Can I Read You a Poem? Lessons from a 10-Day Meditation Retreat




I just finished a super intense 10-day silent meditation retreat with my wife, Carrie.

And over those 10 days, I realized something important:

I really don’t like being in isolation — especially for days on end — with no phone, no friends, and barely any food.

It’s very uncomfortable for a guy like me.

In fact, if I were to design a party for myself, it would be the exact opposite of this: lots of people, lots of food.

But Carrie’s done several of these retreats, and she loves them…

So when the opportunity came, I decided to join her (fully anticipating an uncomfortable experience).

Because in spite of the pain, I wanted to better understand her experience.

And I don’t regret it at all…

Because from my discomfort, two wonderful things happened:

  • First, I was able to connect with Carrie on a deeper level than I ever have before…
  • And second, something about the isolation pushed me to access a totally different kind of creativity than when I’m in my normal routine.

That’s where the poem comes in.

After 6 or 7 days of silence, sitting in my little room, eating my bowl of grool, I wrote something. And I really want to share with you.

You can watch the video above to listen to me read it, or check it out for yourself:

I always wanted to be me,
I see no improvements to be made,
I am absolutely perfect,
Just the way I came,
Growing, learning, changing,
It’s all a part of the game,

I always wanted to be me,
That includes my curiosity,
Trying this, trying that,
Going there and coming back,

I want the pleasure and the pain,
I want the whole entire range,
Of experience to be had,
There’s no such thing as good and bad,
They are judgements that I make,
Points of view I can take,
The choice is always mine,

If I happen to forget,
It is me who pays the fine,

The secret to being free,
Is always to find me,
Right as I am,
Perfectly,
A man

I always wanted to be me,
That includes constant change,
The sum of all my parts,
With an added dose of strange,

I created me,
And my identity,
I created you,
And the world in which we live,
My responsibility is all I have to give,

I offer you yourself,
For there is nothing more,
I am selling people themselves,
From door to door
,

I always wanted you to be you,
Together what beautiful things we can do,
Power is there for the taking,
Power comes from us making,
The choice that we are right,
In the darkness and the light,

We can have as much as we’re willing,
We can have as much as we want,
Enthusiasm and attitude,
Dictate the Universe’s response,

They will try to fix you,
“You’re wrong!” Is what they sell,
Then it’s “Come over here little girl,
For a dollar we can get you well”,

They’ll tell you that you’re lacking,
For that’s their only pitch,
What they’re selling is a scratch,
For an invisible itch,

The truth is that you’re perfect,
You have all it takes,
Add a little love,
To put icing on the cake
,

I can expect to out,
Only what I’m willing to invest,
What I’ve been searching for,
Is in the center of my chest.

Highlights:
1:13 Being alone for days on end is uncomfortable for Ezra
2:22 When you remove the routine and stimulation of daily life and don’t replace it with anything, you are confronted with yourself
3:40 There was a type of creative energy that was only reached in that spot
4:24 Ezra reads his poem

Click Here For Video Transcript

So, here’s the deal. My wife is super into meditation and things of that nature, right. She likes, you know, yoga retreats, and meditation retreats, and isolation, and stuff like that. I grew up on a hippie commune. I don’t think I’ve ever been alone in a room by myself until I was like 21, or I like to say alone for like a week at a time, let’s say, or a couple days even, until I was like 21. So, Carrie was, you know, going on this meditation retreat where there’s lots of isolation, lots of time alone, lots of silence. They don’t really feed you very much. And she has done these several times and loves them. And, like, as I was saying, if I were to design a party for myself, it would include the opposite of that. There would be people. There’d be lots of food. We’d be hanging out. Like, this is not my idea of a good time.

However, I am keenly interested in Carrie and her experience. And also, I want to understand the value that she gets from these experiences that she’s so into so I can better understand her, and, you know, just so I can have context for the experiences that she enjoys, even if I find them really uncomfortable. Because for me, being alone by myself without much food, and meditation for days on end is like, not really…that’s extremely uncomfortable for me. That’s not something I would choose to do on my own. Hey, listen, I meditate in the mornings, but I meditate with Carrie. We hang out together and meditate. It’s a party. It’s us two together hanging out.

