February 16, 2017

Unlearning, Unwinding, and Being Here

by Pacha Mama

Spring 1997. I’m a Marketing manager, recycled engineer, looking at the different options for my one week vacation. Staring at the pamphlets I collected randomly. Beaches of Cuba? Pool side in Florida? Hiking in Vermont? Satori? This last one grabs my attention. What is this? A different vacation, one week in the beautiful countryside of Quebec. I have heard of meditation before. This can be different. Let’s go.

Fifty people in a room and this question: tell me who is in. Who is in… hour after hour. Two days of getting myself naked beyond raw. I’ve told my life story to strangers, talked about my pains and heartbreaks. Really there is not much left to say. I ask for an interview. “This has been very interesting, thank you for the experience. I know we are not finished, but I feel I got everything I could from this. I am going to leave quietly. Thank you for everything.”
Her eyes don’t leave mine. What more to say. I feel discomfort in my body and mind. My heart is racing. She’s totally still. Seconds of silence that seem like an eternity. Apprehension as she looks like she’s about to say something. Is she? ‘Say something’, I wish to myself.
That’s it. She is about to talk. She slowly and firmly says ‘Tell me who is in’.
I stayed. And eventually, everything shifted. I got it. I found it in my heart. In the heart of the moment. This moment, the moment when ‘who is in’ came clear. And changed my life.

Twenty years later, this process has become one of my favorites.
Elegant, efficient, a one-way ticket to the core of one’s being.
‘Who is in’ is a koan. A koan is not a question, it’s a quest, that takes us on a journey within. It’s a Zen device which acts like a shortcut, an arrow, piercing through the layers of self, masks and personality.
When we put all our energy in the service of this search, like we do in the workshop, the dive inwards is radical. Each partner allowing us to explore a different part of our own psyche.
This is an adventure for the mind, a spiritual boot camp, a moment out of time.

How often do we get a chance to spend three days with ourselves without interruption, placing all our energy actively in the service of seeking our true nature?
It takes courage to dive into oneself, and even more to truly look at what we discover.
But then…

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