Our one week sesshin, silent zen meditation retreat, in Monchique, Portugal, just ended and in the gallery on this site are some photos of the event to share with you.
The use of the word event is a little misleading. An intensive period of meditation practice is more of a non-event than a relatable event of the kind we are used to.
Non-event in the sense that what is happening here is you just practising out of the moment. When you come close to and practice out of the moment then your practice is nothing but a manifestation of the moment in its immediacy. Immediacy defies mind's penchant to create events and stories out of events to which it then gets attached and hooked, which in turn creates dhukka: suffering.
Moment after moment, as an open expression of presence, presence: that which can not be scripted into a story. Deep meditation practice makes you realize that all mind created events have no intrinsic reality and are nothing but a bubble. They have no substance and reality of their own, by nature they are empty.
When you see through your mind-created bubbles and no longer make stories out of them to which you then get attached you awaken to reality as it is. That which is without the overlay of our stories is called thathata: suchness.
Sustained meditation practice gives you a taste of that; things as they are. Nothing special, things just as they are. It's in that sense that the ordinary is freeing and looking for special experience could become a trap: when you open to things as they are you and let go of your desire to continually change them, you begin to enjoy the ordinariness of life: nothing special is needed.
This is what Zen practice teaches us: living out of just this moment and that is becoming intimate with the sacredness of the everyday, and another word for that is: simplicity.