Saturday, July 21, 2018

I'm Going North Until It Cools Off !

But what of detours?  


I’m on an old loveseat in front of a dormant wood-burning fireplace in a 3 story log
cabin retreat in the middle of a white pine forest in Minnesota.  I’m supposed to be
at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Rutledge, Missouri. Outside at the moment here at
ARC Retreat near Cambridge, Minnesota just north of the Twin Cities its about 66
degrees.  It’s been raining sporadically today. Add 20 degrees, and you get the
temperature at Dancing Rabbit. Missouri is hot in July! And August. And lots of
September. That’s one of the reasons I’m here in Minnesota.  I suspect there are more.


You see ARC was founded as a place apart for silent retreat.  Too often, modern American
retreat merely entails going somewhere else to work and maybe wear jeans and a t-shirt
while doing the same old things, working.  But what about the silence? What about the time
to reflect? What about just being with yourself and the world without being uncomfortable
or feeling guilty?  I still find myself spending the quiet times thinking a lot about “what I’m
going to do.” I’m also here officially as a volunteer and not a retreatant so I’m doing a few
things around the place to help out each day.


Traditionally at ARC, the community has silent time together at
8am and 8pm.  It is relatively unstructured.
Go if you like. Don’t go if that’s what you prefer today.  It’s
available, and the invitation is open. There is
something about sitting with a group for me that differs from
sitting alone.  I like both. Meals are also
provided and there is usually conversation, but you can eat in
silence as well if that is your preference.  


This place is filled with books.  Nearly every philosophy, religion, and self-help book
I’ve ever read sits on the shelves.  ARC is almost as old as I am, and the books archive
the path of growth and awareness I’ve travelled.  I don’t feel compelled to read them
all anymore. I noticed a while back they start to say the same basic things repeatedly.  
This is not a bad thing I think. I think it reflects the reality that there are a handful of basics to
living a spiritual life but each author shares from their own experience and
application of these basics.  You know how many classic rock songs have only 5
chords or even less!


So I sit in the woods of Minnesota, maybe going to meditation or maybe not.  I feel secure
in the fact that the books on the shelves share the same basic messages whether they be
from St. Thomas Aquinas or Wayne Dyer or Dilbert.  Maybe after a few more days, I’ll just
be more and think about “what I’m going to do” less. Or not. After all, this is just a detour.

I’m going to Dancing Rabbit.  I’m going to write a book and build me a mud house and learn
to cook vegetarian meals and ride my bike everywhere and poop in a bucket and swim nekkid
in the pond.  
There I go doing again.

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