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When I began studying Buddhism around eight years ago, a weekend retreat seemed like a big deal. Then I heard about month-long retreats, and thought that must be a vestige of some archaic past. Who can leave their life for a month to go on retreat?


My bills are paid for the month ahead, my bags are packed, and in 10 hours I leave for five weeks at a place with no cell reception. I know the center where I'll be, know a couple of people who'll also be there, know the general topic -- and the rest will unfold as it does.

That's one of the gifts of sustained practice: what seemed impossible becomes ordinary; what was threatening becomes interesting.

One of the worst weekends of my life, on a retreat, taught  me the most about life. Labels like good and bad don't seem to fit. It comes down to what you learn about yourself and your place in the interdependent web of all existence.

See you in July.

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