akashavana summer highlightOn Tue, 29 September, 2015 - 16:31
It’s full on at Akasavana! This seems to be the theme for ’ the land of luminous space’.
The number of people living in the community has doubled, which is going amazingly well…Hooray! On top of that we came to the end of a very successful retreat with the biggest number of women to date. Late July twenty eight Dharmacharinis arrived by bus from Tortosa to take part in a three week long retreat with Viveka and Singhasri.
Of course, this was nothing compared to the 400 people who came to Adhisthana for Bhantes’ birthday…. But for us putting up and feeding 33 people every day posed quite a challenge. Would there be enough water to go round at the hottest time of the year? Enough shade at the hottest time of the day..?
Would we be able to keep all vegetables at a cool temperature in three fridges? Would everyone fit into the shrine room comfortably? Also lying down? Or would we feel too close for comfort, crammed in together..?
If there were any gripes, it was more than compensated by the fantastic teaching in which Viveka and Singhasri challenged us to examine our patterns and habits.
Discomfort is a great starting point to get curious about the workings of our minds.
‘Bring it on…’
‘Those who see worldly life as an obstacle to Dharma
see no Dharma in everyday actions.
They have not yet discovered that
there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma.’
Indeed, how do you summarise such a wealth of retreat experience? When a unique combination of creative ‘madness’ and a receptive open atmosphere is created by a bunch of dedicated women, all prepared to go beyond themselves.
But this one sentence does not do justice to all those special moments which opened our eyes and hearts.
Everyone had their own personal retreat under the Spanish sun ( and a little rain..)
‘We usually suppose that the world is already and always fully real, independent of our minds, out there waiting to be revealed by the searchlight of conciousness. In fact our minds are actually collaborating in the creation of the world, moment by moment.
It was a pleasure to see how Viveka and Singhasri made the most of the conditions that make Akasavana so special as a retreat centre and how many Dharmacharinis benefited from this.
‘Blue skies for sky gazing…’ ‘Very basic facilities’ (not to us community dwellers!) We always try to accommodate everyone as best we can.
In the evenings we’d watch the sunset as an experience of impermanence.
Viveka is down to earth and with humour able to point out where we get stuck on the spiritual path.
There was enough water for 33 people for three weeks..vegetables were kept cool and no one got lost on their walks.
By mid August all Dharmacharinis were safely on the bus home again.
Here in the community we enjoyed all being in retreat together. It deepened our experience of living and working together in this beautiful place.
What a gift it was to have this opportunity to practice, even if it was a challenge at times to combine ‘work’ and retreat.