Chenrezig Retreat Reflection by Lucy Andreetti

The Wangapeka study and retreat centre.

Chenrezig 5 day retreat.

This being my first silent retreat of notable length I assumed my usual anxious and fast paced mind would be shouting at me to run back to the city, and I would spend most of my time out of meditation battling myself in some form of discomfort. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Admittedly I gave myself a hard time at first ‘Think profound!’ I chastised myself when my thoughts turned to the simple things like how much I was enjoying my tea or how good the sun felt on my face. But after a while I stopped piling expectations on myself and those small things became the pathways to those higher thought processes. Having taken away the chatter and distraction of my daily life at home, I suddenly had the time and space to really THINK my thoughts to FEEL my feelings, and to come to conclusions I had been long searching for in the fog of my everyday.

As for the Chenrezig practice itself, it was strange and difficult to connect to at first. However that made it all the more satisfying when I finally had a breakthrough. Mark and Kath held a really beautiful space for us to learn and just enough explanation to satisfy without imposing on your own growth or realisations. Cultivating compassion for every living being was much easier once I showed myself some.

The presence of all the great minds and hearts who have come before at Wangapeka can really be felt in the land. As I moved slowly step by step through the pine forest in the informal practice I imagined all those who had taken the same path, who had breathed the fresh air in and the pain of samsara out for the wind to carry away down the stream. The property has a sense of healing and I couldn’t help but be absorbed and cradled by the nature that sometimes felt had been curated just for me  in whatever moment I happened to be experiencing. Every window had a view, every seat had a show from the Tui’s or the fantails, and every plate of food was like a hug from a good friend.

Whatever you intentions for visiting The Wanagapeka you will certainly find yourself unavoidably, unintentionaly working on the most important relationship of all. The one with yourself.