Yesterday I participated in a day-long Insight (Vipassana) retreat at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California.
We left at 7:30 am., crossed the Golden Gate Bridge with hardly any traffic in sight, and drove north on a beautifully clear and sunny fall day with nitid views of rolling golden hills and sleepy towns on fall-colored, tree lined streets.
The primary teacher for the retreat was Jack Kornfield and, since I am a bit guru-phobic, I was very relieved to discover that he is most decidedly un-guruish! A natural man with a great sense of humor who spoke eloquently but in a language that anyone could understand. It was difficult enough for a relatively uninitiated person like me to do five long (20 to 30 min) periods of sitting meditation, one short one, three 20 minute walking meditations and an eating meditation, without also having to listen to talk so abstract you might want to slit your wrists. Jack Kornfield is the opposite: so clear and to the point that I bought his book, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.
Some of us had our lunches on the hillside, some in small groups, others alone, but all in silence. All you could hear were the occasional cawings of the crows and the wind blowing through the laurel trees. The smell was heavenly.
Now for the reason for the title of this post. Before lunch Jack had some volunteers distribute two raisins to each of us, which we were instructed to hold in our hands. When we all had our raisins we were told to carry them slowly to our mouth, to bite down on them and slowly chew with our eyes closed until every last bit of raisin disintegrated and slid down our throats. Let me tell you, that was one explosion of intense flavor and sweet juices. The most delicious raisin ever, like no other!