So I sat my first weekend-long retreat this past weekend. If you ever get the chance to attend an extended retreat, I highly suggest you do so. And if you do, here's a bit of insider information.
- Sitting for a great length of time is really not bad at all. At no point did I think to myself, "You know... they have my money and really would not care if I just got up and left." Also, my feet never fell asleep. This had not been the case before. I don't know if it's because I have been sitting for a while or it it's because I've been exercising more or what. But I was expecting complete gimpiness but it never occurred.
- Meals are a bit quarky but really, really cool. There are bowls involved and proper placement of stuff. Also you have to eat everything you take. Not too difficult for a chubber like me!
- The rest periods are the worst part and can be somewhat awkward at the beginning. Really, the only rules you have to stick to is keeping silent. So you can wander around town if you want. Most people just napped. It was like walking into a cat lady's house on a hot afternoon. Everyone just found a place and crashed. I walked around the block and discovered that the cats in the neighborhood surrounding the Zen Center aren't as friendly as the cats in my neighborhood. HISSSSSSSSSS!
Well that's about all I can tell you. If and when the chance arises, I am sure I will sit another retreat. I can't share with you the effects but just know that they are there.
A special thanks to everyone who made this possible: Thom Pastor, Judy Roitman and Tom Davis for being good bosses; Jane Gnojek for all the yummy food; and Rita Sooby for being a patient cushion neighbor, not caring that I kept getting whacked with the whacking stick (what's that called?) or sploshing my water all over the place, making a big, wet mess. There were a lot of other people there, too, and without them I would not have had the experience I did. THANKS EVERYBODY!