Last weekend: first silent Buddhist retreat ever. Man man man I have like 3 posts worth about this. First, some very basic human thoughts:
1. my mind was waaaay on my regular life; it was very hard to disengage. (I wasn't even sure I wanted to.)
2. napping on a warm deck is really very good!
3. my knees hurt a lot when I meditate for more than about an hour a day (we sat about 3x30-40 min; not even that long, all retreats considered, but long enough that I was really not looking forward to it)
4. Buddhism would be great if it didn't have all that Buddhism in it. Particularly, I tend to tune out when a few things are mentioned:
a. reincarnation (although I might be sorta more understanding about this now, but that deserves another post)
b. HHDL (he's an awesome dude, who I'm excited to see teach in McLeod Ganj in October, but I am very wary whenever people start focusing on any particular humans. don't worry, he's still head and shoulders more awesome than the last guy-who-was-followed-by-a-group-I-was-affiliated-with)
c. Medicine Buddhas, recitations, pure lands, or indeed, anything "magical"; this also deserves to be in that post about reincarnation
5. you might be part of a community, even when you don't think you're part of a community; this is nice.
6. sleeping in a tent, I do not sleep as well as I do in a bed. (surprise!)
7. really, I spent a lot of the time wishing it were over and thinking I was missing the point (see: #1, #3, #4, and #6), but I've felt a lot better about the whole mindfulness-and-Buddhism thing since I've been back.
Some higher-level thoughts that are relatively self-contained:
- Buddhist ethics are consequentialist (whether an action is good or bad depends on its effects) in theory but more like virtue ethics (whether an action is good or bad depends on the character of whoever's doing it) in practice. Particularly, whether an action is good or bad depends on the effects on the mental states of all involved. This jives pretty well with me.
- Furthermore, we really don't know all the outcomes of our actions at all. But we think we do, and we catastrophize; we worry about worst case scenarios all the time. So... don't worry so much?
- If you just check in before you do anything and set your motivation, that is very powerful. (could we make software based on that perhaps?)
More to come, and soon!