Participated in the retreat “What are you doing with your life?”

I took a retreat for  5 days in the last week of  2009 to reenergize myself and I am reenergized. It was a wonderful experience in the retreat and I am writing a few words for my reference from my memory. Do I really need this? I choose so.

Why did I go for retreat? I would use the words of J. Krishnamurti to answer. “ It is essential sometimes to go to retreat, to stop everything that you have been doing, to stop your beliefs and experiences completely, and look at them anew, not keep on repeating like machines whether you believe or do not believe. You would then let in fresh air into your minds.“

The retreat “Gathering For Young 2009” was organized at Study Centre of KFI,Bangalore. The title of the gathering was “What are you doing with your life?” .The gathering for young people is organized to address some unique challenges young people face as the questions of earning a livelihood is vital at this stage of life. This was the gathering of bunch of  20 young people in the age group of 18 to 35, both from various regions of India and abroad. We came from different backgrounds – software, teachers,human resource,home makers and so on. We lived at the Study Centre, Bangalore.

In a  typical day, the gathering would start in the morning by nature walk. The interesting part was it was silent walk across the campus and trying to be with the environment, earth,trees, leaves and birds After a late breakfast at 9AM, we assembled together at 10 AM for group dialogues, followed by Video. This was followed with lunch and followed by interesting activities. We tried various options line spending time in art village. One was to perform painting some figure not trying to follow a pattern. Lot of us found for ourselves that we were invariably falling in to patterns after a few minutes without our own knowledge. We tried pottery, making clay pots and clay figures. Patience and attention was a key virtue there and I realized how I was with patience and attention. The evening was for games and activities that makes us aware of physical limitation or to experience and observer some of the learning’s of the day. We performed different activities on different days. One day we went for a long trek to small hill nearby .One day we planned for bonfire after dinner and has the bonfire and another day dinner was followed by night walk in the  dark woods.

Something I liked across the retreat was I chose not to access internet for 6 days and talk on mobile(expect twice a day to my wife and kids). I did not find it difficult and was happy to live life in nature. I tried to live a single person in a group, but did not have much success; need to oberver more.  Currently, I choose to live in the city and not in the woods and I choose to work with all type of people. Rather than building on the past memory of rich experiences of the retreat, I am going to focus on the learning’s I has in these 5 days.

  • Relationship,Love are mostly based on attachment, expectations and dependencies. These in turn cause  cause uncertainty, fear and which finally results in anger. We are always looking at promoting self , which caused the challenges.
  • Pleasure comes with pain. Hence need to understand the needs and wants. I need to evaluate the expectations  on myself and others.
  • Actions are taken based on the past patterns and the same action that helped in the past fails now. There is a challenges due to our own habits. There is a need to be aware of the or patterns or habits in my day to day life. Whatever we call habits good or bad can cause this challenge.
  • The importance of observing and listening.No one teaches you and you need to learn this for yourself. Understanding the difference  between concentration/focus, awareness and attention
  • No one can provide a process that works seamlessly for you as it is you who needs to make this work. But mostly we give the control of actions to some one else and we are just executing the actions as directed by the controlled.You are only responsible for your actions
  • We are always interested in comfort and not truth.

I need to learn to be aware of myself, pay attention to my own habits,learn from myself and perform needed actions. I need to look for truth and not comfort always.