I hope that all is well with you.
I went on a weekend retreat at Padmaloka recently. Padmaloka is a men’s retreat centre near Norwich and I have been going there for 40 years. It always takes a little while to adjust into the retreat atmosphere, but by about Saturday mid morning, I was already in full retreat mode and felt fantastic.
It felt like an altered state of consciousness that I had not experienced since my last retreat which was three years ago. I used to try and get onto retreat every month, but the pandemic put a stop to that.
There were 62 retreatants there, and I had some great conversations with amazing people, although the bit I enjoyed most was actually the periods of silence.
That is the good news. The bad news is that I caught covid there! I have had my booster, so thank fully it was just like a bad cold, and I am almost back to normal now. I think I was just unlucky to catch it. I checked with two other people who travelled with me back to Norwich Station, and neither of them had it. On the other hand I was lucky to just experience mild symptoms. I know others have had to endure a lot worse.
If you can make it, there is a Sangha Day festival at Cambridge Buddhist Centre on Sunday 13th Nov https://www.cambridgebuddhistcentre.com/SanghaDay2022 . It should be a great day out!
Next Tuesday Rob will give a talk and lead a discussion around meditation. We will have plenty of great stuff lined up for the following weeks and another course coming in January 🙂
By the way, a new group has recently opened in Luton. It is being led by Akashasiddhi and Archie from the Letchworth Group https://www.facebook.com/triratnaluton You can email them at email@example.com for more info. They meet on Tuesday evenings, just like us. It is worth checking out if you live over that way 🙂
All the best
p.s. Excerpt from one of my favourite books: “Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life” by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications
The Buddha taught what he called the Noble Eightfold Path – eight specific areas of practice that together constitute the path to Enlightenment. The fifth of these is right livelihood, and we’ll consider the process of bringing the practice of awareness and loving-kindness into our lives of activity under this heading.
A friend of mine, when discussing work and spiritual practice, especially if people were complaining about difficulties in their jobs, used to give the following advice. He said that if, by the end of the week, we couldn’t think of one good reason for doing our job, we should leave.
Life is short and precious. Why do something for eight hours a day, five days a week, forty-something weeks a year for the rest of our lives, if we don’t know why we are doing it? Especially when you take into account the idea of karma – that the kind of person we become is a product of the choices and actions we take all day – we can see that work and livelihood is a vital spiritual issue.
Sometimes we do make big changes to our lives because we realize our heart is no longer in what we are doing. This can take courage, especially when we are no longer young, but it may be well worth it. I have one friend who for many years was a stressed-out administrator in the National Health Service. He eventually decided to change direction, retrained, and became much happier giving careers advice to young people.
On the other hand, we might realize therearegood reasons why we do our job. These might be many and varied, or it might simply be that we are doing the job because we need the money to support our family. But that is still a positive reason. If we are clear about our reasons for doing something, it can help us feel much better about doing it.