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  • I'm not a Buddhist or anything (or in fact anything) but one time I went on a Buddhist meditation retreat in Scotland, to a place called Dhanakosa.

    It was winter, and we were snowed in. Perfect silence reigned - and towards the end of the week we were obliged to spend more and more time in silence with one another.

    I found it VERY hard. One day I used sign language to persuade Gaelle, a beautiful French girl living in Scotland, with the most adorable accent you ever heard, to come out with me to play in the snow. It was freezing solid and the snow was not very amenable to being formed into snowmen or snowballs or indeed anything... but we managed after a lot of struggles to make a snow volcano.

    Then Gaelle produced a bubble-blowing bottle from her pocket, and we blew bubbles into the snow volcano....

    ...whereupon they froze!

    (if you look at the picture, the one on the left has popped....)

    Needless to say we hopped around like six year-olds but still couldn't say anything, though we giggled and squeaked a lot - we had to wait until lunch to tell everyone about our marvel.

    That evening we did a different meditation which focussed in turn on each member of the group.

    You know how it is when they go round the group and you're waiting for your turn - it was like that. I waited, there were about twenty of us and I was near the end. We spent a few minutes thinking positive thoughts about each other and when it came to my turn I was expecting to feel mostly embarrassed.

    "Helen", intoned our leader and BANG, I felt the force of all those thoughts as a physical sensation in the centre of my body.

    Yes.
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