Mid-Winter E- News Letter
Trusting this message finds you well and warm at this time of Mid-Winter.
Our Year 2020 is certainly passing by as we now find ourselves in August.
Because of the COVID-19 situation, it is very easy to feel that our year has not quite happened or been put on hold or held back!
At a certain level with regards to activities and events this is the case; however from another perspective, our year is still happening.
Our moments keep passing, turning into minutes, into hours, into days, into weeks, into months, into seasons and in only a few months the year will be over.
As a point of wise reflection and consideration, every moment is important and precious as it is a moment in time which is part of the process which is our life.
Even if there are things that we would rather be doing, we can still be Mindful, Kind-ful, Caring and Wise.
As I have mentioned previously, this period of time is much like a Retreat!
Retreats are special times, to retreat or move back from usual activities and busyness. A Retreat is a time to slow down, live more simply and mindfully.
As we retreat from busyness and a lot of worldly activity, we move towards calm, clarity, care and wisdom insights. This is most productive with regards to what can be ultimately more important and meaningful for us all.
During the ten years that I spent as a Buddhist Monk, the general way of life was very much like living on a retreat, that still involved daily work duties and various responsibilities and activities, all done with mindful-care.
For three months each year – Buddhist Monastics take on a Vassa Retreat, a specific period of time from the Full Moon in July to the Full Moon in October. This Vassa (Rainy Season) Retreat is a period of more focused practice of Meditation, Study and Learning, as well as extra practices of renunciation such as eating or sleeping less.
My last e-newsletter to you all mentioned the idea of the Vassa Vipassana Meditation Retreat 2020 as a Non-Residential Retreat suggestion. Here on the Far North Coast of NSW, fifteen people responded to my invitation to take up this Retreat (limited numbers due to social distancing in the Meditation Hall).
We have now had two of the four Meditation Day Retreat sessions held at Bodhi Tree Forest Monastery near Lismore NSW, with teachings and guidance from Venerable Pannyavaro. These Retreat Day sessions provide instruction and inspiration to continue our ongoing Daily Meditation practice at home together with other practices and disciplines that we may be doing.
With the success of the Vassa-Vipassana Meditation Retreat, my hope is that it becomes a yearly practice for those that are interested to develop and deepen their Mindfulness – Insight practice over a three month period.
Whilst we are all on the COVID-19 Retreat for 2020, I do hope that we can all use this special time mindfully and wisely and not feel that life is on hold, as it is certainly continuing to happen.
In many ways most of us have had periods in our life where there has been a ‘down-time’ or ‘lul’ in the usual routine of things. This may be been through a loss of work, loss of health, loss of a loved one, or even loss of focus and function. However these times need to be accommodated and lived through. Indeed our Humanity has been through such periods in the history of human experience.
Like the old saying from the World Wars of the child asking their parent or grandparent; “What did you do in the Great War?”
So too in time we may be asked; “So what did you do during the Great Pandemic?”
Hopefully we can say that; “I did Mindfulness” or “I did Patience and Compassion” or “I did Forbearance and Forgiveness” or “I did Kindness and Wisdom”.
These are amongst many things that we can proactively engage and develop to make this period particularly productive – the possibility and choice is ours!
Whilst at this time, we give thought to the many people that have lost their lives, that have lost loved ones, that have lost business, work and income, that have been sick or that are sick; I do hope that we continue to live Mindfully and Wisely, making good use of our time which can include time for formal Mindfulness as Meditation. Due to Social Distancing and limitations on meetings, the WELL-AWARE-NESS weekly Meditation Group and Regular Retreats remain on hold. I will certainly let you know when it becomes possible to again meet.
I remain available for Face-to-Face sessions by Phone, Skype or Zoom. Happy to be a support through this challenging time.
Wishing Good Health, Wellness and Wisdom.