In my friend’s New York City apartment. Tea to my right. A book splayed open on the window sill. Empty pizza boxes on the kitchen counter. Children enjoying their weekly screen time in the next room.
In this moment, it’s impossible to miss the luminosity within all of it. The sirens, the pings of a phone receiving texts, the faint chirps of spring birds wafting through a cracked window. All of it alive in the same way. All of it given life, given existence, through the same life force.
Yesterday, the retreat I was attending ended. My commitment is to attend two retreats a year to nourish my practice. Given how often I’m in the teacher’s seat, this commitment is about supporting others’ practice as well.
We can only offer what arises out of our direct experience. Otherwise all that’s being offered are flimsy ideas. Shells of experience rather than the heart of it.
And that’s the power of retreat, isn’t it? We always have access to the same direct experience of the luminosity of all things. And on retreat the consciousness that can sometimes appear to live in the background of all experience comes to the foreground. That is the gift of retreat. We remember.
We are all conditioned to get caught up in the content of our lives. To focus our attention on what we are aware of, rather than the awareness itself. In that habit, what’s most primary seems to drop to the background of our experience.
Like walking through the streets of New York City, brushing against scurrying people, and seeing lots of separate bodies. Rather than moving through space experiencing the same blood, flowing. The same breath, breathing.
Here. There. Everywhere. All beings animated by the same thing – which is not a separate ‘thing’ at all. All of it here. All of it now. All of it shared.
When we feel as though we’ve lost touch with what’s most primary, we suffer. We long to feel peaceful and while that longing pulls at us, we get confused about which direction to go.
We are habituated to move outward into the objects of our experience for fulfillment. To find that peace that we long for. We focus on the objects while the luminosity of the objects appears to fall to the background and gets lost in the noise of our experience.
We forget the shared blood. We only see the separate bodies. We long for another body while forgetting that we’re the same body. The same blood. We become the current in the sea seeking the ocean.
So this morning I’m singing the praises of retreat. The heart’s arms extended in hallelujah, gratitude abounds. Awareness shines at the forefront of all experience.
What is more important than remembering what’s most important?
Retreats remind us. They wipe the glasses clean – the ones we’ve forgotten we’re even wearing. In seeing clearly, the satisfaction of what’s most primary, the inherent fulfillment of our shared being, is illuminated. The light of our shared being shines through the pores of all things. Ever present luminous awareness flooding everything that is.
In the name of remembering what’s most important to you – in the name of your greatest longing and the fulfillment of that longing, I hope you’ll give yourself the gift of remembrance. The gift of receiving. I hope you’ll give yourself the gift of retreat. We’re offering two this summer. All are welcome.
In this glorious existence in which the light of Awareness animates all things, everyone, everything, is infinitely welcome. Awareness does not discriminate. Retreat is simply one microcosm of that open embrace that is always in the backdrop of our experience, ready to come to the foreground as we are willing. As we are open to remembering.
You are invited to join us: