December 09, 2006

Going Home by Leaving Home

I have arrived. Things are different and things are very much the same. Like returning to your parent’s home after your Mom has rearranged the furniture. It is still home. There is snow on the ground here, though the sun is shining brightly and melting it. The feeling of belonging is uncanny. Every step of the way, the little Amtrak station in Lincoln, big Union Station in Denver, the little coffee shop with the Buddha in the window where I like to have breakfast, the bus to DIA, the shuttle to Fort Collins, and down the twisting dirt road to the front gate, the feeling of coming home grew stronger. Shambhala, I’m back.

The trip was probably as good as it has ever been. I took Marilyn’s advice and swallowed half a Dramamine before boarding the train and slept better than ever before. I still woke several times as I got stiff crunched down across two seats and body parts fell asleep, but I was able to role over and drop right back off. I am not so tired today, though I can feel the lack of oxygen dragging on me a bit.

It is the middle of the afternoon, and quiet here as everyone goes about their tasks. Already I have seen a few familiar faces and exchanged a few hugs and hellos. The lodge feels mostly empty. Next week winter dathün, a month long meditation retreat, will be starting and this place will fill up. I have not participated in a dathün, and though I have been advised it is a wonderful thing, I still regard the entire concept with a wary skepticism. At least as far as the possibility of my participation in one exists, though I can see how others may enjoy it, I think it will be a long time before I join in the doing of nothing on such a large scale.

Even the smell of this place is familiar. The smell of the outdoors, of the lodge, the dining hall, the registration building. It is said that smell is the sense most strongly linked to memory. Which I find odd considering humans have such comparatively poor noses.

I wonder that it shouldn’t tell me something that this place seems so comforting while the places I am every day, school and work, can seem so awkward at times.

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