Reflections of a Solo Retreatant
Almost a year of planning, finally the date arrived for my 9 day retreat at Dorje Ling. After a beautiful drive, I was comfortably housed in the recently renovated “Beyond”. I chose Beyond because it was small and cosy, and I hoped it would be more exposed to sun. It was, and I have wonderful memories of sitting in a camp chair with tea, reading Pema Chodron, Vajra Yogini texts and enjoying the wildlife and nature.
Jack & Evelin the Caretakers did just that. They took so much care. From the kind considered emails and arranging local produce, to their willingness to change their day to day life, to keep a low profile and not use noisy tools, all helped to make my experience more reflective. Thanks Jack & Evelin.
It took a couple of days to stop being drawn to my mobile phone and all it represents that was sitting in my car.
My decided daily routine was both disciplined and reflective. I would do meditation before breakfast, and I noticed an ease with being able to lengthen this sit after a couple of days. After breakfast I studied Vajrayogini texts, followed by prostrations in the Gompa and Yoga on the Gompa deck before lunch. Amazingly the sun always came out for Yoga on the Gompa deck. It was so lovely. After lunch I did Walking Meditation and a more strenuous walk if I was up to it or an afternoon nap. Before dinner I did Mahmudra meditation and after dinner more Vajrayogini meditation. I also did 3 days of silence, which was challenging as it really turned up the mind chatter.
Each day would bring subtle changes in the external environment, which was so beautiful, supportive, reflective and restorative. My inner environment was quite noisy initially, and at times the machinations of my mind made me feel somewhat crazy in the stillness of the place. It was such an opportunity to experience myself in an expansive way, and to remember and truly know I am not my thought and feelings and to be in touch with the spaciousness that exists along side those aspects which we so often identify as who we are. To experience the non-dual reality of “isness” even if for fleeting moments was such a delight.
I can highly recommend taking advantage of the wonderful pristine environment and facilities at Dorje Ling. I hope to make my solo retreats there a bi-annual event. “Karma willing”, of course. I can set the intention though and take the steps.
It’s available to all. What a blessing.
Thankyou Tashi Choling Committee and Community for continuing to support and maintain this wonderful place. I will definitely be back.
~ Madhu Lilley
I went to the Dorje Ling Easter Retreat not knowing what to expect. I left with a deeply impacting experience that and a memory that I will always treasure. The forests in the mist, the quiet of the Gompa at 6am with a gently crackling fire, the genuine warmth of the people… Although I gather the topics discussed were quite entry-level buddhism, they provided more than enough challenge for me, and covered some real mind-shifting concepts.
Having almost no experience of yoga or meditation, I can say that I am thoroughly converted, and really impressed by the practicality and day-to-day usefulness of the Dharma concepts presented. It’s eye-opening to see a framework that gives you a fighting chance of actually building real changes into your mind where you desperately want them, and seems to get tangible results.
I liked how open-handedly the Dharma is shared, with an attitude of participating as much or as little as is of benefit to the individual, and taking on as much as you feel comfortable with. Nothing gets shoved down your throat, and you are free to use your own mind. I’d encourage Tashi Choling be confident about inviting any non-Buddhist or curious individual to come along. There’s heaps in this retreat that anyone could benefit from trying.
~ First-time solo retreatant Joe, 2015