This July, I followed a course called ‘Just Sitting, Just Being’.
I enrolled on this 28-day online meditation course with Wildmind
just as I have done – on and off – for many months since 2015. The small course fee offers an email, delivered early in the day; links to several voice-guided meditations with teacher Bodhipaksa; and the option of moderated online discussion (via Google+) with other participants, worldwide. The discussion can sometimes arise from somebody’s questions about aspects of their practice, and from comments on, and appreciations of, particular teachings, tips, and reassurances.
Today I want to share not the course itself, but a flavour of the kindliness that can arise online, which I’d already encountered with another Wildmind course, ‘Living with Appreciation’. (I am still in touch with a group of friends from the 2016 LwA presentation.)
Sometimes there is quite a lot of discussion. Sometimes there’s very little – and that was what I noticed this July. And that suited me – because my circumstances would have made it difficult to “chat” regularly.
However , I decided to post this:
I am following this course while I am away on holiday touring the north of Scotland in a campervan (though we are staying at a cottage for this first week). Not only is it a holiday, a change of scenery and activity, it is also a time more or less alone with my partner (of forty years) without our usual “props” and “toys” and “timetable”, so there is plenty of room for mixed emotions as we travel together – alongside and sometimes separate, each in our own mental world.
So – I have all the time in the world to meditate and reflect, yet find it difficult to settle down to do that formerly [formally!]. There is a lot of “stuff” about “doing holidays properly”. And also stuff about where our true home is (I have a strong urge to move here, over six hundred miles north of our long-term home in eastern England). And it is also a “returning” in a soul-sense, because I had a solitary retreat in this very cottage in May 2016. The notes I made during that week are speaking to me again as I re-read them this week!
So I am continuing my recent practice of “noticing, noticing” as I go about the days, watching myself “coming back home” to this changing ageing body, this changing experience, this swirl of mud in the jar, this settling of the thoughts and emotions and sensations as I return to this moment, and this, and this. And aware of the opportunity to watch with kindness my own foibles, those of my companion, and those of all whom we meet as we travel through this ancient landscape, riven with geological faultlines and erosion and decay, and encoutering wide landscapes, new growth, and developing opportunities.
Thank you for letting me share this with you, community, and thank you for your company as we just sit, just walk, just notice together – all across the world.
The next time I accessed my computer, I found this encouraging response from a friend whom I am calling ‘Kiera’ here:
Hello Kathy, thank you so much for sharing your personal experience here with us. I can feel the intensity of your day to day moments. How lucky you are to be taking this “course” while being in a setting in which you can watch, notice, feel every aspect around and inside of you. It sounds like you are not just connecting with [xxxxxx’s] writings and meditation in the moments you are reading or listening to them, but also throughout the day. Would love to hear more! Kiera
and this is what I replied, on Thursday 27 July 2017
Hello Kiera and thank you for your encouraging and sensitive response. We had a great holiday and yes, it was an intense experience in many ways.
One thing I was “watching” was my relationship with social media (and communication in general), including my participation in this forum. We were remote from Wifi for much of the time, so I am only just transitioning back to “real life” and connection (having returned home late on Monday).
I must say that my detachment from ordinary places and activities added a magical dimension to the holiday, and embued it with even more “reality” within my experience. I found myself accessing forgotten memories of childhood and youth with a gentle kindness and acceptance – a very healing process. Long may that continue.
Now I am back home (rather wistfully looking over my shoulder to the north!) I have set myself an intention to approach my “here” life (near Cambridge, UK – a busy, high-octane, non-stop sort of place… although I am recently retired myself) with the same expansive, spacious, leisured attitude that I was privileged to experience “up there”.
Do feel free to let me know if you would like to stay in touch after the course finishes… actually, I will probably decide to do it again, because I was not able to download the meditations. Using them is a treat in store for August!!
By the way, the emails and meditations are Bodhipaksa’s offering. He is our teacher and a member of the world-wide Triratna order. xxxxxx is the whizz-kid who co-ordinates the course’s delivery into our Inboxes every day, and “moderates” this community forum. They are both amazing beings to provide this teaching for us, the Earth-community of Wildmind followers!
Kiera and I are now in touch by email , and planning how to continue our conversation. And I am feeling affirmed and “seen”, with my experience in Scotland all the more special for having been shared.