Life has been so busy!
Workshopping, grad school (four hours commute every week day), nuclear abolition (only one nuke running in Japan so the restart campaign is speeding up), helping form organizations like the Transition Town Suginami, No Nuke Youth Network, Green Party Youth team, etc has been crazy. Exciting and fulfilling but in many ways unhealthy.
I've also been visiting lots of alternative events and people in Kanto and Chuubu regions, and I really want to share the harvest with everybody. Natural farmers, traditional Japanese "permaculture" elders, "tune-in drop-out" artists and associated Nepalese and unusual abbot, a traditional Japanese theme park with very skilled and friendly craftspeople, and many serendipitous encounters.
I've been wanting to blog about all these amazing things and haven't had any time.
But, I have something important I really need to share.
Several weeks ago I came back from serving a vipassana retreat in Chiba. This was my second time at a vipassana center. The first time was in Kyoto last year, and it was truly an "enlightening" experience that has changed my life. Almost like the first time I really came to my senses.
I've had the great fortune to experience a "mini-Berkley in the 60s" at UC Santa Cruz right after 9/11 that propelled me far out of the mainstream world, the red pill. Since then, I've lived in the jungle of Costa Rica, visited the revolutionary countries of Cuba and the Zapatista caricol Oventik in Chiapas, spent two months at Deer Park monastery in San Diego, lived in a food forest at the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead for two seasons, participated in City Repair's Village Building Convergence, experienced the 3.11~ earthquakes and Fukushima disaster, and visited areas with over 2 micro-sieverts/h of radiation. All of these journeys have been amazingly transformative and I feel extremely priveleged to have experienced them.
Yet, nothing compares to the ten days of sitting at my first vipassana course in Kyoto. Those ten days are perhaps the most important ten days I have ever experienced. All I did was sit and observe myself from 4:30 am to 9 pm, and that was exactly what I needed. I was able to really be with my ego, release sources of suffering I have held on to (like bad memories), and experience, if just for a moment, pure love and happiness. It was extremely challenging and tiring to sit and observe myself for that long. But, by the seventh day, I started to just have an uninhibited smile. Nasty elements within myself would emerge, and as I objectively observed them they would slowly dissolve, leaving me feeling much lighter. The insight, the healing, and the joy I experienced has kept me meditating for at least one hour almost every day since.
I don't think I can do justice in my current state to explain what was so amazing, but its also not something you can understand intellectually. Vipassana must be experienced. Only then is it real.
So what is vipassana anyways?
I believe it means, insight into the true reality of nature, an ancient meditation technique rediscovered by Buddha.
Below is a link for more info
There is no other gift I could share with you greater than vipassana.
Its not easy, but it is truly a path to real happiness and real freedom.
It took four people over three years to finally convince me to go.
I am extremely grateful to those people, Mark (Deer Park), Chad (Deer Park/UCSC farm), James (Bullocks), and Caitlin (Bullocks). Thank you.
One thing about vipassana retreats.
You cannot pay for it at the beginning of the retreat.
You need to complete the full ten days,
and if you have a desire for others to have a similar opportunity,
then you can pay how ever much you like.
Your retreat experience is paid for by others,
including the volunteer servers who are there
to ensure you have everything you need.
Its an amazing system.
All based on love and compassion.