August 23, 2016
First sesshin experience!
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? :)
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!