So anyways, the point that I’m getting to here is I wrote a poem, and I would like to read you this poem. And, you know, I did this like 10-day meditation, and it was cool. It was really uncomfortable. I was very uncomfortable. So, my thought process that I would be uncomfortable, that I’ll experience discomfort within this experience was totally accurate. However, it was also extremely valuable because what I found was, in addition to kind of, yeah, can I see it? You know, I understand. I see what you get from this, and I dig it. Like, I’ll do it with you again in like 10 years. I’m not gonna sign up for this ongoingly and recurring, but I really can jive with…you know, I can see what the groove is there. I can see why you dig that and why you’re interested in it, and I love having an understanding of this experience that you enjoy so that we can relate about it. I mean that was my goal.

I did find one thing, though, which is when you remove the routine and stimulation of your daily life, you know, you’re not taking out the trash and doing the dishes, and doing your work, and like you don’t have that, and you don’t replace it with the routine and stimulation of some other experience like you’re traveling or whatever, you replace it with basically nothing, right? You’re confronted with yourself because you’re just in your head in silence. You know, you’re feeding you a bowl of slop twice a day. Like there’s not a lot of stimulation available. And so, you have books, and you also have your mental process and what I discovered was that after like six days…I mean, we did this for a long time. It’s like two weeks or something. After like six or seven days of the removal of that, you know, no electronics by the way, let’s add that in. No electronics. That is not…I roll with it look at me. I roll with electronics, man. I’m gonna get to this poem I wrote, I promise.

So, with the removal of the routine and stimulation of your daily life for, you know, a long period of time, I was able to access a kind of creativity that I did not know existed. I think I’m pretty creative. I think of stuff all the time. I’m doing stuff. I’m creating things. I like to build things. I’m into that. But there was a type of creative energy that I’ve only ever reached in…I’ve now done this a couple times, twice, three times. I’ve only ever reached in that spot. Really interesting and very, very cool and worth the pain and discomfort that it took to get there to find this kind of creation that I cannot access in my daily life. So that was kind of interesting. And while I was in this meditation thing, you know, silent meditation retreat thing, I wrote a poem. And I want to share that poem with you because I think it’s cool. And I’m gonna read it for you now, and hopefully that you get some value out of it, and you enjoy it.

So, I always wanted to be me. I see no improvements to be made. I am absolutely perfect, just the way I came. Growing, learning, changing, it’s all part of the game. I always wanted to be me. That includes my curiosity, trying this, trying that, going there and coming back. I want the pleasure and the pain. I want the whole entire range of experience to be heard. There’s no such thing as good and bad. They are judgments that I make, points of view I can take. The choice is always mine. If I happen to forget, it is me who pays the fine. The secret to being free is always to find me right as I am, perfectly, a man. I always wanted to be me, that includes constant change, the sum of all my parts with an added dose of strange. I created me and my identity. I created you and the world in which we live.

My responsibility is all I have to give. I offer you yourself for there is nothing more. I’m selling people themselves from door-to-door. I always wanted you to be you, together what beautiful things we can do. Power is there for the taking. Power comes from us making the choice that we are right in the darkness and the light. We can have as much as we’re willing. We can have as much as we want. Enthusiasm and attitude dictate the universe’s response. They will try to fix you. “You’re wrong” is what they sell. Then it’s, “Come over here, little girl, for a dollar we can get you well.” They’ll tell you that you’re lacking, for that’s their only pitch. What they’re selling is a scratch for an invisible itch. The truth is that you’re perfect. You have all it takes. Add a little love to put icing on the cake. I can expect to get out only what I’m willing to invest. What I’ve been searching for is in the center of my chest.

I think that’s the end of the video. Thanks for watching.

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