The storm came in two days of blizzards and a howling wind. It dumped a foot of snow, and transformed the world into a blank canvas. Today the sun has returned and is streaming powerful light in all directions.
The year is sliding to a halt, and calendars with the promise of 2011 line my desk. Change and renewal are in the air, in the stark, freezing hold of deep winter. We have entered a period of stillness, we are stepping back into our own selves.
Next Monday I am packing my suitcase and taking various buses down to Manhattan, and then a train to up-state New York in order to do a Close Retreat. I am going to count hundreds of thousands of mantras. I have only done a few days before, this is the first time I am launching into a deep one.
I am excited at the prospect of pulling into my mind, and finding all the layers that lie submerged. I feel supremely lucky that I am being given this opportunity. I have somehow arranged all my work so that I am off the grid for two to three weeks, so that I can fully let go of busyness - and get a taste of the sensations of the deep mind. What will I find? What will come and find me?
January is traditionally a special time for retreats in Tibet. It was a time to give in to the ferocious chills of winter. To give in to the feet of white that descend all around, and to allow ourselves to do what nature does - pull within and abide in our deepest centers.
(Photo Credit: Wiki Commons.)