Zen and self sacrifice

I’ve just returned from a 4 day silent Zen retreat, called a sesshin. I’ve never been away from my family so long and I’ve never loved them more than I did after spending these 4 days in meditation. This retreat was no snoozer; there was work involved (service) and lots of walking as well as sitting still. And yet I ended up feeling deeply rested and nourished. So what is the difference, I ask, between this experience and my usual experience of motherhood, which is also service and roughly the same amount of physical activity? If you answer “my mind” you would be right. But what makes my state of mind so impossible to manage in ordinary life?

I study the re-entry process for the answer to my question.

Arriving home, as I said, it was glorious to see my husband and my child and my dog. They listened moderately well as I described the highlights of my experience, and then recounted their days without me. I felt relaxed and appreciative. The house looked fine when I came in but as I settled in, began unpacking, I began to discover all those misplaced objects that clutter my brain. Putting them away, I still felt relaxed and appreciative. As in the Zen retreat, I just did what I was doing, little internal commentary, just did my job, counting my blessings. My darling child kept me company, letting me in on what was on her mind at every instant. She became the commentary that I had spent the days clearing. Before long, I lost track of what I was doing.

Mindfully, I let her know that I was having trouble, engaged her in tasks to help her learn responsibility. yes, it worked. Then, mindfully, I observed my vow to sit (meditate) for 30 minutes and practice yoga. I regained my focus.

then walking the dog dinner husband wanting to make a separate kid dinner and i’m trying not to control but i can’t stand spoiling the child mindful comment seems controlling breathgin minfdul whoops acting out critical critical mindlefull child is humming in the middle of conversation mindful irritation setting limit or is it me should i be nice? after all i just got back but husband looks depressed he can’t follow conversation laundry no separate self must be put away check email later don’t forget piano practice too much for dinner mindfull of belly fullmind unsatisfied confused. mineful. we are trying to talk about our feelings, using colors. it is working it is very hard…mindmindmind

Do you get the picture? No, of course not, I realize that. Back to my cushion. It helps. It really does.

Happy New Year!


One thought on “Zen and self sacrifice

  1. So great that you went to a meditation retreat!!! In the past I did many meditation retreats myself and felt very similar when coming home: So much more peaceful. Every time I came back I wished everyone could experience the beautiful stillness and inner love that cannot be described in words. Although I must say I feel a very similar love with my baby now, even though the resting part is missing. However, after a short period I always went back to my regular routine: The task was always “how to prolong the inner peace in the every days life”?

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