After I unpacked, I headed to the main building where the dining area is. The five other men were sitting together introducing themselves to each other. Bob, the male Assistant Teacher joined us for lighthearted discussion. There is a sense of deep “knowingness” among participants. Regardless of the details of our personal walk in life, we were each seriously committed to this path and this is recognizable. During the next 20 days, I would become accustomed to the silent presence of this group of strangers who in a meaningful way, were not strangers at all.
Around 7 pm, we (men and women) met in the women’s dinning area for an orientation meeting. There, the female teacher (Gair Crutcher), explained details about important ways that these long courses differ from the usual 10-day and Satipatthana courses we have all been accustomed to. Gair emphasized the steps taken to ensure each of us with the maximum opportunity to benefit from our time there. Also, we were informed that we would each have a designated seating area in the dinning room. Deciding where to sit, was one less distraction to concern ourselves with.