The bus drives away leaving darkness. I stumble down the rough drive until, turning a corner, lights, greetings. After supper the retreat begins in silence. The days have a pattern: meditate, walk, listen, question, discuss.
sound of the gong
By the second afternoon backs begin to ache. Behind the Buddha rain and sunlight cross the mountain; rainbows shimmer in the mist; the farmer tends his sheep. We settle into stillness.
in the silence
intense irritation flips
As the week moves on, assumptions are questioned. What do we know about time, space, ourselves and the world? Attitudes are shaken, common sense challenged. Feelings of outrage, of wanting to leave. We take comfort in food, walk down to the lake where rams with ripe testicles eye ewes across the fence. In the water mountain reflections shatter in ripples.
Something shifts in my solid world view. Earnestness cracks into laughter. The trains are disrupted by engineering works so I leave early, return up the drive in grey dawn
hide the mountain
hum of morning chants