We stopped off at the supermarket on the way home to get myself some nice, healthy quick cook food, but the supermarket was stripped bare! I guess that is what happens when you go shopping at the end of the day on Christmas eve.
The next morning I woke up feeling really rather ill, sneezing, aching and cold/hot, as well as coughing. So I spent xmas day on the sofa and generally being ill and miserable. This essentially continued on for several days, in fact nearly all of the holidays, I even lost my voice at one point for several days. I started to feel better about new years day, so I only actually had a couple of days of holiday without being ill. Horrible. Of course I was as knackered as when I started on holiday and I finished my holiday on Sunday feeling very much like I wanted a holiday!!
I am glad I came home from the retreat, the conditions are rather austere and when I am ill I am very grumpy and I just want to be in my bed or my sofa, surrounded by home comforts, the same as most people really. The bedroom I was sharing was tiny too, and my room mate would have ended up with it as well.
So, that was the story of my retreat. Of course, it has also had other ramifications for me. I don’t think I just left because I was ill. I don’t think it is right to have such strong negative feelings about the retreat process and actually it echos what happened the last time I went on retreat – I had to leave because I felt so strongly that the process of Buddhism wasn’t for me. I don’t like the prostration to the Buddha, it leaves me deeply uncomfortable and the all out commitment of the people there scared me slightly. I am uncomfortable with the Buddhist dissociation from this world, and also the lack of God. Why was this? I am not sure. But I think I have to trust myself and my reactions to things. The silly thing is I am now worried about letting people down, my therapist (who is Buddhist), the leaders of my local group and the mitra conveynor, because I did do my ceremony.
I am also worried about what people will think of me, I have made this grand statement about being Buddhist – hell you can read it all here. I have tried to align myself with the precepts and I have become vegetarian and teetotal as well. I am worried that people will think I am flighty, that I do not take these things seriously. When I do, I take them oh so seriously, I spend hours thinking about spirituality and religion, I read an awful lot of books on the subject. I generally have at least one spiritual book on the go at any one time and I spend a lot of time reflecting on my reading. I dedicate a bit period of my morning ritual to prayer and meditation. It s a very important part of my life.
Of course, I am well aware that I shouldn’t worry about what people think about me. But I do.
So, what have I decided? Well nothing is concrete yet, I want to talk it through with a couple more people, although I have spent a lot of time talking it through with Gavin already. What does worry me is the religion in a box – which I have posted about before. What do I say when people ask – especially in hospitals, which look like they are becoming part of my life more and more.
One thing is for sure, this is another period of reflection and change coming into myself, which I am happy to explore again I think…..