Feeling the toll from a week in Paris, with hardly any time to be still. Friends and family to visit, exhibits to see, events to attend, restaurants to go to . . . I could not say no. Until this morning, when I found myself speaking and acting out of mindless, reactive place.
This passage through the temporary hell of mindlessness has taught me a few things for the rest of the trip, and for future trips as well:
- I need to recognize the challenge of practicing without the support of my usual Sangha. Not benefiting from the support of weekly Dharma talks, group sittings, and conversations with other members in the community.
- I need to not underestimate the power of typical vacation environment that fosters idle talk, sensory stimulation, greed, and an overall lack of awareness.
- Formal daily meditation practice is a necessity, not an option. Without the ability to recharge from the deep well within, the mind becomes unsettled, and unable to function well.
- The fact that I am not in my usual, home environment is no excuse. Churches, other places of worship are great places to meditate, in the absence of a personal quiet place to retreat to.
- Reading a good Dharma book, staying connected to spiritual friends online, can compensate somewhat for lack of physical Sangha.
- Slow vacationing needs not be an oxymoron. While the temptation is great to want to pack in experiences, giving into too many activities makes it impossible to be mindful.
Today, I shall sit 30' in the Saint-Germain des Pres church before we head out to dinner. I shall take the time to walk slowly, mindfully in the neighborhood. And I will read some more of Ayya Khema's book.