Submitted by Sudaka on Thu, 06/08/2023 - 22:19

Suryavana Retreat Centre, Jerica, Spain, 8 June 2023

Greetings from a sultry, potentially stormy afternoon here in Suryavana. It’s been raining a lot the last couple weeks. Thankfully. I just let the chickens out for a run and a dust down in their preferred dust-bath spot under the cypress trees. 

The last couple days I have been preparing the house to receive a group of folks who are cycling their way down the “Via Verde”, the “Green Way“ cycle path. They will do yoga and I hope to lead a meditation session for them and then they head on their way.

Suryavana goes ok. More activity. We just launched a wee fundraising campaign to buy a new low-energy consuming dish-washer for the Centre kitchen (we rely on a solar and battery set up here). Seems a luxury to me but really necessary in a much used kitchen. And it will be appreciated by so many. The response has been positive. Hence buying the dishwasher becomes a collective action, a collective purchase. A practice of Sangha!

A sizeable portion of my energy these days goes into taking care and guiding the Suryavana project along. Probably what it takes to keep it going says a friend. The “work” though is one of trying to find a balance of work and play. Action and rest. Also, as I commented to a retreatant as she came out of a two week solitary retreat, its important to maintain the sense of agency and initiative in my life here. It’s so easy to get absorbed into the project. It’s then easy to feel driven by and overwhelmed by the endless list of tasks to be done and “lose myself”. There is the added challenge of my work been associated with the place I live in. I have had to delineate time frames and physical spaces (spots) around Suryavana where I go to “change mind-body state” and not be thinking about the next work thing. (The hammock is my favourite spot). I also have been finding it useful to go for a walk (with the dog) exploring new spaces around the area, in between shopping trips for example. 

The rhythm of the kids and their needs and “village life” to the extent that we get involved with that, provides another dimension to life here. School means a couple trips out a day. Drop off and pick up. The “school run” as it’s called. My partner, Jesu, is now the President of the Teacher/Parent association at the village school. I think it’s a positive connection with the local conmunity. We could be considered outsiders. Literally and metaphorically. Suryavana is six kilometres from the village and we are not from the area. The address here is “Extramuros”, which translates as "outside the walls".

My other principle pursuit is the Bodhiyoga International teacher training project. Sadhita and I have been meeting up every couple of weeks down out his village, Serra, which I have been enjoying. We have come up with some creative and new ways forward. We have relaunched doing Yoga and Meditation retreats again after a three year pandemic hiatus. Here in Suryavana. Also as a consequence of the pandemic we have moved into a partial Online presentation of our material. For me here in my relatively remote living situation brings a lot of pleasure and satisfaction. We have developed a great programme over the years and now offer weekly Online classes which give our students a chance to plug in regularly with us.

In part of my "hammock time", I have been working my way through a collection of novels, over the last months,, written by women (mostly scholars) recounting the tales of the women in the classical Greek stories and myths. It seems a new genre actually, sort of rewrites of the old stories. “Circe” and a “Thousand Ships” were fantastic and now about to begin the story of Medusa “Stone Blind" by Natalie Haynes. One thing that I have been appreciating is more sensitive ethical reflection on what at times are terribly brutal events in the classical stories (though still lived out in some places even today). Odysseus, who has been one of my heroes, is portrayed as a crazy old man at the end of “Circe”, suffering, the perhaps to be expected consequences, of a life dedicated to violent endeavours. I always wondered what happened to the wily wanderer after slaughtering the household of would-be suitors to his wife. Now I know.

love to all, Sudaka