It was no accident that you were one of the first goals I tackled for the year. I’d like to think the universe knew I needed to learn some Zen fundamentals before I got too far into this crazy year, because boy, oh boy did the lessons come in handy when stuff didn’t go my way! When I first heard about you 2 years ago, I knew that I would have to find a way to get to you one day- I knew it was something my soul required. Who doesn’t want to spend a week in silence with no phone or computer at a Buddhist zen center nestled in the mountains?
So I put you on my “365 til 30” goal list because I thought…what better thing to explore before 30 then the silence of my own head!
You were quite the experience, to say the least! Definitely one of the most beautiful and exhausting (I say that with love) 7 days of my life. My highlights from my time with you..
Being awakened every morning at 5:20 by a person ringing a bell beckoning me to the Zendo (meditation hall) to meditate for an hour in the dark- if I didn’t have to sit upright during this period I would have surely slept through it. But once I stopped complaining about being up so early I fell in love with starting the day this way. There is something powerful about that whole meditation thing!
Getting assigned to clean toilets in the guest cabins as part of my work program. Let me tell you, it was such a joy! I’ve decided that considering I don’t clean my own toilet at home, this had to be some sort of karmic joke. But once I stopped complaining about how gross it was (to myself since I wasn’t able to speak to anyone) I started to lose my emotional response to the situation. By day four, I was cleaning toilets with a damn smile on my face.
The last highlight was bathing nude with Buddhist monks. Probably the only time in my life I will be embarrassed because I HAD a bikini wax. Oh the stares I got!
All in all it was one of the best experiences of my life but also one that had me asking myself what I had gotten myself into?
But my absolute favorite thing about you was the silence you gave me. I have never experienced such silence in my life and it was exactly what my crazy head needed.
Although I quickly learned that a crazy head with no distractions other than its own thoughts is a scary place for a few days until it settles down.
This quote from the Buddha sums up my feelings about you-
“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell”.
I sincerely hope we meet again Tassajara…