Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Half Way Point

After a rather rocky start to my retreat it is, well, what it is. There have been many distractions, both internal and external. Of course they're all internal when you get right down to it. Focus is illusive. Strangely that seems okay. I'm not sure if it's acceptance or just plain laziness. Being with whatever comes along without running too far with it is the best I can do. But it feels a lot more like apathy than equanimity.


G said...

It is what it is - truer words never said, Kris!

Simply being with the way it is right now, including feelings of focus, lack of focus, energy or laziness. We have to start somewhere, don't we? And that somewhere is always right here whatever the conditions, whether inspirational or not.

Here, I decided before the retreat started to keep it to seven days like yourself, Kris; so there's two days to go. I've been avoiding listening to music, watching TV (apart from the odd news bulletin, & surfing the Net too indiscriminately. It's been...okay!

Be well in the Dharma,


sounds like a good best to me. there are no magic formulas. the struggle to stay present is the thing. we so often want more, the memories of before now and the endless thoughts, wants, plans of after now. keep it up.

puthujjana said...

Hi G!

We aren't really programmed for this okay business, are we? It is our usual habit to run forward while looking over our shoulder as we blow right by "now".

another number,

Thanks for visiting, and for your encouragement. Yes, it is a challenge!


G said...

True enough, Kris.

We are deprogramming ourselves when meditating & being mindful aren't we?

One thing I didn't mention previously is that the talks I've listened to by Ajahn Brahm have been brilliant. One is called "Buddhism and Sects" & is a really inspirational piece on the different types of Buddhism, including a fascinating teaching on 'Buddha Nature'. It can be found on the Buddhist Society of Western Australia's website, and is well worth a listen:

I'm thinking of making such retreats a monthly occurrence, say at the beginning of each month. I find them a real boost to practice!

Be well,

puthujjana said...

Perhaps re-formating is more like it. Our original program is there beneath all the add ons. De-bugging? Hmmmm...

Ajahn Brahm is a very special teacher. I actually listened to that talk several months ago. Classic Brahm.

I've been considering a monthly retreat as well. I just need to decide on the length. I didn't seem to disrupt the family routine quite as much this time :-)


Dhamma81 said...


It's been rocky for me as well, but I'm not trying to make too much out of it. THe first day or two after it started I had to go have a breakfast meeting with the VP of the mail business I contract with. That certainly wasn't what I had in mind for a quiet retreat time but it worked out. Be well in your practice.

puthujjana said...

I think the initial difficulty in my case was simply mind balking at the idea of not getting it's way! It tends to be quite unruly at times, and I'm afraid I did a bit too much pre-planning, arranging and organizing. All that accomplished was to open the door to a lot of unrealistic expectations.


G said...

Hi Kris & Justin.

Maybe I was too easy on myself, but it wasn't so bad for me. Regular meditation, listening & reflecting on mp3 talks, not listening to music or watching TV or movies - not so bad. I even missed the new Indiana Jones movie at the local cinema because it clashed with my retreat, but so what? If I see it one day, I do, but if I don't, it doesn't really matter. (And I'm a fan of the first three movies.)

What exactly were the problems for you, Kris? Where did your mind want to wander to?!

Be well guys,

puthujjana said...

Hi G,

Things weren't bad really. For some reason I was distracted by who knows what for the first day or so. There wasn't anything I needed to be doing or anyplace I needed to be. But my mind was stuck in "scan mode". Scanning for whatever there might be to take care of or figure out or fix or...on the outside. It took a while to start to settle down. I think I was trying too hard.


G said...

Trying too hard is something that can really end up distracting us from the Way, can't it? Then again, not trying hard enough can lead to a lack of focus also. It comes down to walking the Middle Path, really, doesn't it?

That your mind did settle down after some time is proof that if stuck to, the practice of mindfulness bears fruit...eventually.

Be well, Kris.

puthujjana said...

There's a fine line between trying too hard and diligent effort. I see that my trying too hard sprang from a place of wanting to craft the perfect setting by attempting to arrange - and rearrange - "my world". LOL!! Not a wise approach for sure. But a valuable lesson which I'm sure I will have to repeat again and again.

Yes, this practice does eventually bear fruit. Of that I have no doubt.

G, thank you for taking the time to help me walk through this.