Sunday, February 22, 2009

day 3 of zen retreat - discussion

wow - dumped more than a screen-full on the private site... to summarize, the principal of Day 3 was to recognize and deal with the (by their grouping) 5 most common types thoughts.

what worked best for me in nearly all situations was to use my Cartoon Mind (picturing a thought or movie in my mind as a cartoon instead of a real-life looking image). often this meant changing the 'actors' or participants into monkeys and dismissing them with the admonition to keep rehearsing. other times, it meant dismissing a plan or problem by telling the messenger to go back and keep working, as I was busy and would attend to them shortly. it worked amazingly well. when it came, the silence was both beautiful and frightening.

as the silence became deafening, doubts appeared, in the form of tempting or tormenting monkeys - "this is not a thought" said one of them. repeatedly. another just made hissing noises. perhaps my kid brother was projecting into my mind? eventually my doubts eased, and the monkeys who were expressing those doubts silenced themselves. perhaps they were scared of the silence as well.

the challenge will be to keep the motivation as the rewards become farther apart. think of filling a pot at the sink. at first, progress is rapid as the water spreads across the bottom of the pan. then comes the interminable wait for the water to climb the side of the pan to the desired height.


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