Devout Buddhist are ‘on retreat’. Traditionally December 8th marks the time of the Buddhas Enlightenment and the seven days leading up to that time are spent in intensive meditation or sesshin. In Japanese Buddhism the retreat is called Rohatsu, which translates as the 8th day of the 12th month.

This quote caught my eye as I thumbed through next years diary. Perhaps because I am retreating in another direction. Meaning that this is not a time of formal retreat yet there is a growing sense of turning within as the temperature drops and the light fades.

We are not retreating – we are advancing in another direction!

Douglas Macarthur

Advancing in another direction? That suits rather well since while life has a direction, a flow if you like, each advances in a unique fashion. Water doesn’t struggle or strive, nor should we.

Internet connections have been a bit unreliable. Snow on the hills, snow in the valleys. But nothing too serious as yet.

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3 thoughts on “Retreating”

  1. What a wonderful perspective on the idea of ‘retreat’ – to be ‘advancing in another direction’. Thank you Douglas.

    Will be interesting to see whether this helps with those thoughts of ‘should be doing this’ and ‘should be doing that’ the next time formal retreat manifests.

    Also brings up that – in a sense – we’re always on retreat. When we choose (or should I say when we know we have the privilege to know that we can choose) not to give in to such human aspects as greed, hate and delusion, then we’re retreating. And we have the opportunity to do that (to the degree that we’re able – and willing to) every moment of the day. Champion!

    Also, thank you to Reverend Mugo for reminding us that ‘water doesn’t struggle – and neither should we!’

    In gassho


  2. Andy, thanks for this. Your mention of water in your comment inspired todays post. When I broke my leg back in 2000 I remember so well the wonderful feeling of washing my hands in warm water. Crutching my way to anywhere was a big deal at the time. Running warm water was so soothing, I remember it now.

    Every day is every day. Greed, anger and delusion slide across us and we slide through, somehow. Really one of the major difficulties for people trying to live a conscious life is labeling. For the most part, on retreat formally or no, the conscious awareness of being somebody who is doing this that and the other thing falls away as one rides the bus, or washes or cooks. But you know this.

  3. Although you are talking about warm water there is the moment in early dawn of morning, still dark, when I start on my 40 minute drive to work . The weather may have dropped to the 20’s but I start the morning with a large bottle of water. The first draw of water always gives me pause…as I can follow the course of cold water as it makes it way down through my throat to my tummy. Its a great way to begin a day, being grateful for the life given by that water.

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