Finding the still place of peace in the centre

mountain

That summer at the seminary was not all about the Kasung and falling in love with Setter San. Something else happened too. Spending all those hours, day after day meditating… Hearing the wind blow and catch the top of the tent and then let go, almost as if the tent was breathing… The hours sitting, sometimes noticing other fidgeting, and sometimes (very few times) feeling at peace herself. And then the one day when the guy with Tourette’s started yelling “Fuck” over and over during the meditation period.

Angie was getting the chance to get closer to her mind – to her heart. She was able to listen in a deeper way to her heart as the speed of her mind started slowing and slowing and slowing, as the days of the seminary went on. When she was walking, she started smelling the sage in the air and the dust on the path. As her mind got more quiet, she started experiencing more through her senses.

Something at this seminary was working on her – changing her.

After two weeks of intensive meditation, the program turned into half days of meditation and half days of study. For the first time in her life she started studying the buddhadharma – the Buddha’s teachings.

She learned about the Hinayana path – the path of individual liberation. The Hinayana was the starting place. In fact, she remembered a few years ago her dad was wearing a favourite t-shirt that said, “Never forget Hinayana…” So she knew it must be important just from Dad’s t-shirt! Now she was studying it for herself, and the focus was on quieting her own mind through the discipline so she could have some relief from all the craziness of living in this world.

And it was crazy! Yes, her parents were great in a lot of ways, but they were also crazy in others! Her dad was an alcoholic, and no one wanted to face that. There was a lot of anger in her home while growing up, and Angie had absorbed it all. She was sensitive, and to be honest, it overwhelmed her!

So now, here at the seminary, for the first time she was giving her heart a safe place. There was something incredibly safe about sitting on this red and yellow cushion in the billowing tent practicing this safe practice handed down lovingly from the Buddha. She believed in this Hinayana – the power of narrowing the focus just to her and doing this practice as best she could. Forgetting about all the grand schemes and helping the world. This time was just for her, to practice this meditation practice.

Angie started feeling good, even with the torments from time to time of falling in love with Setter San. Something good was growing in her, something wholesome. And she was feeling grateful – she was feeling joy for the first time in her life. She sat at dusk on the hill above the Centre, feeling the quiet, watching the sun set, and there was this sadness that came into her chest and almost tears came into her eyes. She felt the stillness of this land, and the life in this land, and it made her feel alive.

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