Friday, March 30, 2012

Yes, I'm still among the living

Been a busy and tired couple of days here. No photos today -- that'll have to wait until I get a chance to download them from the camera.

The retreat was great! Ayya Sobhana is incredible. I had the great joy and honor of having lunch with her and her Asheville host last Friday, before driving her to the retreat. I learned a lot about Aranya Bodhi, and we had a good chat about the possibility of my joining them. In the end, she invited me to do so when I can, which will be at least one year away. I'm planning to go out there in July for a couple of weeks, to see how I like it, and to meet the other members of the community.

At the end of the retreat, I realized that I am willing to endure any hardship in order to have the privilege of helping and learning from this woman, and no doubt from the other community members as well. I have no words to convey the respect and admiration I have for her.

Southern Dharma is a beautiful place -- which I've heard from many others who have been there. Deep in forests, far away from roads, houses, and the 'civilized' world. It's quiet, peaceful. Great for meditating. Spring was just beginning to burst forth -- I could almost watch the trees turn greener by the minute. Flowers everywhere. Warm weather after a couple of stormy days. I had two issues with the place, the first being that they don't have separate housing for men and women. Of the 6 rooms on my floor, 3 were occupied by men. That includes both bathrooms, which also service the third floor. I wasn't prepared for sharing this space with men I don't know, and found it uncomfortable. Secondly, there are stairs, and stairs, and stairs, which have to be traveled up and down 10-12 times every day! This old body rebelled at first. By the time I left, I could manage the last 2 or 3 steps to the meditation hall without having to pull myself up forcefully. Most of the time. Granted, it was good for me, but it wasn't fun.

That's it for now. Photos to follow one of these days.

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