As the taxis pulled away a bomb of relief and chatter exploded among us. For the first time, I was able to meet the people I had spent the past four days with. Part of me felt like I already knew them really well, then I realized I just knew what they looked like really well; I didn't even know which countries they were from!
That night we all went out for dinner and spent hours discussing the retreat, our travels, our daily lives and how the experience had changed us. I soon discovered there was an artificial intelligence Phd, a yoga and meditation teacher, an advertising executive from New York, a medium and a psychiatrist among the group. And despite our many differences in age and walks of life, we had all come to the retreat for the same reasons; to learn more about ourselves and calm our monkey minds.
With my first few steps back into society, everything seemed different. I felt happier and I noticed all the people selling fruit and drinks in the street and smiled at them and silently wished them love and kindness, but most of all I felt submerged in the moment. Colors were brighter, sounds clearer and I was so much more thankful for all the goodness in my life.
Looking back on the past four days, there were a lot of times when I wanted to quit, but I always had enough strength inside of me to pull myself from those ruts. I am beginning to realize just how powerful the mind is and the importance of being able to turn off the monkey mind and truly know oneself. Although I am still very imperfect and have a bit of a jumping monkey mind, all I can do from here on out is recognize these realities and live imperfectly but with great delight, and intentionally with great purpose.