CREDOS : Enlightenment — IV

What do you mean by boredom is a desire about stimulation?

It’s the momentum of our brains wanting to think about things and the constant mental chatter that makes us look for ways to keep ourselves awake by being interested in something. When you relax, you don’t need that stimulation. Being in the dark is sort of like being in a very safe womb.

How did you start doing dark retreats?

There’s a Tibetan lama named Lon Gil Rimpoche that I know quite well. He gave a series of talks here in the Boston area, and he introduced dark retreats as part of the teachings. Then I created this dark retreat space to do it myself.

You grew up in San Francisco. Were you raised with a particular religion?

My family was Jewish by background, but they were sort of non-observing. By the time I was an adolescent, I had read a lot on Buddhism. When I began to feel spiritual impulses that’s where I turned.

What’s the main thing people can learn from a dark retreat?

The main thing is that you learn what it means to be profoundly relaxed. We think of relaxation as going unconscious, zoning out. And this is a way to be relaxed and completely alert. The other thing is that you discover how your mind works as whatever thoughts arise in that state are clearly generated by your own habits of mind. So it becomes a way to see in those patterns and experience the real possibility of moving beyond. — (Concluded)