365 Challenge Day 184 – Silent Retreat – Day 2

22 Dec

Day 2 of an 8-day silent meditation retreat

The first dharma talk of the retreat was on the Seven Factors of Awakening.  These are the seven qualities that are developed on the path to Enlightenment. There are three “calming” factors, Tranquility, Steadiness (or Concentration), and Equanimity.  There are three “active” factors, Investigation, Energy, and Joy.  All are held in Mindfulness, the seventh factor.

I have mentioned before that lately I am having trouble connecting with the Insight Meditation practice and/or community.  This is one reason I have been focusing on yoga so much.  This talk really explained everything for me.  I could see what was missing in the practice for me.

I am not exaggerating when I say that the teacher spent the first 35 minutes talking about Mindfulness, went through the rest, ran out of time, and spent two minutes each at the end for Energy and Joy.  This is not a coincidence.  This tradition, as practiced in New England anyway, is very heavy on the Mindfulness, and puts a LOT of emphasis on the CALMING factors, but I listened to the talk and thought, Where is the Energy?  Where is the JOY????

That’s really what’s missing for me.  Joy can be cultivated internally, but, why are there so many external expressions for tranquility and equanimity, but none for energy and joy?  If I do manage to get to a point when I’m bursting with Joy and Energy, am I supposed to just suppress it so I don’t disturb other people’s calm?

I was sitting with this question all week on retreat.


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