Hiking. Before noon the whole group went hiking through the woods. It was quite interesting to experience this as a form of walking meditation. Whenever my mind went astray, I gently invited it for a cup of tea. After about 16 mental cups of tea we reached the peak and thoroughly enjoyed the view.
Words. Up there the group started talking again, yet no one appeared to have the urge to speak much. It seemed more like a gentle transition from silence to listening. On the way back I had a very delightful conversation with a nice woman from our group. Upon arrival we packed our belongings. During lunch Hannes sat next to me, and we spoke about sources of Theravada literature.
Farewell. Then it was time to say farewell, and I felt especially sad about leaving Pepi. She is such a wonderful woman full of kindness and wisdom, and somehow she reminds me of my grandmother. These few days in Puregg had been so priceless that I still do not know how to express my gratitude.
Journey. I shared most of the journey back to Graz with Klaus. Our train was completely overcrowded, so we had to squeeze into the tiny seats on the corridor. But this did not bother us in the slightest way – on the contrary, we shared a wonderful time and very insightful conversations. I can honestly call it the most enjoyable of all my train rides ever. For the last hour I even had a comfortable seat among some very nice passengers.
Lessons. So what have I learned in Puregg? – Practice. This word sums up everything. Yes, there were also intellectual discoveries. But for me the most valuable aspect was the practical application. The direct experience. The proper balance. The realisation of how practice feeds back into knowledge and understanding. Truly these few days have had a highly beneficial impact on my life; its full scope remains to be seen, depending on my future thoughts, words and actions, and the path that I choose with every single footstep.
Future. Clarity had arisen, and yet new confusion was already looming on the horizon. Until the present, in which I write these words, I have once again neglected this beneficial practice. But now I know how to pull myself out of the old patterns of delusion into which I so eagerly throw myself head over heels. Now I know the difference, and I have also realized that what I can do for others depends on what I allow myself to achieve within: a stable foundation, nurtured by constant practice, for the development of long-term happiness. :-)