This month #InkRipples is about Inspiration, and what could be more inspirational than being surrounded by beautiful scenery in a peaceful, contemplative place like Tassajara. So here’s my monthly meme post. Thanks to Kai Strand, Mary Waibei, and Katie L. Carroll for this. To join in just SIGN UP.
Earlier this month I took a few days away from writing and from the noise of social media, and drove to a place called Tassajara Zen Center. This is my third time, and I always come away renewed and feeling as if I’d been gone for weeks, not days.
It’s a long drive up a winding, dirt road where you hope the car coming in the opposite direction is going as slowly as you are. Negotiating the curves, edging past the rare car when you’re on the steep canyon side of the road, and praying the air conditioning won’t fail because all you can see out your back window is dust. . .Well, you get the point. You have to want to go to Tassajara.
|Los Padres National Forest|
The rewards far outweigh the trial of coming and going. Here’s one of the views along the way. You’re in the Los Padres National Forest a lot of the time, and when you come to the end of that dusty road, you’re at the Zen Center. The only way to go farther is to hike.
|A Friend and the Yurt|
I stayed in one of their yurts this time. At sunset all goes quiet. There’s no talking on the grounds until after 8:30 the next morning. That’s when you begin to really hear where you are. The crunch of gravel underfoot, the brush of clothing, your breath. You can slip into the mineral springs under the stars and dream your stories without anyone breaking into your thoughts, without any phone dinging to alert you about a text.
|My Reading Deck|
The day starts at dawn when one of the Zen students interrupts the dark silence with tiny bells, and you lie in your bed thinking, I can go to morning zazen (meditation) or I can lie here and be content. Yoga starts at 7:30, breakfast (all the food is fabulous) at 9:00, zazen at 10:30, lunch at 12:00 and a break until 3:30 when you return for more yoga. Dinner at 7:00, then back to silence at dusk. Ahhh. A full and beautiful day inside your head and getting to know what your body can do when you focus on each asana (pose).
|The Path to the Zendo|
So now I’m back and in the hubbub again. I’m grateful for both worlds and for the chance to choose between the two. Have you tried a retreat? What did you come away with?
Quote of the Week: The value of things is not the time they last, but the intensity with which they occur.” Poet Fernando Pessoa