I have been on retreat with Eckhart Tolle at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, called Joy of Being. It was early to be in the Canadian Rockies and there was still ice on the lake. The retreat was held in the Fairmont Hotel which looks out onto this view of Lake Louise. When we arrived at the beginning of the retreat the lake was white with ice except for a little open water at one end. Then the weather for our week there was so warm that the ice was melting as we were leaving and the deep turquoise of the glacial waters was beginning to show through.
This next picture shows this and also in the distance you can see the hotel the retreat was held in. I didn’t stay in the hotel. I stayed in my Scamp in the Lake Louise campground and loved that too.
Eckhart was in fine form for this retreat. What I love about him and about his teachings are the simplicity and purity there. I think he has the most transparent personality as anyone I have ever been exposed to. He is just so clean and clear and simply himself that I just enjoy being in the room with him, experiencing such a sense of delight in his presence. This picture kind of captures his impishness, don’t you think?
I haven’t been following Eckhart’s teachings closely lately, so maybe it is just for lack of listening, but the theme he opened and closed the retreat with was something I hadn’t heard from him before, and it was especially meaningful to me. He talked about a “surface I” and a “deep I” as two different versions of who we are, and how they need to work together in an integrated way. I’ve been sensing this internally for a while and the thought had been making me laugh about how maybe I was getting a split personality disorder. The mind is great at pathologizing things, isn’t it? So Eckhart was really helpful in expressing it the way he did. I have a clear sense now of how it feels to stay in my deep self and utilize my surface self (or, I like the name “functional self”) at the same time. As I’m driving now across Montana and Wyoming it feels like a great opportunity to practice that as the scenery goes by.
There were 650 of us there on the Joy of Being retreat, and 1000 on the waiting list! And we came together from 40 different countries all around the world.
The mountains were spectacular of course. Pictures are better than words.
I am happy to report that I didn’t have even one run-in with a Grizzly bear!