As you read this, I am sitting a three-day silent retreat.
Through the mechanism of advance scheduling, I wrote this blog post a few days ago, knowing that I would be cut off from the Internet for three full days. I wanted you to know that as you are reading this, I am sleep deprived, having risen at 4:30 a.m. to perform 108 bows. I am probably hungry, having submitted to an eating ritual that leaves one very little time to consume more than a few bites of food. It being winter, the Dharma room will probably be chilly. I am certainly cold, and by now, my knees probably hurt.
Yet I do this willingly, gladly — and even though this sounds exactly like complaining, I do not complain. It is a great privilege to have the time (and money) to particiapte in a Zen retreat. It’s hard work. The word “retreat” is misleading if you think it means something relaxing and comfortable.
This will be my third retreat. As I write, I am both anticipating and dreading it. As you read, I am already at least 24 hours into it.