On Sunday we had our first day retreat of the year. 10 people attended, which is the maximum that the Hermitage can comfortably accommodate. I’ve posted dates for the next five retreats on the Activities page.
I gave a short talk about resistance, how it is a natural thing for the mind to resist anything it sees as painful, discomforting, unfamiliar, in an attempt to keep us safe. As meditators resistance doesn’t serve us well, however, and we need to be able to spot it arising and bring to it the same loving attention as anything else that appears in our consciousness. It never helps to battle the mind, a kindly attention is much more effective and all that is asked of us.
Resistance can take the form, for example, of restlessness, sleepiness, doubt, angry thoughts or thoughts of things that we find pleasurable. Many traditions of Buddhism speak of of these as the five hindrances to meditation, but in our tradition we regard everything that arises as arising within the meditation. It is not an obstacle unless we make it into one. We don’t judge the content of our awareness. Our effort goes into bringing as much awareness as we can to that content. Not to think about about it, but to shine a compassionate light on it. It says in the Shushogi that tenderness can have a revolutionary impact upon the mind of man. This includes tenderness towards one’s own mind.