- 2:30 PM to sunset
- Saturday June 21, 2014
- Orlando Insight Meditation Hall
When I attended my first 10 day Meditation Retreat 1n 1994, as taught by S.N. Goenka, ironically with Peter, I was filled incredible gratitude, a deep burning to practice and give to others this incredible Dharma. In fact after that course I located the most unsightly dirty industrial stove in the camp and proceeded to scrub until I could scrub no more.
For most of the next 17 years I was very involved with Dharma Service in the Goenka Sangha. The Southeast Vipassana Group went from “gyspy course” to having a full fledged center in South Georgia called Dhamma Patapa. There were many opportunities to serve, I was usually the lead person to set up for the two 10-day gypsy courses before Dhamma Patapa was established.
I was filled with so much gratitude for being taught the priceless technique of Vipassana Meditation, that it only made sense to give back. It did not hurt that Mr. Goenka would say that those folks who serve typically have a deeper practice. I found that the paramita of Dana or generosity was something that made me feel much more connected to other yogis.
We would usually get to Camp St. John at the Marywood Retreat Center on the St. Johns River the previous day and start setting up. The rustic camp was in a huge oak hammock with the River in slight view. At night one could see or hear nothing, it was so dark and quiet. The group of 5-10 servers would meditate for an hour in the evening and the morning, and share food we prepared together. We had our little retreat before the retreat that left us feeling connected and fulfilled.
When I reflect upon my childhood my most important memories were church service memories. Whether cleaning up the retreat center or serving chili at the state fair, I felt this intimacy to my spiritual community, and a deeper belief in the teachings because of service. For my path it is like service is a part of that consciousness that just knows.
So when Ananda asked the Buddha about the community, the Buddha replied that the community is everything. The Sangha is a necessary and wonderful part of the Path to Enlightenment. I am very grateful to Peter and Orlando Insight for exposing me to this priceless Dharma. I do not think we could possibility have a harder working teacher than Peter. We build our community through service to each member of the Sangha including Peter.
Lately Peter has been discussing Skeptical Doubt. The antidote for Doubt is to discuss the Dharma with teachers and yogis on the Path. I have found that when I am involved through sitting or service with a community, I typically do not have as much doubt. When I am disconnected from the Sangha, then my sitting practice can get inconsistent and I begin to have doubt about the practice, the teacher and my ability to grow on the Path.
Saturday afternoon, I will be at the Meditation Hall to clean. I asked Peter if we can do some cleaning while all the cushions at being used at the weekend retreat. If anyone would like to come earlier please let me know. The goal will be to clean three large rugs, sweep and mop the floors, wipe down surfaces and clean the bathroom. I have a thermos for cold water and cups. Hope to see you there.
Metta, Andy Quinn