In the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, two related families go to war with one another. There is a famous thrilling pre-battle scene where the eldest brother of the good guys finds himself gambling away everything dear to him (including his wife!) in a head to head battle with one of the bad guys. Eventually, the bad guys win, but not without having lost some part of their soul in the process. My take-away: gambling is not something to be taken lightly, but if confronted with it, it can teach you a lot about yourself.
Later this fall, for about 3 weeks, I’m taking a gamble. I’m headed off on a three week sabbatical, which includes 10 days at a silent meditation vipassana retreat. There is only one meal a day and a grueling schedule which includes being woken up at 4:00 am and no interaction with not just electronic devices, but any written word. Days are spent in silence, except for a once a day talk on the teachings of the Buddha.
Sounds awful, doesn’t it? And yet, its been something I have longed for, for a long, long time. I have a daily meditation practice, and go on 1/2 day and 3 day retreats as often as I can, but have never been on a 10 day one. It’s daunting and exciting and if my shorter times are any indication, the outcome is bound to be good and like the gambler in the Mahabharta, I have always learned something about myself. You feel a mental and emotional expansiveness and the ones you love just glow with what is being shed on them. It’s quite magical.
And yet, its a gamble. The outcome is unknown, the coming months uncharted. Whatever it leads to, and no matter the effect, I am deeply grateful to each of you who have made this sabbatical possible. If nothing, it fulfills at least one of my dreams, one thing is checked off on my bucket list, and YOU made that happen.
With deepest gratitude,