I recently had the great good fortune to be the recipient of a workshop based on Morita Therapy. Its aim is to reveal the depth to which a person is being influenced by conditioned mind by setting up circumstances that thwart ego at every turn. All choices, decisions, and distractions (i.e. phones, computers, etc.) are removed, and the retreatant is offered spacious structures and detailed instructions throughout each day.
This workshop is arguably the most illuminating experience of my life.
We often talk about the karmic process that is so close that it feels like skin and how good it is when that is revealed. Through this process, what was revealed was not only the “skin” karma, but the karma that is under the skin – the karma that feels like it goes right to the bone. However, it is important to note that on a content level, I did not see anything new. (The Guide and the Mentor have been pointing these things out to me for years!) No, it wasn’t what was seen that was transformative, but the depth of the seeing itself.
For example, for the first few days, I was aware that my hand would habitually go to my pocket as if to retrieve my phone. This recurring gesture brought to my attention how often I unconsciously checked my phone. Then one evening, the urge to interact with my phone was quite intense. I just wanted desperately to look at something, to engage with something outside myself. As I sat with the longing, staying with the sensations, the voices, etc., I saw that ego was telling me that checking my phone would make me feel connected, included, and that I was not alone. Seeing that in itself was interesting, but then it got even better. As I stayed with this “desire to connect,” I saw how ego uses all distractions, and the phone in particular, as a cheap imitation for the real connection that is always already here, namely, with the Heart. In that moment, all sense of an illusion of a separate self dropped away and what was left was bliss.
Within the structure, space, and encouragement to steadily watch the mind, I was able to see clearly that which I was not. The disidentification from ego’s negativity and all of its run-of-the-mill conversations left me in profound joy as I went through each day. It was like being on a honeymoon with my heart. We (the Heart and I) moved from task to task in delighted union. Sweeping the porch, scooping the kitty litter, watering the plants were all done with attention abiding in Awareness. Thoughts were noticed, they just did not pull me away from the Beloved. What’s more, it was as if everything – the workshop, the tasks, the support – was all for me. That is, that everything that was happening and everything that has ever happened had been specially and specifically designed for the happy reunion of Heart and human.
The Guide has indicated that this workshop is one of the practice offerings we hope to make available to Sangha in our new home. I have never been more grateful, awed, and humbled by any practice support in all my years of practice. I am overjoyed by the possibility of everyone having this opportunity.