New Year’s Eve at a Meditation RetreatBy
It’s New Year’s Eve and I sit with a dedicated group of people atop a huge hill at the edge of Rancho Palos Verdes – just blocks from a spectacular view of the ocean in 3 directions – at a retreat center where peacocks in full bloom roam the grounds, the halls, and will wander into your room if you’re not careful.
This is my annual retreat for myself. I come and help at all other retreats that my meditation teacher, Shinzen Young, has here in Southern California, but this is the one for me, where I go deep and delve into the stuff that hasn’t even considered rising to the surface of consciousness yet. A most efficient and beautiful purification. It’s my annual Tune-Up.
I’ve been coming to this 2 week year-end retreat (from right after Christmas till a week into January) since 1999 …. ah, so for 15 years. Doesn’t seem like it. It just seems like … coming home.
Most people couldn’t imagine meditating and chanting in the New Year, but if what you do at the birth of a year is indicative of what will manifest in that year, I can think of nothing I’d rather give or get than a huge dose of practicing mindfulness deeply.
One thing I’ve learned on this path, is that the work we do on ourselves for ourselves, is actually also a gift for everyone we encounter. In Buddhist practice, it is common for a meditation to end with a blessing for all living beings and/or to dedicate the merit of the practice to all living beings.
And thus I do that here.
May you all have a beautiful New Year – full of mindful joy, peace, love, fulfillment, and lots of humor and laughter.
(A Lakota blessing for all living things – with the understanding that we’re all related – that we are all relatives.