Next week a loyal reader of this blog is going to receive the Precepts at the Ten Precepts Retreat at Throssel. The retreat will start on Saturday. We have been in correspondence talking back and forth as she works through the inevitable Shall I, or shall I not, cancel? Will I, or will I not, be able to go through with the commitment to formally become a Buddhist? Her story is much the same as my friend and her steps towards surgery. I find them both inspiring in their willingness to lay themselves bare, to examine what's there and keep going on into the unknown. Congratulations to them both!
By way of offering encouragement I wrote the following:
You do realize that the first ceremony of the retreat is the journey to the monastery and you are well on the way to completing the most testing ceremony of all.
I hadn't thought of the journey to Throssel being the first "ceremony", but now you have said it, it makes perfect sense. It's funny how this practice gets to one, even though it is so subtle and you aren't aware of it happening at the time. I have already told you of some of the things that have changed for me like the drinking, smoking, watching less TV and being more discriminatory about what I do watch - but the wonderful thing is that they have all happened without any conscious effort. (Because she wants to follow the Precepts, and is.)
Today is the anniversary of a significant step I took some years ago, which involves rededicating ones life to keeping the Precepts. After the coffee and desert pictured here I walked for a few hours to reach home base. Close to where I'm staying is an old woodland. The guidebook describes it as one of the Island's most delectable spots. I reclined there for awhile against a tree and gazed up at the clear blue sky listening to the spring birds tweeting. Yes, time for celebrations.
This post is dedicated to yet another friend who is undergoing the ceremony of the journey to the monastery, literally and figuratively. Make that two friends.