More and more I have little to say about the care taking experience out here at DMU. It's not that there is nothing to talk about. It is that what there is to say sounds too much like gossip. Even if one didn't have vows steering one away from gossip and therefore it's harmful effects, it wouldn't be cool. There will always be interpersonal drama large and small in any small group of people you throw together in the middle of the desert. But talking about it in this format is, I think, no good. Also, for this particular experiment that is the Great Retreat, it is important to keep the mental image of the thing pure. Why? Because maybe prayers and meditations from people outside the retreat actually reach those inside the retreat. If so, it's best if the prayers are pure and not cluttered with gossip issues that may or may not be true. Having a pure mind helps the care takers in particular. In the first three year retreat our teachers did it was reported that sometimes the food that the care takers made for them was not edible. The care takers confirmed that on those occasions they had been arguing in the kitchen while they prepared the meal. While we don't make meals for the retreatants, usually, we handle all their food in package form. I do not want to see the day that half of the groceries we send to someone come back with a note that says something like "All this food tastes like it has gone bad for some reason" and we can trace it to a care taker brawl before delivery.
I am a strong believer in the idea that at some point on a person's spiritual path they must die to themselves in some way. Some ignorant way that the seeker thinks of themselves must go away in order for a new person to emerge. Which is why a long solo retreat is so valuable. If there is no one around to reinforce the old way you think about yourself, then you have a better chance of planting really strong mental seeds to see a new you in the future. I can therefore see the merit in forgetting about the retreatants for the middle part of their three years, to quiet the mental inquiry we are sending to them. Keep the money coming, however. Humor, that was humor and also true.
Christmas is near. In honor of Jesus, go occupy some public place and talk about things that the establishment doesn't want to hear. Make sure that the government doesn't like it and the police don't like it and accepted religious institutions don't particularly like it. It should even make you uncomfortable. Things like "Love your neighbor and love your enemy" and "You're going to reap what you sow." Then feel really grateful that you can do so while keeping love in your heart. That's the hard part. It's the love that makes all the difference.