I’m a kinestethic learner. I have the best learning results when I meet face to face with other people or attend their workshops and seminars. And since I know my preferences I have travelled around the globe to meet people and attend the seminars of some respected teachers in their fields.

When I read the announcement that the venerable Ajahn Brahm -Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia- would host a 10 day silent retreat in Germany I couldn’t resist and booked immediately. So I just came back from 3 highly inspirational, calm and peaceful days in the Odenwald. Only a good hour drive from Frankfurt but lightyears away from the busy normality.

The whole seminar started with quite a shock: The moment I read the agenda for the next day I realised what the following two lines meant:

4:45 Wake-Up
5:15 Morning meditation with Ajahn Brahm

Well, I would have called it “middle in the night” meditation but hey, that’s part of the experience. And indeed, it was quite the experience. Literally. About 80 people gathered in the Buddha-Hall for a first one hour breath-meditation with Ajahn and in total silence and tranquillity. Later in his first Dharma-talk from which he held twice per day he shared his favorite meditation technique, the simplest of all. Breathing in, breathing out. Naturally. And to stop our mind from having one million thoughts per minute, he simply smiled and advised: With every breath in, silently say the 2 words “Inner peace”. And while breathing out, think of “Let go”. That’s it. Simple but effective, I thought in the beginning.
Now I know: Simple and effective. Or even more clear: Effective because it is simple.

Over the cause he shared many, many stories with us in his unparalleled uplifting and funny way revealing more and more deep thoughts and ideas on how to live a more fulfilled life.

There are so many aspects in his talks which we all can learn from. Not only of the ancient old wisdom he shares with us which of course is more current and more applicable to todays busy life then most of us might think. His way of delivering these thoughts is what truly sets him apart: Always uplifting, funny and at the same time with a deep meaning.

And what I liked most: He answered every question he received personally, but never directly with a How-to approach. Instead, he always replied with one of his many, many stories revealing the deeper answers only slowly but that much more powerful. Because these stories were told so lively I’m sure most of us will not forget them.

Here’s one of my favorites:

Committment

My view of relationships and marriage is this: when the couple are going out, they are merely involved; when they become engaged, they are still only involved, maybe more deeply; when they publicly exchange marriage vows, that is commitment.

The meaning of the marriage ceremony is the commitment. During a ceremony, to drive home the meaning in a way peoply usually remember for the rest of their lives, I explain that the difference between involvement and commitment is the same as the difference between bacon and eggs.

At this point, the in-laws and friends start to pay attention. They begin to wonder, ‘What has bacon and eggs got to do with marriage?’ I continue.

‘With bacon and eggs, the chicken is only involved, but the pig is committed.
Let this be a pig marriage.’

If you like this approach I’ve great news for you: Ajahn Brahm posted dozens of his Dharma-Talks on youtube! Just check out his channel here and get a better sense from what I have experienced the last 3 days.

Inner Peace. Tranquility. Let go.
Moritz

 

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