a dharma talk about the practices of following the breath and walking mindfully, an outdoor relaxation exercise, and a “sharing” session to relate our observations so far. The focus of the retreat seems mostly to be on caring for ourselves and our own spiritual happiness, so we can then employ that happiness and calmness when we relate to students.
Oh, and just so you can see an alternative to Nazi-era mosaics, here are some cloth hearts that were sewn and put on display to represent the physically and mentally handicapped patients at the hospital that used to be here before World War II. Apparently many of them did not survive Nazi rule. The hearts are displayed near the mosaics to create a “dialogue” between them.