In praise of a small life

In praise of a small life

My last silent meditation retreat lasted seven days. There were clouds of mosquitoes and deer flies that bite your head.

The food was good.

Life gets small on a retreat. There’s no phones and no internet. There are no outsiders. There’s no news. No movies. Even books are discouraged.

Instead there is meditation and breakfast and more meditation and lunch and a break (yay!) and more meditation and dinner and more meditation and bed.

After a few days, you half want to escape and half want life to be like that always – because it’s simple and allows you to see yourself for real.

When the seven days are up, you drive carefully because other cars are going 80 clicks and you’re not used it.

Then you switch on the news and your world shatters.

I’m starting to think that this whole coronavirus lockdown thing is like a meditation retreat. It feels hard to start but actually – secretly – it’s rather pleasant.

Yesterday I went on a walk through the woods to the end of our road and noticed the smell of the spring pine and the gurgling of the melt-water. There were geese and grouse – and one squirrel who hid behind a tree.

Then I came home and made dinner.

It’s simple and it’s easy – and now I’m used to it, my brain is starting to lose its cravings for entertainment, excitement and novelty.

So it makes me wonder, when this is all over, will I want to leave?

And what will happen when I get back to “normal” life?

Will I regret the smallness I’ve lost?