My niece, Katie and I spent two days this week at a wonderful retreat at Spirit Rock in Marin.
Of course BART was on strike so we had to leave and extra hour early to get there on time. This was a good teacher for me in the art of patience. I forgot that I love to watch the sunrise!
Our Teachers - Donald Rothberg & Heather Sundberg had us practice a combination of silent sitting meditation and silent walking meditation for their class "Awakening the Heart: Practicing the Divine Abodes (Brahmaviharas) - Loving kindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity".
The walking trails meandered up the mountains and into the forests. I chose this mild trail and as I turned a corner I came upon this giant Buddha.
The mornings were crisp and the afternoons warm.
The leaves were just starting to change color and on one of my morning walks, I found a floating leaf that stopped me, deep in the Bay tree forest. It slowly moved up and down & to and fro. I'm sure it was on a spider web hanging from the high Laurels but I could not see the filament. The little leaf gently spun around as it moved towards me and then moved gracefully across my path and way up the mountain, then back across the dry creek bed. I was enchanted by this little gift from nature - a tiny dancer.....
There were little Quails scattering about, wild Turkey's that greeted us each evening as we left our meeting room and they had absolutely no fear of people (I guess they knew they were on vegetarian turf!), Rattlesnakes, Deer, lot's of gray Squirrels, Hawks and other birds.
We began our practice on Monday morning with Metta - lovingkindness.
In the afternoon, we moved towards Caring and on Tuesday it was all about Joy and Equanimity.
But my favorite time was laughing with Katie! Thank you Katie for this special time together......
"No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path." - Buddha