Day 12, actually, if my flight had landed on time for the check-in day.
⦿ This day featured a final dhamma talk at 4:45am from Mr. Goenka, followed by breakfast, socialization, and cleaning up. It was a buoyant atmosphere, but the descent had begun…
⦿ N. gave me an hour ride to the Fresno airport with a French mathematician. We enjoyed conversation on the way. After being dropped off, I headed to the fabled Yosemite National Park for a couple days in a rented car. Having planned this months in advance, I thought I could spend a couple of days in solitude at Yosemite as a place to integrate my recent experience and buffer before the return to busyness and a world of noise. It was mostly a bust. I fulfilled none of my three main activities—meditation, journaling, or hiking—due to various reasons, one of which was that the lodging was anything but quiet and solitary. There were whole school field trips there. lol. I wish I could have been in the backcountry.
And it felt very empty being in a new national park without Trish. We have explored so much of this country together.
A few pictures I took, including a blanket of morning snow over Half Dome.
⦿ Returning home was a challenge. Not the home part, but the deluge of responsibilities and commitments, and the stimulation from the roar of 10,000 things. I knew that tender inner place of focus, quiet, and equanimity would be somewhat lost as my attention became swept up. This was sorrowful. For the first time in my life, I had seen and walked a few steps on the path toward true wholeness and peace through the touch of samadhi that leads to what is already and always present… by way of dissolution of the misery-making individual self.
I felt thrown back into the river with its unrelenting force of momentum. There is little ability to spend time on its banks. But that, too, is a misperception, as there is no moment in which the Creator is not fully available.
⦿ Three months later, I have meditated diligently daily, and longer than I had before the retreat. 85 consecutive days of the past three months have been spent alcohol-free. Yet, I have not yet been able to cultivate that stability of attention and clarity of experience that I tasted at the retreat. But, I feel changed. And I sense new possibility in me, one outgrowth of which is this journal.
And the great work continues…