Wednesday, 31 December 2008
good bye 2008
Due to confusion and bureaucracy I didn't get a visa from the sultanate of Oman on time and so Sami and I had to stay here while the others are having fun in the sun and sand.
But remember I was complaining that I didn't have time to go on a silence retreat to Samye Ling? Well, I decided to have my own Samye Ling here. Disconnecting phones and covering TVs I've tried my best to have a buddhist retreat. Meditating, T'ai chiiing, eating vegetables (and some salmon left from Christmas, and pudding and actually quite a lot of meat and sweets) and making the best of my surroundings.
I've had long walks in Hampstead Heath, visiting a Rembrandt and a Vermeer who live in Kenwood House. Also I finally visited my neighbour, some Karl Marx fellow who lives in the cemetery five minutes from here. Also reading mountains of abandoned books, watching loads of DVDs and practicing the mandolin for hours as there is no one to annoy. So at the end is not such a spiritual retreat but I'm enjoying it anyway.
Today I burned brushes and the mandala I've spent ages drawing. The idea came from an entry in Aurelio Asiain's blog. He writes about this beautiful japanese rite in which at the end of the year, the monks burn brushes and paper thanking them for their services. You can see loads of his pictures in here.