All that we're looking for in life - all the happiness, contentment and peace of mind - is right here in the present moment. Our very own awareness is itself fundamentally pure and good. The only problem is that we get so caught up in the ups and downs of life that we don't take the time to pause and notice what we already have.
--Mingyur Yongey Rinpoche
This is a very special time for us around the world. It's a difficult situation. Many will experience a state of solitary that they're not used to, whilst others get to (or got to) spend much time with family. On the other hand, there is the uncertainty, we don't know how long current situation will last and what is going to happen next. The world seems even busier and noisier even though shops, cafes and restaurants are forced to shut. It is challenging, but if we look at it from a different angle, it provides a rare opportunity for us to look at our lives, think about other people and re-evaluate the nature.
The word 'retreat' means 'to drawback'. In Tibetan Buddhism tradition, a retreat is an intensive training course for practitioners to be completely isolated from the outside world, to concentrate on studying Buddhist teachings and meditation, usually 3 years minimum. I don't think we have as long as 3 years, either do we want to. :) But I do think this is time for a stay at home retreat, whether by ourselves or with family. This is time to pause, as if all the external factors that we so used to rely on for bringing ourselves excitements and contentment have disappeared, as if all we have is ourselves, what do we do? We drawback to ourselves, the infinite resource that we've possessed all along. We bring about our awareness.
With regard to uncertainty, we have actually always been in a state of not-knowing and of uncertainty. That's the nature of existence. We just didn't notice it, because we were so used to thinking as if everything will carry on as it always has. Yes we hit bumps from time to time and we feel frustrated when incidents happen, but our mind has been conditioned to expecting the country or the world to function as it 'should be', so we have the basic security, to feel sheltered and protected. We're all too familiar with the phrase 'live in the moment', yet we never practised it or experienced it to know how important it is. It's nothing about negative or positive thinking, it's all about feeling it as it is. This is a rare occasion when we have the chance to strip the old ways of thinking and living. All that habitual behaviour can be changed with practice, step by step, we will come out of this home retreat with greatest confidence that's matured with acceptance of uncertainty.
In the next few posts, I'll share exercises and practices on body and mind.