August 23, 2016

First sesshin experience!


I know I have not updated in a long time but that was mainly because of my studies-which is right now over and I passed with flying colors-Yaay!
First and foremost, friends and Romans, here is a short summary of my first ever sesshin!
I arrived in the cute little town of Brugge and through the hustle and bustle of the ultra touristic city, I entered this building which used to be a Carmelite monastery. Interesting, isn't it? It was very quiet and peaceful inside. We had a friendly welcome and everyone was assigned their rooms after a nice small banquet with tea and cookies: yes, we are in Belgium after all :) People love eating and drinking and they always do it with gusto!
The rooms were quiet clean and had a very lovely view-as you too can see in this picture. After we got settled in, the marathon started!
I tried not to get too caught up with the physical strain of sitting zazen for hours, all weekend but boy is it hard to ignore! My back was cracking, my legs even my arms and shoulders were hurting so bad. Nonetheless I bit the bullet and I am glad I stuck with it. I attended all the sessions and despite the discomfort I enjoyed every moment of it.
I also attended my first oryoki. Again I was a little out of my comfort zone, not knowing what to do and constantly afraid of doing the wrong thing, but the calmness of those around me was contagious and after a few minutes I too relaxed and let things run their course without maniacally worrying about them going wrong. That is the whole point after all isn't it? :)
Here is an image of my self made oryoki set! I am pretty proud of it because I spent quite some time making it. I will have to remake one of the napkins because it proved to be too small but it is fine. I had also made my own zafu however that one turned out to be a big mistake. It looks like a sad mutant of a zafu and I need to re-make it too. Still, I am grateful to it for I sat on it all through the sesshin and it was not too uncomfortable. It just looks like a mutant zafu that's all.
I used every minute of our free time lying on my back and trying to relax my muscles. Once the weekend was over I thought i would feel free and happy to go back home. On the contrary I was overcome by this sadness for a moment, like saying goodbye to a good friend. That is when I realized I enjoyed my weekend in Brugge more than I thought I did.
Next sesshin? I will definitely be there!

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