The photos here were taken in a yurt during the retreat! We had a class here and it was actually profoundly powerful to be in there with everyone. Talk about a lot of love and good energy and empowerment in that room!
Mara and I keep thinking about last week and all those wonderful people we met and the truly beautiful experiences we had together as a group. There is something so, so powerful in talking face- to-face about the principles we try hard to cover in these short blog posts (though I’m not sure any of the ones I’ve written could be called short). But when you have not only hours, but days to dig into life changing concepts…it allows you to remove so many of the stumbling blocks that prevent people from really understanding and implementing change.
For that, we are grateful to be able to host these (and future) retreats.
Perhaps the biggest challenge comes to attendees in the form of leaving such a supportive and nurturing environment and returning back home.
Even with our attempts to allow people to practice the tools that bring healing and happiness to yourself and relationships, it is a whole other task to actually bring that into our day-to-day lives.
Of course, this is true for anyone, not just those who attend the retreat. Once you read an inspiring book or watch a perspective-altering movie, once you stumble across a powerful message on a blog or in a podcast, once you hear an empowering lesson or sermon…..how do you go about actually applying it in your life?
Chances are, your first attempts at practicing this new habit or principle will feel unnatural or fake, and may not even be that successful. You may begin to question whether or not there is really any truth to it at all, or whether you just got caught up in the moment. Or worse yet, you may determine that you just aren’t personally capable of applying it, of changing, of experiencing for yourself what others seem to have experienced on such a personal level…and so it just becomes one more reason to beat yourself up about your inadequacies and insecurities.
So, how do we handle this gap between who we are in the moment, and who we believe we can become?
This was the first phrase we heard at the beginning of nearly every single meditation at Vipassana (4 or 5 times a day for 10 days). And it was kind of relieving. Because to be honest, half the time you feel like a complete failure. Your mind wanders constantly, you find yourself focusing on the pain or the boredom or whatever else, instead of doing the work of meditation, of quieting and purifying the mind, of accessing peace. And despite all those repeated and near constant failures, each day you seem to make just a little bit of progress. During each meditation, you manage to get just a little bit further in the development of your awareness. During each meditation, you manage to focus just a little bit longer.
I think that’s why I loved hearing that phrase…“Start Again.” It was said so calmly, so confidently, so compassionately. It was like it didn’t matter that I’d failed to maintain focus for more than 30 seconds in the previous meditation – because right now, in this moment, was a new opportunity to try it again.
The last phrase we heard at the beginning of each meditation was
“You are bound to be successful. Bound to be successful.”
Two perfect bookends in the process of implementing change and achieving personal growth. Start again – no matter how many times you’ve failed before, start again. And if you are willing to do that, truly you are bound to be successful. Bound to be successful.
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