Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

Search This Blog

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Meditation Retreat in Tomales

Last weekend, we attended a retreat at Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in Tomales. It was a quiet but highly scheduled weekend, designed for people who are experienced with Easwaran’s eight point program. The retreat was in a well- refurbished old mansion in Tomales, with a couple of field trips. I found this to be a good experience, and we had beautiful weather as well.

We all arrived between 4:00 and 5:00 on Friday afternoon, and spent about an hour getting to know each other. We meditated for a half hour and had dinner. The food was good, which is not a surprise, given one of Eknath Easwaran’s earlier followers was Laurel Robertson, author of Laurel’s Kitchen.

Among the instructors for our retreat were a couple training to be retreat leaders. They are both doctors at Kaiser somewhere in Southern California. Their experience added a lot to the retreat, since they could share experiences related to living a hectic and busy life, being doctors and raising kids. They gave the retreat a more down to earth feel.

The other retreat participants were a pretty interesting bunch, including a younger couple with 3 year old triplets, another physician, two or three therapists, three nurses, a guy about my age who had a liver transplant a few years back, an adherent of 12-point programs, and a mother and her two young adult daughters. Everybody seemed to get along pretty well.

Most of the other participants seem to go to one or two retreats a year. Many feel close to each other, giving meal times somewhat of a reunion atmosphere.

After dinner we had an evening instructional program where we discussed our meditation practices and mantra. The sessions were more like discussions than lectures. The session ended with a videotaped talk by Easwaran, the founder of the BMCM. Easwaran died in his 80s in 1999. His talks were interesting and entertaining. I found I preferred the older talks, he seemed a bit peppier when he was only in his 60s. We went to bed early to prepare for Saturday. Man, that place was quiet.

Saturday opened with a meditation session at 6:30. We awoke early, showered and had coffee so we wouldn’t be as likely to nod off during mediation. Meditation was followed by quiet time and then breakfast. Breakfast was made by the handyman, who had a very friendly 20 year old cat hanging around looking for attention. More workshop, more meditation and lunch followed. We had an afternoon field trip to the walk on the local beach, which was very pleasant. Just before going to Dillon beach, we watched a video of Easwaran and his wife walking on the same beach, holding hands and (at least we were told) repeating their mantra. It was a nice walk, but the wind off the ocean was cold. I cheated, I didn’t repeat my mantrum all the time.

After we drove back from the beach, we had an hour and a half of free time. We walked around Tomales, which is a town of about 500 people or so. At this point, I had half a mind to visit the local tavern and get juiced. We just walked back to the retreat house. The break was followed by more workshop, meditation and dinner. We had steamed broccoli, and tasty oven roasted potatoes with a peanut sauce. That was a good dinner. The lunches and dinners all had home made cookies and sometimes brownies available as well.

Sunday was a half day, starting with meditation, quiet study and breakfast. We drove out to Ramagiri ashram, just outside of Tomales. This is a former monastery Easwaran bought and set up as a publishing house, small farm and ashram. We all were greeted by Christine Easwaran, who appears to be running things at Ramagiri. We took group pictures, and had a tour of the facility. I have to be honest and say the place creeped me out a little. I got over it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

No comments:

Recent Posts

About Me

My photo
I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.
Play Super Chick Sisters!