Retreat with Heila and Rodney Downey





It's like a man hanging in a tree by his teeth over a precipice. His arms and his legs are bound. Somebody holding a gun stands nearby and asks him a question. If the man fails to answer the question, he will be shot. If the man answers, he will loose his grip and fall to his death. What to do?


Often we have issues in our lives that are like koans, seemingly insolvable riddles. Try as we might to find an answer or a solution, the problem or issue refuses to go away. What can we do in such situations?


We are like that man hanging in that tree. There is no way out of here. Life is wherever you go - there is no way for us to escape our responsibility. You are wherever you go - there is no way for us to ignore our human predicament. 


Lifeís issues can only be resolved through renunciation, surrender, letting go. When you let go entirely, and realise that you never really had anything to begin with, including your own life, then you can do the things you need to do. You are not looking for happy endings. You are not always trying to tie up loose ends. You are not trying to fix and control everything. You can relax and be with things as they are, and be at peace with that.   


Renunciation begins to affect your state of mind and your conduct. It makes no sense to hold onto yourself and your own desires. You can have a good time, no problem, but donít try to hold on. Donít try to solve everything, to make life perfect, because it never will be. You canít always get rid of problems, but you can get rid of the mind that makes things into a problem. Let go of this mind, and you also let go of the problem.      


And then it will be possible for you to dangle there, just breathing.

If you hang on, it's okay; and if you fall off, it's okay.


Help, help! Save me, save me! Before I happily plunge to my death.

See you in the Pure Land!


What a wonderful retreat! It was formal, and everybody behaved very mindfully and graciously. What a beautiful way to be in this world. If this kind of mindful awareness is carried into the work place, into our relationships with ourselves and with others, positive change will manifest in the world. No need to do anything specific - just be present, be mindful and aware, so that you can be yourself, and be with yourself, in a beautiful way. Then you can even be up a tree and be relaxed and at peace!


Thank you to HEILA and RODNEY from THE DHARMA CENTRE in Robertson for sharing their teachings and experience, and for the very helpful private interviews. Thank you to all retreatants, especially those who came from afar, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.


SAT CHIT ANAND will be closed for 6 weeks. We are going for teachings and retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh at Plum Village Monastery in France, and then to Lama Tzong Khapa Institute in Italy. LEELA will be giving our next retreat, which will be based on these teachings. Please note new date of 'THE MIRACLE OF MINDFULNESS', weekend of 12/13 AUGUST. Be well and Buddha blessings.




J SAT CHIT ANAND namaste to you Buddha-to-be! 

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