Keizan Sensei’s trip to the Himalayas

Dear Sangha members, very best wishes for 2012. I do hope we each have a fruitful and enriching year ahead. I look forward to seeing you in Liverpool (please check out our personalised mini retreat opportunity), Crosby or up in the Lakes. We have an all year round  Wednesday to Saturday schedule in Liverpool and every month there is a five day or longer retreat/workshop available in one of these three locations. I have also had requests to do another a five day Big Mind retreat in Lakes (max number 10) some time in May or June. Let me know if you are interested. All above will be posted on web site as we get dates together.

I am just back from a trek in the Himalayas just on the Nepal side of the Tibetan border – please see couple of pictures in the album section

During the early part of the trek before the altitude got too much for them we had a string of donkeys carrying food supplies and kerosene for the cooking stoves. The lead donkey had a bell around its neck and whenever it moved, the bell rang – similar to the dominant cow in herds up in the high alpine pastures in Europe. I imagined the donkey took it for granted that movement and the noise of a bell clanking were intrinsically connected. Perhaps without the bell noise it would think it would be unable to move and could be fearful of it being taken away. In fact it would be able to move just as freely and what’s more escape the attention of the donkey man or herder. It would be free to roam! This struck me as similar to our own powerful sense of self. We are deeply protective of it notwithstanding the limitations attached to it arising out of our conditioning and fears. This sense of self hinders us but where would we be without it? A scary prospect! Perhaps like the donkey without the bell, we would be no different than before except we would be free to roam and explore our world without the close supervision of our conditioned self

 My best, Keizan Sensei

The pictures are of a Tibetan monastery beneath Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world, and me at the pass (17,200ft) that takes you around Manaslu, holding a SWZ membership card. We need the publicity!