Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 05/14/2018

Retreat Hangover

I was afraid that this might happen since I have been with this particular instantiation of body-mind for four decades but it is never a good feeling. In short, after spending two and a half days on retreat I came home toed and worn out and indulged in sense pleasures. It could have been worse, in fact it almost was, but at least I see how far there is to go and I have yet one more reason to recall that arrogance and pride should never be giving ground.

One good thing that came out of this weekend was a technique for concentrating the mind. Venerable Wu Ling described the practice of Amituofo recitation with counting up to 1000 and mentioned that she often just visualized the number while reciting. Trying this with buddho I was surprised to see that I could follow buddho on the breath while seeing the number in my mind’s eye. Now the numbers always appeared in strange and distorted versions of themselves often melting or drooping of to the side but there they were nonetheless. It was intensely interesting and reinforced the dreamlike nature of consciousness to me. What’s more, the mind was necessarily concentrated on its task and a full ten minutes went by counting to 108. So, is proven to be a very useful technique for me.

So, hangover or no, I can at least take comfort in the fact that I was able to derive some good from this weekend.

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.