I am coming off Brad's retreat in Los Angeles (Mount Baldy) and it was a very good experience.

I experimented a bit during the retreat on the first two days trying out two different approaches. One just sitting and doing nothing (except maintaining posture) and another in which I tried to be effortlessly aware of what's happening in the present body-mind-environment. I saw that I was able to be much more present with the latter approach. It was a big difference.

On the last day for the last two sittings I decided, I'll just sit but not meditate at all. I think I am attached to the word and idea of meditation. I decided to try out to just sit there as if I am not meditating but just how I sit normally (whatever that is). So I sat there facing wall and whenever an urge to do something arose, I told myself don't meditate. That was fine too.

The most important and difficult thing for me looks like is to be able to sit with no judgments and no expectations from the practice. I have always expected the spiritual practices to "improve me" in some way. Also I never considered myself enlightened and/or things to be fine the way they are. So adopting this attitude and expecting no gain from the practice (as Jundo and other Zen teachers suggest) seems like a struggle. I came back from the retreat and (while interacting with my family or at work) was expecting myself to be more composed, less disturbed etc...; I don't know if I am less disturbed or not but it is interesting to see my expectations and judgments about practice

- Sam