I have been sitting on a stool in one of my secret indie cafe hideaways in Toronto and the barista knows my order.
I have spent the last 11 days in a silent meditation retreat where I wake up at 4am and begin practising in a dedicated mat in the meditation hall where I can sit how I like while respecting the silence of the others around me.
While I was there nobody expected me to speak and my favourite hour was the hour after a silent lunch where I could walk outside in the freezing cold and look at the trees across the riverbed into the forest outside the grounds of the centre.
I don’t know the names of the people practising beside me and I’ve never spoken with them before, but we sit alongside each other and we get to know a little about one another even though we have never spoken.
I am inspired by one the students in the front row who only uses one simple pillow for her left leg and doesn’t shift around for hours.
So while on the first day I had an assortment of pillows and never found a perfectly comfortable position, during the course I ended up also only using one pillow. Decluttering.
No phone means no music, and a song got stuck in my head for days, until I remembered howthe end of the song went.
“Do you miss home”
“And are you coo-oo-oo-ool”
“Let’s get married and take the bus home”
It was nice at first but I’m glad I remembered how the song ended.
The trees are always pretty silent, and it’s perfect. The squirrels love to chatter.
On the last silent sitting I notice a few of us stay in the hall for longer. We know that outside the hall now people are allowed to talk but inside the hall we can stay quiet.
What we need and what we look for sometimes is not some verbalized ecxhange of information. I started writing trying to think about what freedom means to me. It’s a project of mine. But while writing this I realise that it’s nice sometimes to just sit down and enjoy the table, the espresso, the artwork on the wall across the street, the chattering of the squirrels, the trees.
It’s nice to just be around and enjoy the moment.