Summer Mysticism: Returning to the World After Retreat
Post-retreat there is a tendency to go home and blow it. Blow all the money! As one friend says, “It’s easy to piss away all the energy built up in retreat, overworking, over committing, letting it leach away.” It is extremely unwise to squander the work done in training periods because this is dangerous to body and being. In retreat we fill our circuits and forge new tendrils, then these need to ‘set’. They need to cohere. If, after a training period, the we forget about or actively destroy the energy by not caring for our health, eating badly, getting into tumultuous relationships in work or life, then we not only undermine health and mental stability. We also damage spiritual capacity. We damage spiritual potential. We burn our circuits. You can do this a few times, but after a while the body being wears out. It’s like, How many times can your break your ankle in the same spot before it hardens?
I have lifted the requirement of daily practice from those in Intensive Training, but I still recommend daily practice—daily ‘remembrance’, as the Sufis call it. Remembrance of our Truth. I don’t want to police it, not because I’m lazy; I just think it isn’t serving the people who train with me. It puts the struggle for one’s Path outside the self, keeping the self from ‘growing up’, spiritually-speaking. Each of us has to recognize our resistance, our choices. We need to reflect on them and weigh them. No one can put you on your own center. If you want it—inner peace, authenticity, perception, solidity—you have to strive for it. Struggle for it. A child’s little legs must work. It’s best if I step aside there. Go head—have your own intimate self-dialogue about that.
Our questions: What is important to me? Where does real happiness come from? When do I feel most whole? If spiritual path is where we live in Truth, then a regular return to the Doorway is one of the most crucial stages of growth. Retreat training and personal practice open that Doorway. Over the years, I’ve personally come to rely on a brief but focused daily practice, thus my recommendation. I hope for us all that the heart will cry for it and land us in a quiet room, with closed eyes, breathing, moving, feeling the world beyond thought. I hope the practice calls us to it. Wouldn’t that be wonderful…But if not, well, what are you going to do about it?