No Matter Where You Go….
I used to have a screen saver that read: “No matter where you go…. there you are!” Buckaroo Bonsai. I heard a character in a movie (Buckaroo Bonzai, Across the 8th Dimension) say that line more than 30 years ago and it stuck with me. I don’t believe the screen writer for that movie originated the line. I’ve seen multiple references that it is a quote from Confucius.
The message within that statement keeps coming back to me as I’ve reflected on my experience at a week-long meditation retreat in June. I’ve had many friends ask me about this over the past two months. They wanted to know why I went. What were my expectations, and did the event meet them? What did I learn? Would I recommend it to others?
In each conversation, I’ve struggled to put into concise language my experience at the time, and what I’ve learned through self-reflection. “No matter where you go, there you are,” seems to be the one statement that describes what I experienced and learned (re-learned).
My meditation week confirmed what I’ve known for years, that I’m easily irritated. I was irritated by seemingly meaningless processes such as forms that were requested but not referred to once submitted.
I was miffed at what appeared to be disorganization in the first few days. At one point, I thought maybe it was a design component for the week. I commented to one of the leaders about the unique design for minor chaos, and he said it wasn’t by design. “We’re all volunteers.” Yes, I was embarrassed.
I was irritated by the man sitting next to me who appeared to be in constant motion when we were instructed to sit relatively motionless during meditation periods. We were told that once seated we could not change our location. So, I got the opportunity to explore my irritation. Why was I irritated that this other person was fidgety? Why did I assume his behavior was an affront to me? What did that say about me?
The week was also an opportunity for me to determine that my physical well-being was more important than an agenda. Due to pain in my hip and the altitude, I was frequently fatigued. Numerous days I chose sleep over adherence to the schedule. Although I really needed the naps, I felt slightly rebellious at skipping afternoon meditation sessions.
I found myself feeling self-righteous as an introvert who didn’t struggle with days of “noble silence.” I smiled inwardly when I observed others whispering in frustration. Thinking, “finally the tables are turned, and extroverts are now outside their comfort zone.” Yes, my ego reared its hydra-head.
I travelled roughly 2000 miles to meet and greet myself multiple times each day. My prickly irritations, ego-inspired thoughts, and silly feelings of rebellion provided me with packed journal pages as I processed my daily experiences. I also reconnected with my desire for spiritual relationship and simplicity.
To answer the questions, I’ve received (and my own) more explicitly, I didn’t necessarily learn how to deepen my meditation practice. I was reminded of how much I benefit from meditation. Peaceful silence is like warm, soft water flowing across my body soothing and relaxing overworked muscles. And most importantly, I could observe my thoughts and practice non-judgment and non-attachment.
“No matter where you go…. there you are.” May you find yourself wherever you may be.