Hey friends and family,
Today is monday, signifying one week since I arrived at the Shambala Buddhist retreat center. The fact that I remember how to say and spell Shambala means a lot! It took be at least 3 days to accomplish that, it used to be "S....ala... Buddhism"!!
Mondays are always days off here, so I spent the day just bumming around. Its pretty isolated, and I had hoped to go to the beach with a few of the others who work/volunteer here, however they left before I emerged, so alas I was stranded. But no worries, it was a good day! It meant I was able to sleep in (we had a workshop here for the past 4 days, and then last night a few of us had a lagit. dance party, more on that later) till 10am!! I was pretty proud of myself for that. Go for a run that nearly killed me, I am not a morning runner, and do some reading and e-mailing.
I also walked down to the waterfall where there is a fish feeder thing, I am not sure quite how it works, well I have a guess, but if anyone knows I would love to hear from you. I included a photo below.
The fish thing at the falls
I am reading a book about Siddartha right now, the book is non-fiction, but its still a good read to get a better idea of the general idea of the beginning of Buddhism. I just finished Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh, which was fabulous! His philosophy just resonated so well with me! He is Zen Buddhist for those of you not up to date on your Buddhism types! Similar to how there are many different types of christianity, there are also many different types of Buddhism.
The people at the center here are really great. I have had some amazing conversations with both staff and participants of the past workshop that took place here. Everyone is super open and happy to answer my never ending supply of questions too: "Why does your flag look like that?", "Why does Shambala buddhism have a leader?", "why do you chant during practice (communal meditation sessions)?", "Why do some of the chants refer to Lords and Gods? I don't like that!", and so on! I will let you know when some cracks, but I really don't think that will happen, its such a warm and friendly atmosphere that promotes doulbt rather then blind acceptance, which I love!
DJ spin that track!
So back to the dance party, one of the staff here who just arrived here from Kentucky a few days before I did, is a DJ, so we have been wanting to rock a dance party for a long time, and last night was the night! He set up all his equipment in the office and we (him and several other staffers including myself) rocked it out! It was great fun and we were all sweating buckets! It was great to break the stereotype that even I have that Buddhists are always so chilled our and peaceful sitting crossed legged creatures, hells no! Well, at least not last night!
Moving and Grooving
I have been rocking the meditation though. I meditate for at least an hr everyday here, which is great! I really enjoy it, and the other day I laughed randomly during meditation which was super awesome! I feel like there is a little kid in me here! I have been smiling and laughing so much more...it's like my happier state that was always lurking below all the stressness that formed with school is starting to emerge again! That may sound a little cheesy but whatever, ROck on!
Hope your all doing well, and as always, I love hearing from you all, even about your "boring" lives, which really aren't boring for me! Peace Love and Happiness.