Solo retreat, together

Dear Friends,

 ‘If for company you find a wise and prudent friend who leads a good life, you should, overcoming all impediments, keep his company joyously and mindfully.

– Dhammapada verse, 328

..and so we have been touched by the response we’ve had from many of our Dhamma friends, thank you for emailing and staying in touch with us.

Nick and I have been particularly busy in our fields of work, Martin has also been busy juggling the finances so we understand the stresses and strains everyone is experiencing at the moment.

We realise that many of us will be working from home or self- isolating for perhaps two weeks. It might be that we will all be at home in the near future.

Speaking to a Dhamma friend yesterday, it occurred to me what a wonderful opportunity this presents for us to do our own retreat at home. Many of us have done this already many times in the past. 

If for company you cannot find a wise and prudent friend who leads a good life, then, like a king who leaves behind a conquered kingdom, or like a lone elephant in the elephant forest, you should go your way alone.

– Dhammapada verse, 329

Elephants in Sri Lanka

What comes to mind when thinking of practicing is,

When you live in a monastery, live like you are living on your own. When you live alone, live like you are living in a monastery.’

It is a reminder to not fall in to old habits of group mentality (perhaps over-enthusiasm) when one is in a community, or laziness and lack of commitment to the practice when one is living alone. So taking this on board, we thought we could introduce a retreat timetable to follow at home amending it to suit your circumstances. Many of you spending more time at  home now have the good fortune and flexibility to integrate meditation and Dhamma into your schedule.

So as another week unfolds tomorrow, we thought we would introduce this so you can start integrating it however you can to your daily lives, perhaps every day or once a week. 

Please click here for: ALBA ‘Solo retreat, together’ time table

If you wish to have the sense of community practicing, there is a meditation App called Insight Timer that can be used to log in when you are meditating giving a sense of group practice. 

We hope you do not see this as another chore or a thing to do. Do remember to enjoy the practice. As at first you must enjoy the practice;, when you enjoy the practice you start doing the practice. The more you keep doing the practice on a daily basis you realise that you are actually living the practice. As you keep on living the practice, you eventually become the practice itself. You can then no longer separate yourself from the practice. Each moment of each day it is just practicing, being mindful, spreading loving kindness so that that is who you become, nothing else but a medium through which the practice operates in the universe. A blessing to you and all living beings.

Wishing you all the strength and courage to cultivate inner peace and clarity whilst the worldly winds continue to lash at our doors – we remain observing our inner world – trying to just understand this – that’s all – we don’t have to make sense of the news or the crisis – we just do that much, by doing so, we no longer become a burden to ourselves, our loved ones or society and we are able to help ourselves, our loved ones, society in the most beneficial  of ways. 

So just keep living the practice

With Metta and blessing of the Dhamma to all

22 March 2020