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Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Micro (do-it-yourself) Spiritual Retreat

The more Buddhist philosophy I read, the more I realize how little of life's truths I know. Even the truths I have learned often become lost again in daily life. I try to keep up my meditation practices. I have tired various meditation techniques. I favour my own unique mix. This micro-retreat is for anyone who enjoys meditation. One does not have to be a Buddhist to attempt this micro-retreat. This is my own unique way of combining meditations.

The Micro (do-it-yourself)  Spiritual Retreat

I am a do-it yourself kind of a girl. This applies to my spirituality. I like to find truths along the way of my own spiritual path. I don't need to hold anyone's hand to meditate. I read, search out spiritual leaders to learn from, but ultimately, like everyone else, I travel the spiritual path alone. Though, I must say, I do enjoy attending weekly group meditations when I can and retreats away are the best.

Spring is a time of rebirth and thus, one needs to rebirth one's mind (I wish I could disappear into a Buddhist Monastery to expedite the process but alas I have to find that mind of mine in the forests surrounding my home). I recommend one find a little space in nature, bring a hot or cool beverage, depending on the weather, and a picnic blanket. Sit.
Pippi and I happy to have found the perfect spot for a micro retreat.
  •  My first suggestion is a little unconventional for most meditators but it works. It really helps one clear out the mind of pressing worries before one starts to seriously attempt to meditate. My philosophy is to calm the immediate concerns about one's life so one can truly enjoy the mediation process. To do this I suggest one go through one's life mandala to see if one is on track. This is done in one's mind--a virtual check list. Go through a mental breakdown of the mandala and take note on which areas you are currently working on according to your set goals and which areas need more work. Awareness is the key. Be aware of what you are doing right and what needs a little more attention.
*If you haven't already written down and know your life mandala then do that first (prior to the mini-retreat). Pen and paper or a lap top needed for this step. A life Mandala is an overall map of your life--all the areas you must include and pay attention to. My mandala includes spiritual quests, career, health, fitness, hobby pursuits, home and even personal upkeep:grooming and fashion. I list the most simplified basic goal (s) in this area. If one can keep on top of the most basic, simplified goal (s) in any one area of one's life--one's mandala is in order and life does not become overwhelming. The mandala is fluid, thus it must be updated and changed as one's life changes. Nothing is set in stone. However, the most basic goals should not change too much (if they truly are simplified and attainable they are usually somewhat flexible)

Pippi enjoying the tea ceremony meditation.
  • Next step is to put the Mandala out of one's mind. Clear the mind and meditate. A tea ceremony meditation is a lovely way to start. Sip a piping hot cup of tea very slowly, very quietly. Just sit and sip and enjoy the sensual experience of the tea. Think of nothing, just enjoy the sensations of sipping hot tea from your cup. Take time.
  • The next step is to seriously clear the mind of pressing baggage before a longer meditation. I find it helpful to deal with my life's problems through visitation/visualization meditations. I perform a compassion meditation. In my mind, I receive each and every person whom I have an issue with. I take from them every negative emotion I detect them as having and recycle these emotions into compassion. It is calming to realize that those that cause us the most pain are often in pain themselves. If I am having issues with myself then I do the same thing for myself with my own negative emotions (yes, I'm always on my own hot seat). This visualization should be done before the nothingness meditation. 
  • Finally, true meditation time. There are many different ways to meditate but at some point one needs to completely clear the mind to nothingness.  This is something one must research on their own--how to meditate. I personally practice a technique I learned through Vipassana meditation: focusing on sensations throughout the body. Eventually the mind clears and one's mind is at peace indefinitely until one decides to end the meditation. Mediate for as long as you wish. 
Once the mind is clear, pack up your blanket and head home with a fresh mind.

Note: you will not be able to do the serious "nothingness" meditation with your little darlings. If you bring your babes, the retreat will most likely end after the tea!
Pippi and I after having finished our micro-spiritual retreat--time for a cuddle and nearly ready to walk down the mountain and head back home.

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2 Comments:

Blogger theresa_hart said...

Are you guys in your jammies?

June 3, 2012 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Mix Hart said...

Just the Pip--this was taken just before her bed time. And the location is directly behind our home--our back yard. And my ensemble? No jammies, just puma low-riding sweats--Betty Butt crack meditates ;) Notice there are no shots of me meditating from behind?!

June 3, 2012 at 11:03 AM  

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