Up at 6 a.m. the first morning, a quick shave and shower, and I was at the beginning sitting period by 6:30, ready for the day and the week. A half hour later I began to notice a strange yet familiar sensation, which was growing stronger in my middle section, while at the same time cold beads of perspiration were appearing on my forehead.
“Oh no! This isn’t really happening—I felt just fine—until now.” About 3 minutes later I was convinced that this was not going away soon. I got up as quietly as I could and headed for my lodgings. It was a half-mile walk down and up hills and by the time I arrived and made it to the bathroom it was as though all the energy in by body was literally and figuratively “flushed” out of me. I took the 5 or 6 faltering steps to the bed where I lay, barely able to raise any part of my body for the next 24 hours. The only good part of this situation was that I had Linda and our friends close by and willing to bring me food, should I desire any.
The 2nd day I felt well enough to make it to one or two of the sessions and then head back to the bed. By evening the stomach cramps and gas pains began—these lasted through the night. By day 3 I was definitely on the mend. I could make it through most of the sessions and even to the dining hall for meals. “Ah, back into the reason I had come—the silence, the sittings, the spiritual journey.” I even managed to take a nature walk.
Then the mind-storms began. For two days my meditations were filled with obsessive thoughts about . . . surprise! . . . computers! Linda had been warning me for months that I was spending a little too much time absorbed in technology, which of course I denied. But denial is much more difficult when confronted by oneself without the defense mechanisms. Perhaps my weakened physical condition prepared the way, but in this one sitting period an image appeared, something like a Trojan Horse, only it came in the form of a big monitor connected to a larger-than-life desktop computer. Out of the screen were reaching for me—wires and cables and worm-like tentacles, grabbing at my arms and wrapping themselves around me, pulling me back into the screen and, if I allowed, down into the innards of this technological nightmarish computer thing. I was being strangled and suffocated by my own technology!
Right then and there a deep resolve arose. I did not want on my tombstone or have read at my memorial: “He was good with computers.” As soon as I returned from retreat I was going to downsize my computer equipment by one-third to one-half!