8. Beacon Bank.

Beacon Bank Damma Hall

Beacon Bank.

I went to bed that night exhausted. But I felt very safe for the first time in a month. I woke up equally as exhausted but managed to pick myself up and head for the first sit. About ten minutes into the sit, Burgs gave me a knowing look.

“Are you okay?” He whispered to me?

“Yes.” I replied.

“Go back to bed” he said.

“No I’m fine” I retorted.

The sit continued, but when it finished, Burgs approached me.

“You’re a complete mess,” he said. “What on earth has happened to you? You need to leave this retreat and go and stay with your brother for a few days until you are more energetically together. You can then return here. There is no point in you being here until you have landed properly in England and the frantic energy that is surrounding you has settled a little.”

I had not yet recounted the events of the past month to him, and did not do so for a while, but simply agreed to do as he said. If you trust your teacher you should always follow their advice until their advice proves to be misjudged. Thus far he had only given me good advice so I was more than happy to trust him on this. I got on a train and headed to Beacon Bank Farm, a retreat centre run by my brother about an hour away.

I spent the next few days mowing the lawn and cutting paths through woods at Beacon Bank, to ground myself and try to reconnect me with nature after such a long time in the concrete jungle that is Los Angeles. Beacon Bank is an incredibly tranquil place. It had recently been the setting for Burgs’ five-month retreat and its energy was incredible. After a few days I was in a stable enough state to return to the retreat, which I completed, before heading back to Beacon Bank, where I was set to stay for a further six weeks.

I spent the next six-week meditating, mowing the lawn, watching the full three series’ of Bruce Parry’s ‘Tribe’ travel documentary, going on long walks and cutting pathways through woods. It was one of the most peaceful times of my life. Slowly but surely my sits began to deepen as my energetic body began to reorganise itself and my mind decluttered. For the first time in my life I watched a sunset and did not smother it with thought or try to get more out of than it was.

I knew that everything that I had been, everything that I had done no longer mattered. The constant need for attention, for admiration, for approval, had gone. I knew that everything was okay, exactly how it was, and that I did not need to interfere with it. I did not need to do anything. It did not need me. Everything was okay.

It was during this time that I decided that I wanted to properly commit myself to the Dhamma, and let it take me wherever it had to.

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