Earlier this week, I learned about an opportunity to participate in an online meditation retreat this weekend. The live retreat will be streamed from somewhere in California, "in the Bay area," on Pacific Daylight Time. I decided to register, and my procrastination in doing so saved me $20, as the price of the event went down and I discovered a discount code. All good, yes?
Somehow, however, I have to find a way to coexist with my household of workaholics, slackers, sports fanatics, yellers, drop-in guests and family members--while sitting in meditation sessions, listening to dharma talks, doing yoga, and observing Noble Silence.
I hit a small stumbling block after signing up, when I viewed the pre-retreat instructions for online attendees. This blissed-out woman sat perfectly calmly on my screen and said that I should have a neat and clean space in which to meditate and participate in the other retreat events! But I found a work-around, that accommodated my need to spend the day taking care of work responsibilities and meeting my family obligations for the weekend. My son held an oversized black plastic contractor's bag while I stuffed items from the floor and other surfaces of the room I had selected as the most meditative. "More stuffing, Mom. Less sorting. No time for that." He kindly hid the bag in the basement, where it will await my attention.
My next challenge is to quiet the to-do list tape that runs pretty much 24/7 in my head. The one that's not giving up easily on the idea of spending the weekend on the house and the yard. The one that's worried about how I'm going to continue to train for my race next weekend. The one that has just realized that I'm going to be hard pressed to fit in another two hours of writing on my novel, since Noble Silence includes refraining from written communication. But really, I regularly concern myself with these things, with little noticeable overall effect on the level of disorder that surrounds us, or the length of my life, or the literary canon.
Not procrastinating on doing a weekend meditation retreat is probably the wiser move. Either way, I don't have all the time in the world. What would I rather miss out on?
And now, if you'll excuse me, I have approximately two hours of talking left for the next two days. . .
Oh, and if anyone is interested, it's not too late to join the retreat, entitled Smile at Fear, led by Pema Chödrön, even after it starts. Click here for details. If you follow the links, you can find out about joining the online retreat in progress. Be patient, and keep trying if you don't reach the online registration page. In my experience, it goes out of commission when not being tended by a human. Be persistent. It will be worth it.