In the last several weeks I have had the privilege to spend time at Plum Village, a Buddhist monastery and retreat center located in the picturesque French countryside. The monastery founded by Thick Nhat Hanh over 30 years ago is a place where serenity, love, and a slower pace abound. Every year for four weeks during the summer, Plum Village is open to anyone that wants to come and stay for at least one week (some people choose to stay for all four weeks). The monks and the nuns prepare the extra bedding quarters for houseguests and allow campers to come to the property for mediation, reflections, Buddhist philosophy talks and living in community with all the other participants. It is an amazing international community that flocks to this simple living place to share a common goal of better self-understanding. People come and open their hearts to learn more about the practice of love for all things, self, friends, family, animals, and our planet.
One of the reasons I decided to attend my first mediation retreat was to learn different types of mediations. I have my morning practice that I have been doing for some time, but like with all things as I grow in my practice I need to start trying different things to keep receive deeper benefits. Since there were several types of meditation that would be practiced I thought this would be a perfect fit. For me it was a great experience. Whenever I have meditated in a group I have an easier time concentrating that when I meditate by myself. I have heard many people also have the same experience when they meditate within the presence of others. I also found in this very serene and beautiful place that my meditations were deeper than when I meditate on my own. My experience reminded me that meditation is a practice, and just like anything else it is good to spend time getting new skills and tools to be able to meditate more deeply in my everyday life.
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