Friday, September 9, 2011


I've been thinking about travelling, moving, going somewhere.  Perhaps it was the long weekend in the U.S. just past and all the people making one last trip somewhere before school starts (if it hasn't already) and there is no time.

I have all the time in the world, I think (one never knows).  And I'm thinking about retreats.  Those places you go to where you study, read, meditate, go inside and learn something about something that is nagging at you.

I'm taking a virtual retreat.  You can do it, too, without leaving home.  Just pick a place and go there in your mind.

This virtual retreat is to a place I have physically visited, so I have memories of walking the wooded paths and climbing the hills and looking out over the forest from the top steps of the meditation hall. 

Come with me. 
Since it's a virtual retreat, I can take as many of you with me as want to go.

Here's where we'll be staying.  A tiny cabin on the side of a mountain (I hope you don't walk in your sleep or you'll go right off the back porch and into the ravine).

Here, we have everything we need and nothing more.  Your job is to sit in silence, meditate, walk, listen to the sounds of the forest around you.  Begin to hear the inner voice you've silenced with t.v., music, reading, talking on the phone, etc.  Become aware of the silence and be unafraid.

Here is what we'll take to read and study.  Each day will begin with a reading from this wonderful book by Zen Master Dae Gak (from Furnace Mountain Retreat Center in southwestern Kentucky), and a meditation on the reading.

Then a cup of tea, a piece of fruit, and a walking meditation.  What will we hear today?  How deep will be our listening practice?

Come along with me.  Relax...breathe...listen.

The day is perfect for a virtual retreat.


Watercolors by Susan Roper said...

I am right there with you! Save a cot for me in the cabin, but for the hike I want a chocolate-covered granola bar and coffee.

William K. Moore said...

Art is quite the interior journey and zen is a stable framework and traveling partner - been enjoying the works here recent and past!

hw (hallie) farber said...

Aa tempting invitation.

RH Carpenter said...

Susan, it would be great to have a travelling partner on the walks and overnight stays - but since this is a virtual retreat, we'll make sure we have nice beds and warm linens and coffee and chocolate :) Thanks for coming along.

Bill, yes, the inner journey has to be travelled alone and it sometimes gets lonely - but that's just another human affect one has to overcome, eh? Glad you've been enjoying the posts - I always enjoy your wild creativity and different take on your part of the world!

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

I'm there in heart :)

William Cook said...

You certainly are onto something with this. I am joining the hike. Got to turn off all the input and reverse things for a while. I'm putting that book on my list. Thanks for invition us along.

RH Carpenter said...

Looks like we have a good crew for this virtual retreat, guys; thanks for coming along, Susan, Bill, Hallie and Pam (Pam, you can paint the meditating full moon for us on Monday night!).

RH Carpenter said...

Oops, I meant Bill and Bill since we are blessed with two :)