I got off to a late start for my three day retreat this month, arriving at Pondilowie Bay around lunchtime on Saturday. So it was really only two full days, not long enough.
For next month's 3 day retreat, I'll face up to my two fears (driving long distances at night and putting up my tent in the dark) and do the 4 and a half hour trip on Friday night.
Driving slowly into the Casuarina campsite at midday on Saturday I am welcomed by my favourite sight - its EMPTY (except for a few kangaroos)!
Its also HOT!
I put up the tent, unpack my bags, make my camp bed and climb in.
I sleep for most of the afternoon.
That's often how it is on the first day...I need that sleep. Exhaustion accumulates undetected and waits in all the dark corners of my body and mind, waiting until I stop to take rest tso it can rise up and ambush me.
Saturday passes in a haze of dreams, interspersed with a haze of reading.
Dinner is easy, I leave the dishes for the morning, and I return to bed.
Moonlight filters through the tent canopy; the deep rhythmic humming of the ocean lulls me back into a soft hazy sleep.
Sunday is more productive.
My morning yoga session in the tent stretches out to 2 hours. Its hotter than yesterday.
I do the full suite of standing poses starting with Trikonasana of course. How I love this pose.
I do it today without holding the lower leg. Instead the back of my hand presses the inner ankle, my middle finger barely touches the floor. I make sure the weight of my upper body is being fully supported by my legs and pelvis, not by my hand. Deep strong energetic roots forge up through my body.
It sets the flavour for a strong stable practice of standing poses, backbends, then a couple of long quiet seated poses to finish.
The rest of the day is spent reading, meditating and domestic camping duties such as preparing food and washing up last nights dishes in a tiny plastic tub.
Late afternoon, and the heat is everywhere. There's no escape or relief from it, no air conditioners or fans, no big trees or shady spots, no cool interiors or icy cold drinks. I love marinating in the heat. I take a walk over the bright white sand dunes, and along the beach to the Pondi surf break. The sets are rolling in clean and big. I watch for a while. There are 6 people out on the water catching waves.
Evening - another yoga practice: Inversions: headstand, shoulderstand, halasana, karna pindasana, supta padangusthasana, jatara, then the usual sequence of seated poses and padmasana poses.
Monday, my last day, so soon.
I wander out for a long walk early in the morning before the sun heat intensifies. Returning around 10am, I settle into half lotus, and sit in meditation on and off for 5 hours. It is fruitful. My meditation is clearly being influenced by the book on Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism) that I'm reading.
Years ago I experienced non-dualism in a very profound way, my egoself dissolving into the omipotent loving source. Re-union. Union. No-Self.
It is something that just happens by the grace of God.
The 'I' that experiences a non-dual state, doesn't exist - that is the Catch 22!
(which begs the question - to whom did it occur, and did it even occur?)
The non-dual state of consciousness is beyond all words.
"Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent."
Sitting in meditation in the hot tent today I focus on the heart centre. Strange - it feels hard, like there's scar tissue. I breathe deeply to try and stretch it. I can feel the resistance. Am I feeling the metaphysical wound caused by Mark's death?
Meditation becomes a process of staying fully aware of and 'in' this heart area, focussing on it through the magnifying apparatus of my curiosity, opening it softly into love, expanding the seed of love held in the tight kernel.
I KNOW that the love I felt for Mark came from a source that is waiting to be tapped again, longing to be tapped again. We all hold in our hearts the seed energy of extraordinary love - it longs for expression, for release from its nuclear prison. Love wants to spread wings and fly.
For a short time, Mark was the very lucky recipient of this love.
And all that I gave to him, he returned to me.
The energy exchange was powerful and intense.
My lesson is to understand the fullest and highest potential of this love.
My practice is to keep the raw wound open so the heart remains vulnerable, receptive, a channel for the flow of love. I am peeling away the protective layers, allowing the raw wound to stay exposed...this is the wound of my existential aloneness, my separation from the loving Source.
Our hearts hold the most extraordinary potential for awakening into a loving universe.