Samye Ling is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in SW Scotland founded in 1967 by Trungpa and Akong Rinpoches.
There is a palpable atmosphere of peace as you walk around the grounds, as if the energy of a million meditations permeates the air.
I spent 3 days there recently, attending a yoga retreat, staying in a small room, with bed, desk and sink, eating meals with monks and nuns and other visitors.I was struck by the simplicity of life and noticed my thoughts slow down as I entrained to those around me.
It was easy to be present to what was arising in the moment, without the usual distractions of internet, TV and mobile phone.
I noticed I had no desire to speak to or interact with others, while also being open to being spoken to. I noticed that my usual impulse to make friends, to make a good impression on others was absent.
The retreat I attended was called “Unfolding from the inside”. The teaching, led by Hanna Casement, was focussed on coming into the body, as it is today. Rather than trying to force ourselves into a yoga posture we have seen in a book, we were encouraged to allow the practice to flow from a central place within us, like a fern unfolding.
I was reminded of the Anais Nin quote :
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”.
The tight bud is the prison of my own thoughts and perceptions of reality. All the opinions I had about the way I should be/you should be/the world should be.
I am seeing more and more clearly how painful this is. In the sanctuary of Samye Ling, supported by the yoga practices, it was clearer to me how I keep myself stuck. Easier there to notice that everything I need is given to me, moment by moment.
Like the fern, I began to unfurl, everything arising from the still, silent awareness that is at the centre of all things.
No pushing or striving, no preconceived ideas of how it should be. A falling away of trying to be anything other than who I am, in this moment, with a gentle and deep compassion for everything that has led me here, to this body, to this breath, to this life.
Coming home again, my promise to myself is to embrace this gentle, compassionate unfolding of my body, mind and soul.