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Sometimes it’s great to get away. Life feels a bit too rote and a shake up sharpens the mind. On the other hand, too much travel leads to a craving for routine and structure.
I’ve been on the road most of the month.
I’ve been swimming on Cape Cod, with the very real concern on a shark on my tail and swimming shark-free in the Stockbridge Bowl in Western Massachusetts.
What a blessed life I’m living. I led a week intensive exploring the technologies of meditation and intuition with the “Still, Small Voice Within” retreat and a nine-day immersion with a group of amazing yoga teachers exploring how to bring the practice of meditation out into the world.
I hope your summer is filled with unexpected pleasures.
Don't Just Do Something...
While in college and grad school I lived and worked on a farm. Not a play farm. A real one.
We grew corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa on about 1,000 acres. I was the livestock manager, overseeing a 'farrow-to-finish' operation, breeding and raising hogs. I spent countless hours driving and maintaining a wide variety of tractors, trucks, farm implements and the occasional combine.
We were also dedication to the practice of meditation. Twice a day, no matter what, we meditated for twenty minutes.
In Spring we were always rushing to get the fields ready for planting. From first light to after dark we ran plows, disks, a culta-multure, the corn planter and a seed drill. But at an appointed hour we’d shut everything down, pile into a pick up truck, drive to a corner of a field and sit.
One afternoon I was setting up a piece of complicated equipment - a maze of drive belts, tension pulleys and bearings.
I could not, no matter how I tried, set it up correctly. Every time I went through the process, something was wrong.
After the fourth or fifth attempt, I was so frustrated I started kicking the tires of tractor.
I glanced at my watch and realized it was time for meditation. I stomped off and sat quietly for twenty minutes with my mantra.
When I was done I made my way back to the machinery and studied the jigsaw puzzle in front of me. In about ten seconds, I saw what was needed.
I was raised a Quaker. There’s a saying they like to throw around:. "Don't just do something. Sit there."
By pausing, I experienced something Einstein famously declared: "No problem was ever solved in the same consciousness that created it."
Yesterday I had a backlog of 85 emails, this newsletter to write, a dharma talk to put together, two copy deadlines, a presentation to assemble and an already-packed schedule.
Fortunately, I remembered to not ‘do something’.
I sat there.
When I opened my eyes the to-do list was still waiting for me but the path looked a little more clear.
The farm I lived and worked on is now one of the largest Community Supported Agriculture organizations in the country, delivering biodynamic and organic vegetables to it's members in the midwest. John Peterson, the owner of the farm and my mentor, is an amazing visionary, artist, writer and story-teller. A film was done on him a few years ago, called "The Real Dirt on Farmer John."
You can learn more about John and Angelic Organics here: https://angelicorganics.com
The IMCW Fall Vipassana Meditation Retreat: October 13 - 20, 2017
The more dynamic your rest, the more dynamic your activity.
Step back from your life, pause deeply, and you’ll see more clearly.
In my opinion, there’s no better investment of time and fortune than a formal meditation retreat where you restrain from habitual activity and immerse deeply into moment-to-moment presence.
This fall I’ll be joined by a wonderful teaching team: La Sarmiento, Pat Coffey and Sebene Selassie.
Jess Frey will be down from Kripalu Center leading twice-daily yoga to support your sitting and walking practice.
Pearlstone Retreat Center is on a farm and and offers visits with goats and chickens and walks in the Maryland woods west of Baltimore.
You’ll also have a few interviews with a teacher over the course of the week to help you stay present to your practice and your deepest intention.
Fresh Photos From This Month
Big skies, big water and a bountiful planet. Berkshire Mountain sky at my dear buddy Dharani’s memorial service. Above the Great Falls. Potomac River sunrise. A morning with more mid-Atlantic humidity. A rare cool morning with mist on the Potomac River. A even more rare morning with clear, sharp light. Vrksanana Pose. Taking refuge in Sangha. Cape Cod. Low, low tide. Cape Cod. Mom? Mom?!? Great Falls, Virginia.
Video: Moving Meditation on the River
I didn't have time to do a fresh video this month so I thought I'd share a favorite.
This five-minute meditation follows a fogged-in morning paddle on the Potomac River.
The Inquiry Intensive: Explore the Questions That Can Change Your Life
Saturday, August 12th, 9:30-4:30 at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Arlington
Contemplating the right questions can help you: * Change your perspective. * Make important decisions. * Solve problems. * Point your attention toward your true nature.
This is a highly experiential and interactive retreat.
You'll learn how to use intuitive inquiry as a tool for transformation, the meditation techniques that help calm the mind and cultivate clear-seeing and a model for intuitive exploration. For more information and to register online:
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