So! It's official! The Rohatsu retreat has been completed! (Even though it's never finished). I realized I'm a week or so behind the actual holiday but hey, final, whatcha gonna do?
So first: The nitty gritty - Confession time
I believe I totaled about 12 hours of sleep for the entire week and a half of finals. So waking up at 5:30 did not happen as I had planned. I also may or may not have been in a fight with my girlfriend upon entering the retreat and may or may not have called for a few brief minutes to let her know that I was (non)thinking of her. But now that thats off my chest :P
This was fantastic. I have always been reticent approaching long bouts of zazen because I wasn't sure if I could mentally handle it. This experience has given me a new found confidence I never knew I had. It has me revved up for my first opportunity to do a long sesshin But more so than that, I found a new depth in the word "Bravery". I won't ramble, but in short we must understand that bravery is not stepping in front of bullets or the ability to "hold it together" when we are truly hurting. Any stubborn fool can do those things. Bravery is the ability to say, "I am not ok, I need help" when we, in fact, do need it. It's the ability to lay yourself bare before life, give it everything, all your power, all your desire to control, hand it over to life, to the ones that you love and cannot open up to and say "Here! Take it! I have given you myself and now all I can ask is that you do the same!"
After that, what else is there to do but sit?
P.s. Realization #2: I'm building myself a seiza bench. Silly sciatic nerve being placed all strangely. :P